How Tata iQ utilises graph technology to hire the right talent

The CHRO of Tata iQ explains how graph networking can be used by HR professionals to identify the right fit for the organisation

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As the use of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) continue to gain more prevalence in people analytics, newer innovations emerge to make the lives of HR professionals easier. Graph technology is one such innovation, which treats people as nodes of a more elaborate network and helps analyse people’s movement. Acclaimed HR analyst, Josh Bersin, says in his latest annual report on technology, “Graph technology, based on relationships, has the potential to transform HR and human capital management. The insights it brings will enhance real-time people management.”

Amit Sachdev, chief people officer, Tata iQ, believes that graph technology does have far-reaching uses, but is currently underutilised in our country. “In India, graph technology in HR analytics is very limited in usage. It requires a different mindset to leverage its benefits,” he points out.

However, it may be a more prominent force in people analytics in the future.

“Graph technology is picking up big time now. The concept is based on two important words — relation and chain. It’s the nether set of databases mainly used for search and relation connect and not for transaction. All other databases are extractable. This isn’t. “

Tata Insights and Quants, or TataiQ, is a six-year old startup that was created by the Tata Group to help the organisation, as a whole, embrace big data and analytics in day-to-day decision making, irrespective of function and industry. In this sense, the Company’s purpose is to develop ways to incorporate data analytics in every aspect of the orgnisation, human resources being a big part of it.

“In recruitment, one needs certain criteria for the talent one wishes to attract. These include key skills, must-have skills and preferred experiences. Those who match these criteria to a certain extent, can be reached out to, explored, evaluated and offered the position. In the entire recruitment chain, the major part that people fail to value is the first-time sourcing of the right candidate. This is where graph technology gives an edge to the recruiter, who willingly plays an analytics-equipped role”

Amit Sachdev, CPO, Tata iQ

Sachdev enunciates, that there are many verticals associated with the operation of the HR, including recruitment, training development, performance management, compensation and rewards, and so on. Every aspect of HR requires a certain set of databases. In fact, he explains, “The HR has an internal database for the internal customers, that is, the employees, comprising their personal, professional as well as current organisational data,” he explains.

This large data set can be utilised via graph technology to make the machinery more efficient and quicker in its operation.

Sachdev believes in using graph technology primarily to identify the right talent. He explains how graph networking can help an HR professional narrow down the right fit for the organisation.

“In recruitment, one needs certain criteria for the talent one wishes to attract. These include key skills, must-have skills and preferred experiences. Those who match these criteria to a certain extent, can be reached out to, explored, evaluated and offered the position. In the entire recruitment chain, the major part that people fail to value is the first-time sourcing of the right candidate. This is where graph technology gives an edge to the recruiter, who willingly plays an analytics-equipped role,” Sachdev told HRKatha.

Sachdev further explains how the right talent can be acquired by using the graph method to hire from LinkedIn. “If I find a particular candidate’s skills and experience match the position I wish to fill, but that person is a little too expensive, I create a report from that individual’s first-connect network. With LinkedIn’s talent-acquisition license for hiring, I am able to create a report from these first connects and run a query to find ‘like-minded’ people in their close network,” he says.

This helps Sachdev narrow down his talent search to a shorter list of right matches. “Instead of sifting through a 100 people, it is possible to zero in on the matches that are closest to my preference, using targeted graph technology and its relationship chain,” points out Sachdev.

Graph technology in HR recruitment is all about tapping and mapping relations, Sachdev reserves the use of graph technology in his own operation for very specific purposes, which are event and incident based.

“I find graph technology most helpful in attracting the right talent. It gives me an edge in terms of speed, making the process more agile,” he elucidates.

Describing how graph networking can be utilised to improve the attrition rate of a company, Sachdev details a hypothetical situation, where a 1000 people are hired every year. It is assumed that 10 per cent of these hires would be spillage — talent that is not the right match. Of the remaining 90 per cent, the top 25 per cent would be facing high attrition and would be likely to shift to other companies they deem to be better in terms of opportunities. Here, “one can gauge whether the top 25 per cent has connections with the rest of the new hires, and thus, predict whether others are likely to shift. Therefore, it becomes possible to prevent a situation where multiple people quit the organisation simultaneously,” he explains.

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