Decisions Based on What?

Published 04/11/2020 - 2 MINS Read

By Tim Butt

Talent Partner

Quick Summary What do the US election and Talent Intelligence have in common?

2 MINS Read

I’m writing as the media pores over the US election and attempts to offer explanations regarding possible outcomes. The final result may still be days from becoming clear, but one conclusion is certain:

The polls got it wrong.

The media has been awash with certainty that Joe Biden would win the US Presidency. This was based on statistics. Polling companies assured us that they found a clear margin. Biden may still win, but the result will be much closer than anyone predicted.

Here at Armstrong Craven, our Head of Insight & Talent Analytics, Elizabeth Birrell, speaks of the vital importance of “statistical literacy”. Put simply, the numbers are only useful to the extent that we understand them. To properly understand, all manner of questions have to be asked about where the numbers come from, how they have been gathered, the capability of those who analysed them, the way that they have been presented and so much more. Additionally, questions need to be asked about how statistics are to be used.

Quantitative vs Qualitative

In the realm of corporate talent planning and acquisition, the big data companies would have you believe that their statistical and analytical offerings will answer all your questions. In reality, quantitative data offers half an answer but misses many very important questions that contribute to a full answer - the why? and, the so what?

Mere numbers will explain the mechanics of how Biden or Trump are elected to be US President – an immediate(ish) quantitative answer. A great amount of deeper, further-reaching questioning, conversation, reflection and analysis will begin to explain the reasons for those numbers – a qualitative answer.

When a company asks questions about the availability of scarce skills in a key function, quantitative data might offer an immediate answer. Engagement with the relevant talent pool and a full survey of qualifications, technical competencies, experience, career motivators, industry perceptions and propensity to move can provide crucial insights that will inform corporate decision making.

Drawing conclusions

The addition of qualitative data has the power to shine light on the quantitative. Better still, analysis of the two types of data by credible practitioners transforms the value of the results and conclusions that are delivered.

Political commentary is not our speciality and we’re not going to predict Biden or Trump to win the US election.

Our ever-growing portfolio of clients, both large and small, in diverse industry sectors and across the world base their talent decisions on a partnership with Armstrong Craven. If you would like to discuss how qualitative insight can inform and impact your talent acquisition and business decisions, contact our expert Talent Insight & Analytics team today.

Access the Armstrong Craven Review Vol. 9

The Review is read by over 10,000 HR and Talent Acquisition leaders globally and highlights key trends in HR and Talent Acquisition. Volume 9 of the Armstrong Craven Review examines how global events have caused businesses to rethink leadership and talent strategy. The review analyses how organisations must face tensions for successful talent planning. We ask what’s next for EVP? Before exploring the impact of menopause on female leadership and discovering how to succeed in confronting imposter syndrome.

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