Military Veteran Talent Development Under the Watchful Eye of Predictive Analytics

Military Veteran Talent Development Under the Watchful Eye of Predictive Analytics

The Moral Imperative is Now the Business Imperative:

By Jesse Canella, CEO – Military Talent Group and David Pollard, Chairman - PredictiveHR

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As we continue into 2019, we will see a growing industry-wide shift taking place in the talent market that is driving new business strategy. With an overall projection of 20.5 million jobs that will be created by 2020 and the labor force growth rate slated to decline this year  (Jobs Outlook), employers are now even more challenged in competing to attract and retain top talent. This shift has pushed employers to rethink their talent strategies to pursue a forward-thinking approach that will enable them to stay ahead of their competitors. Looking at the trends now taking place in the talent acquisition and human capital management space, we now see two major initiatives:  a focus on more comprehensive diversity and inclusion programs, and the integration of new HR technologies.

The Impact of Diversity & Inclusion on Businesses.

According to a report issued by Deloitte, “Leading organizations now see diversity and inclusion as a comprehensive strategy woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle to enhance employee engagement, improve brand, and drive performance.” Diversity programs will continue to evolve, and so will an increased focus on a hyper-diverse group of high ROI job candidates such as military veterans.

Military veterans represent a uniquely skilled and finite segment of talent with approximately 200,000 military service members transitioning to the civilian labor force each year.  Veterans now rank as a Top 3 priority to American businesses, and 90% of HR professionals and hiring managers feel veteran recruitment is essential to their businesses. The business case for hiring veterans has been well established and has driven employer demand for this segment of the talent pool.

However, recruiting and retaining military veterans is challenging. While many companies now have military veteran employment initiatives in place, a majority of them are struggling to achieve desired results. In fact, only 7% of the Fortune 500 are satisfied, or very satisfied with their veteran hiring program.

The reason: Traditional recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes do not allow organizations to compete for and appropriately place a veteran candidate in the right job. In fact, the number one reason why 43% of veterans leave their first post-military job within a year is due to job misalignment.

A successful military veteran program requires a strong foundation that runs much deeper than just recruiting. It needs a phased-approach that begins with organizational planning and preparation to deploy the right applications, processes, and tools required to execute effectively and maximize business impact. However, most companies today do not have a clear picture of the number of veterans they already have employed, and lack of data on their current military workforce performance and the individual needs that may cause roadblocks for their military talent to reach full potential.

The Impact of Big Data & Predictive HR Analytics on Veteran Programs.

Building the right military talent strategy must first start with a comprehensive analysis and understanding of an organization’s current workforce and the overarching business objectives. When military programs are not wrapped around organizational needs and goals, they often result in performance decline, poor employee experience, and costly turnover.

The first step any business should take is to implement a basic analytics technology that can organize workforce data to baseline the current situation and identify the veterans that are currently employed. Once the organization can look at their veteran population discretely, patterns and gaps will be revealed that will drive the development of program strategy and the proper action plans that align to the business’s goals.

•    Which groups of veterans are currently operating at a high level?  What attributes and experiences do they have in common?

•    What military and post-military training and experiences were those veterans exposed to that assisted them in their high performance?

•    Can we replicate that experience that led to high performance in other veterans who may have missed out on such exposure?

•    What overall patterns should we look for in our hiring process to both identify immediate top performers and, much more importantly, those that with exposure to training and experience will themselves become high performers?

Predictive analytics technology can play a vital role in this base lining exercise providing, for the first time in many cases, visibility into the value and opportunities that a focus on military talent reveals. This data-driven approach is the only way for an organization to accurately measure the growth of their military program and its impact on the business.

Once the analytics platform is established, and all veterans (and any other class of employee for that matter) are in the system, then the power of the analytics tool begins.

As the analytics platform reveals specific patterns and cause and effect relationships, immediate action plans can spring into action.   

•    Targeted training should be provided to fill any gaps within the organization to ensure the understanding of military experience, practical skills translation and matching, and industry best practices. This approach is required to properly prepare the entire organization to have the greatest success with their military program.

•    Improved hiring profiles can be established to target veteran with specific configurations of life, military, and work experience.

•    Untapped pockets of military talent, overlooked by other employers but that possess the trainable gaps can be targeted.  Here is where solving the moral imperative becomes a competitive business advantage.

Moving forward, the analytics platform gets smarter and smarter.  Machine learning will organize the data and make it more intelligent as new information comes in.  New patterns, gaps, and opportunities can be revealed. New veteran leaders will emerge with other attributes and correlations that can be tied together back into the baseline to feed the hiring and employee development programs.

This is not a static one-time exercise, but rather a living breathing strategy. We are just barely scratching the surface of the potential of these types of programs to maximize all human potential, and that data will reveal a wealth of value to be tapped into for the company and the people involved.

Smart organizations will, over time, realize that by weaving veterans into the fabric of their organizations while leveraging big data analytics, creates the greatest reciprocal success and satisfaction rates that benefit the employer and military veterans, alike.

This approach will provide a significant competitive advantage in an already overheated labor market, which is forecasted to get much more severe in the years to come.


Predictive HR to Speak at HRTech Tank Boston


To close out the month, PredictiveHR’s VP of Business Development,

Scott Santoro, will speak at HRTech Tank, an event that brings together leaders in the Human Resource Management and Recruitment software space.


Being held November 30 in Boston’s Financial District, HRTech Tank is a global series of demo day events for HR executives, investors and startups. The idea is to facilitate intros between those groups where practical discussions about expectations that buyers have towards HR tech products, best sales channels and growth tactics, customer success and sales excellence are on the agenda.


A valuable opportunity to network and share ideas with experts in the HR industry, the top-of-mind panel sessions highlight the industry’s evolving market landscape and growing technical challenges.  Art Papas, CEO of Bullhorn will keynote the event and panel sessions include:


·         Home-Grown Solutions vs Market-Ready HR Tech

·         Avoiding Unconscious Bias in Developing/Implementing HR Tech

·         HR Tech Partnerships and Integrations


Scott will be speaking at 10:00 a.m. on the Home Grown Solutions vs Market-Ready HR Tech panel alongside executives from Wayfair and Nextwave.  Are you attending? Let us know and follow @TalentData for updates #HRTECHTANK




US Labor Shortages will Affect Businesses for Decades

Entire industries are in crisis mode already and it is going to get worse.

David Pollard – CEO, PredictiveHR

We tend to deal with Labor Shortages on a very tactical level.  We look at weekly unemployment applications, monthly employment rates, current job opening and workers to fill them and so on.  That view has bred a certain myopia to what will be a very long term business challenge that is only going to get more extreme and impactful.


Part of the reason for the short-term view is our own history.  Every time we think we are in The War for Talent, as in the late 90s, we have experienced a course correction in the form of a recession.   Recession has led to massive disruption in the workforce and relief on the labor shortage side for employers.  This cycle, it may be assumed, will happen again and again and keep us from accepting and dealing with the new reality that labor shortages have only begun to be really felt.


The data analysis tells me that will not happen this time.

Today we are SOLD OUT.   Let’s start there.

5-6% unemployment is considered “Full Employment”.  We are at 3.9%.


According to the Bureau of Labor Stats, we have nearly 7 million open jobs and a maximum total of 6 million available workers (I believe this is high).  We have more jobs than people.  By a lot and growing.


Some industries are already feeling the heat.  Just to name a few:


  • Oil fields are not being fully exploited in petroleum rich sites due to a lack of workers to do the extraction.  

  • According to the National Association of Homebuilders, 82% of all construction companies are experiencing labor shortages, up from 13% in 2011.  Houses aren’t getting built.

  • Trucking Industry is already 51,000 drivers short and that will climb to 150,000 by 2026


And it only gets worse.

 Now, add in the unavoidable looming macro employment and population changes that are upon us.


  • The Manufacturing Institute reports that its sector will lose 25% of its current workforce by 2026, due to retirement.  The Baby Boomers are done and there is no workforce to replace them.

  • Worker productivity has flattened since the 1990s, when we realized a huge boost that has really not been sustained.  We are working as hard as we can and have maxed out the current technology designed to improve productivity.   We already carry our iPhone everywhere we go, 7 days a week.

  • Declining birth rates are not replacing workers fast enough.  The US peaked in 1960 with a 3.6% birth rate and we are now settling into 1.8%, a reduction of 50% since the peak.


We have a problem.  A business problem.  And it is going to get worse.



Smart businesses are at least recognizing that this labor shortage may actually last a while and is so severe as to hamper the flow of goods and services to market.  The entire economy hangs in the balance.  At least the fate of the company does.


Progressive organizations are doing a much deeper dive into this problem, leveraging new technologies and Big Data Analytics as one part of the solution.


One of our smartest clients is diagnosing the causal relationship between numerous business factors and higher than acceptable employee turnover.  They have actually quantified the business impact of each % point of turnover in terms of Revenue and Earnings.  That has gotten the CEO’s attention and serious remedy actions are being taken and then measured through Predictive Analytics to gauge the result as measured by turnover.   That, in turn, is allowing for better predictive view of the overall financial health and future earnings of the company.


Over the next 10 years, many companies and industries will do the same.  This has gone from an HR challenge to a business problem.  It is on the CEO radar right now.



There will be many approaches to handling the looming labor shortage crisis but the common thread will be Data Analysis.  We now have the historical data that can inform future remedy.  We just need to go mine it effectively and then deliver it to the CEO’s desktop so that they may take appropriate action in concert with HR.


It is time for HR Leadership to flex your muscles, fully leverage the data you have collected, and drive real business value that may actually be the difference between success or failure of your company.


What’s Time to Hire, And Why Does it Matter

It’s no longer news that today’s job market is very tight. Finding good candidates for almost every role is harder than ever. Job boards, staffing agencies, company websites, social media, and referral programs are all flooded with open positions.



What this means is that job candidates have their choice of roles and are able to consider multiple new positions simultaneously. It’s not enough to attract candidates and get them in the door, you’ve got to make a decision and make the offer before your competitors do. The alternatives are open positions or compromising on new hires’ qualifications and experience.

To be clear, it’s not just about being the first to hire. After all, candidates will find ways to stall and pause in order to have multiple offers to weigh. However, it’s important that the hiring process not send a message to new hires that your businesses is disorganized and/or incapable of making timely decisions.

The hiring process is the first real interaction your potential hire has with your organization. You want the experience to send an accurate message about your company culture and to comfort new hires that they’ll enjoy being part of the team.

Taking a step back, “time to hire” is the time elapsed between engaging a candidate and their acceptance of an offer. There are three major factors impacting your efficiency here:

  1. How long does it take you to spot the right candidate from your pool of applicants?
  2. How fast do you get started once you find the right person?
  3. Where are there potential bottlenecks in your hiring process that make the process take longer?

Note that this is not about sourcing. What channels work for attracting candidates is important, but it’s only part of the picture. There are any number of external factors that impact your organization’s ability to attract candidates.

Likewise, there are any number of factors that might impact the time between a candidate accepts an offer and the time they actually begin working. Things like personal commitments or obligations to a current employer may lead to a delay in starting work.

But Time to Hire is all about the efficiency of your internal process, which means it impacts your ability to compete. Understanding and improving your time to hire lets you directly impact the overall performance of your business.

Of course, you’ll need internal benchmarks to begin your improvement process. You can find industry averages to get a ballpark figure on your organization is doing relative to those averages.

There are likely to be variances between your organization due to the peculiarities of your location or the types of roles you’ve been filling. However, if your performance is completely out of touch with those averages, you should quickly look at three areas of your process to get a jump start on improvement.

Break down your hiring pipeline by stage. Generate reports that tell you how long each stage takes. If candidates are being sourced well but get hung up during the screening process, you might need to consider adding resources to that stage or evaluating priorities.

Break down the time to hire by role or department. If there’s a lag for a particular function or within a specific department, have a chat with the hiring manager to find out what’s going on. Make sure they understand the importance of making quick decisions in the hiring process.

Finally, take a look at the length of your interview process. How long does the process take? How many people are involved? What challenges exist around scheduling interviews?

Once you know your time to hire metrics, you can quickly take action to make rapid changes and then focus on continuous improvements to your process. Injecting efficiencies into your hiring process will send the right message to job candidates, and to your peers on the management team.

Don’t Let Sloppy HR Budgeting Kill Business Growth

For most businesses budgets aren’t suggestions or wish lists, they are real guidelines with an absolute upper limit on how much can be spent. On the other hand, even though nobody wants to go over budget, they also don’t want to be too far under budget. Being under budget by too much usually means that opportunities for growth or improvement have been missed. Missing such opportunities can make CEOs and lines of business execs crazy.



Human resources budgets are notoriously inaccurate, through no fault of the HR team. HR budgets typically include annual headcount, however companies don’t accurately predict exactly when hiring will take place. Too many factors inside and outside of the organization impact hiring timing. Things take longer than planned, and in today’s tight labor market, the problem of underdelivering on hiring is only likely to get worse.

This is often exacerbated when companies underestimate the amount of employee attrition that will take place over the course of a year. Often, budgets are assigned to staff who don’t remain with the organization for the entire year.

Another issue injecting uncertainty into HR budgeting occurs when companies lose track of employees that are transferred from one business unit to another. When these different BU’s have different accounting systems, it takes way too long for budgets to keep up and resolve on the organizational level.

For these reasons, it’s common to pad HR budgets to ensure that workforce needs aren’t in jeopardy of being underfunded. Between the padding and poor timing, the likelihood of being close to reality diminishes.

All of this is made even worse by the fact that companies don’t have an accurate way to understand exactly what impact headcount has on cash and profits. Companies typically use averages based on backward-looking data (lagging indicators) to determine average commissions, average bonuses, average pay increases, average costs of benefits, etc. But since we do know that the past doesn’t necessarily match the future, HR managers add budget variances based on even less precise criteria.

Of course, healthy and conservative budgeting is not a bad thing. Every dollar saved does go straight to the bottom line. But companies don’t save their way to growth. For companies with a top line growth goal, knowing funds were available for new initiatives or accelerated marketing but were tied up as padding in the HR budget can make executives question the business savvy of their HR peers.

So what can HR executives do to gain credibility and trust with their peers, particularly those in the finance department who typically look after budgeting? Using advanced workforce planning tools, such as the PredictiveHR platform, will enable HR to gather critical HR data from across business units and use that data to develop predictive models. These models can be tested against past actual data, which will prove its accuracy to executives in finance, operations, and sales - increasing those executives’ trust in their HR colleagues.

With better numbers and more accurate timing, HR can fine tune their budgets – budgets that often represent the largest share of expenses for most organizations – freeing up capital for other mission critical initiatives inside the organization.