How SAS uses analytics and big data insights for smarter talent management


SAS has turned to analytics for making meaningful decisions based on data, relevant to its business, helping it assess the quality of applicants.

In times when finding the right talent and engaging them forms one of the most crucial agenda for CEOs and CHROs across sectors, efficient talent management has far-reaching consequences in terms of business outcomes. Realising its impact, organisations have been focusing more concentrated efforts in talent management, utilising various innovative and technology-enabled methods and drawing insights from big data and analytics.

While organisations across sectors test the power of analytics in enabling efficient talent management, SAS which itself is in the business of analytics, shares how it leverages the same for finding, engaging and developing their talent. Tara Cook, Sr. Regional HR Director, SAS, says, “Human capital remains to be the biggest asset for any organisation. SAS itself being in the analytics space, it is an absolute priority for us to continuously reshape talent acquisition and management processes, while staying focused on nurturing existing employees.”

In line with that, SAS has turned to analytics for making meaningful decisions based on data, relevant to its business, helping it assess the quality of applicants. The company draws insights from the data and tracks the source of the most qualified candidates to hire the right skill set within the time constraints given. “In fact, due to the constant change in business demands, it has become imperative for us to rely on analytics to be able to effectively forecast resource requirements, and stay competitive in attracting the best workforce,” says Cook.

Furthermore, SAS sees motivating and challenging its employees as top priorities to ensure optimum utilization of the human capital. Analytics at SAS has helped the company maintain and utilize data to identify and track talent management related matters enabling them to come up with right solutions. In addition, it also supports them in identifying training needs, career development options, skill enhancements, ROI, performance metrics and competitive compensation and benefits. Having said that, Cook shares that “The outcomes allow us to invest in the right talent, forecasting workforce with skills of tomorrow and thereby retaining talent.”

In a dynamic, turbulent and continuously evolving world companies need to make faster and smarter decisions than ever. With that, the role of contextual intelligence also becomes crucial when it comes to identifying ‘talent of today and tomorrow’.

SAS leverages a contextual Intelligence platform which enables it to impact the bottom line and create an operational excellence by sourcing the right profiles, identifying key traits in the potential employees, comparing key performance indicators for the entire organisation, mapping talent needs accurately, increasing recruitment effectiveness and engaging with potential candidates proactively.

From her experience working across geographies in Asia Pacific, Cook shares that companies face significant talent management challenges in APAC. “Between India and other Far East countries there are differing norms regarding salaries and promotions and retention reasons,” she says.

Explaining the differences and sharing her experience, Cook says, “Young Indian professionals expect promotions soon after they start their job and expect to climb the career ladder much quicker as they are far more ambitious. Whereas, in some Far East countries professionals are willing to settle down in a specific function, being an individual contributor or quit their jobs if they do not find appropriate development possibilities or if they have better opportunities elsewhere. Indian professionals value more work life balance as compared to some Far East countries.”

Considering these, organisations need to be more conscious of the expectations and motivational factors for new-age talent while framing policies and planning talent management practices. To ensure that the employees at SAS are aligned and satisfies with their job roles, the company ensures that each employee understand the significance of their role and gets to own it. “Employees get to “own” the work they produce for as long as they’re employees of the firm. Knowing that customers likely will use what they create for a decade or more inspires people to fully invest themselves in the quality of everything that they do,” says Cook.

Last but not the least, for the development of its people, SAS is rooted in academia. It recognizes the importance of continuous growth and development for employees and so it even offers tuition assistance for employees who want to continue growing academically and professionally.

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