Using Analytics for Better Public Safety Hiring Processes

Public safety agencies have a lot to consider when it comes to the trends that influence their hiring. Technology, naturally, plays a significant role in how those practices translate to an increasingly digitized industry.

That’s especially true when it pertains to analytical tools, big data, and other systems that inform and enhance decision-making by pulling and interpreting information from various sources.

To be clear, your organization doesn’t need to jump headlong into the analytical game to get good value from data-derived hiring processes.

But understanding a few specific ideas can lead to better data-driven hiring practices.

1. Your data doesn’t need to be about applicants to influence your hiring processes

If you only internalize one concept from this list, make it this one.

Data collection for your hiring process should go beyond the details you collect on specific applicants.  

Consider determination of salary ranges, a task that may (depending on the organization) be decided by:

  • The municipality
  • A high-level supervisor
  • Union bylaws
  • Other factors

In a situation where you have some flexibility to set the salary range, analytical tools can make it easy to collect, combine, and average rates for similar roles, which in turn make it far easier to come to an informed decision.

Pay attention to areas where data can lift your hiring burdens and you’ve got a mindset that’s ready to help you throughout the hiring process.

Similar thinking can enhance several subprocesses throughout your hiring process, including recruitment, retention, and training, according to HR software maker Harver.

2. Mind the “big three”

Most organizations can benefit from the insights gained by tracking three core statistics:

  • Cost per hire: Self-explanatory
  • Time to hire: How long the hiring process took from initial contact to finalized hiring contract
  • Retention rate: The rate at which employees stick around

If you’re a small department and don’t have the benefit of a full HR department or analytical tools, these figures are still simple enough to figure up on a “back of the napkin” basis—but they’re worth exploring more fully with tools and techniques you’ve gathered over time.

Knowing these numbers over a period of time can likewise help you establish a performance baseline, which can then be used to pinpoint opportunities for increased efficiencies and measure impact.

3. Look to enhance—not replace—human decision-making

A delicate process in any high-stakes environment, hiring takes on greater importance in the public safety workplace where candidates are held to high standards and the wrong choice can be a matter of life and death.

These weighty decisions require a level of nuance and experience that no modern tool could make alone.

Make sure the processes you devise are there to help people make better decisions with the data you provide.  

Tools that break down data silos can be hugely helpful in ensuring the right data gets to the right personnel—which in turn guarantees they’re making the best possible hiring decisions based upon all relevant organizational knowledge.

4. Grow your analytical capabilities

Harver’s suggested key performance indicators (or KPIs) aren’t the only ones that can dramatically enhance organizational decision-making when it comes to hiring.

Public safety agencies should consider goal metrics such as:

  • Applicants per opening: Gives an average number of applicants for each posting and can help public safety agencies make restructuring and other decisions faster
  • Offer acceptance rate: Helps organizations determine if they’re under or overpaying specific roles
  • Referral rate: “Indicates how many people are referring contacts within their organization,” per Glassdoor, and can be a great help in finding employees who are a good cultural fit

Lastly, there’s the so-called “holy grail” of HR statistics: quality of hire. This metric is worth an article all its own, and public safety stakeholders should be encouraged to explore their own interpretation of a “quality hire,” which will require several internal statistics as well as data from other sources.

Hiring is a combination of art and science; so too is data analysis. Organizations looking to create efficiencies in their hiring procedures and improve the fit quality of their candidates need to apply human understanding to interpreting the analytics—and human discretion for deciding what matters.

Hiring programs that successfully negotiate the balance of enabling their staff with the right tools and data without losing human insight will be a step—or two—ahead.

If you’re currently looking for a tool to support your hiring practices, consider the Acadis® Readiness Suite: an all-in-one readiness solution designed to keep your people moving—and enhance organizational mobility and decision-making from the ground up.

See how Acadis can support hiring by freeing your staff from distracting administration so they can focus on what matters.

Posted on Apr 27, 2021