Henley Research International is increasingly supporting Talent Intelligence and Workforce & Organisational Planning professionals who understand the value of data and insight to underpin critical business decisions.

At Henley, we have for many years supported Talent Acquisition teams and Executive Search professionals, not only in identifying and recruiting the best talent, but also in gaining insight and talent intelligence. This enables our clients to ensure they are maximising their potential to recruit the best by ensuring their employer brand proposition is attractive to potential candidates.

However, whilst this insight is in greater demand than ever, it is not only TA and recruitment professionals who are using Henley’s services. The importance of data and talent insight to support business and people decisions is growing strongly. We are now working closely with clients in a range of functions such as Talent Intelligence, Talent Management, Workforce Planning and Organisational Capability & Planning.

An example case study illustrates how important and powerful such Insight can be to ensure the right decisions are made. A client identified three alternative city locations for a new R&D facility in continental Europe – one city each in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The decision to locate the centre in Eastern Europe was predicated on such factors as cost of labour, skills availability, and proximity to the UK amongst others.

The client wanted in-depth analysis of each of the three cities – what was it really like to set up there and, critically, attract and retain the right people?

Our approach was essentially two-pronged – it combined mainly quantitative data available in the public domain with qualitative data gained through in-depth interviews and discussions.

We accessed online data for each of the three locations covering a range of comparators, including salary levels, employment statistics, transport infrastructures, growth trends, labour trends, local universities, competitive activity, grant availability.

Then Henley got to work on “deep diving” for the insight which would tell our client the in-depth picture and uncover data unavailable online. We spoke with informed individuals in each of the three cities. These included people in local government, commerce organisations, development corporations, trade bodies, universities amongst others. The common factor was that each respondent had an in-depth knowledge of local market conditions.

Critically, we also spoke with senior executives in companies already operating in these cities, many in similar R&D set-ups or in firms utilising similar skill-sets to those our client would require. Some of these executives were able to speak candidly first-hand about their own journeys setting up such facilities, and to explain the challenges they had encountered. In some cases, they confided that, given the chance to put back the clock, they would have done things very differently – one or two said they would have chosen different locations entirely.

These interviews were in-depth, typically 45 minutes to one hour.

At the end of the process a clear picture emerged. The combination of quantitative and qualitative data was powerful and enabled our client to make the right decision.