There is a growing awareness among companies and governments to be data-driven, however the practical application of data and using it to its full potential is still difficult. That is where the company Future Place Leadership comes in. The Nordic consultancy specialised in Placemaking mainly helps governments to make their cities and regions attractive to foreign companies, talents, investors and/or tourists. They regularly do this in cooperation with Intelligence Group. Intelligence Group spoke about this with Nicole van Haelst, Senior Advisor Innovation Hubs and Talent Acquisition at Future Place Leadership.
“You often notice in initial discussions that there is a realisation that you need to work in a data-driven way in, for example, Talent Attraction Management and that the objectives are quite well defined. What often goes wrong is which questions regarding the current and future labour market need to be answered in order to make an action plan. That is where a party like Intelligence Group comes in.”
A good example is the project Nicole did in Italy, in the region Emilia Romagna. “This is in the north of Italy and it is the number one region in terms of economic activity and the most innovative part of the country. It is an ambition of the client, the regional development agency ART-ER, to increase and secure access to talent for all employers. ART-ER is engaged in attracting international talent to help close the – qualitative and quantitative – skills gap in its top sectors. Software developers were chosen for this project. Ciao Software Developers! The idea for an international campaign was born.”
To find out where software developers can be found in Europe and how best to attract them, Intelligence Group conducted an analysis. From the results of this analysis, a number of locations were selected for a 6-week targeted campaign. Through clicks on the advertisement and pre-selection with chatbots, a talent pool of 500 qualified candidates was created of which about 50 came to the table with the companies immediately. The rest must now be nurtured for the future.
“What is important to note here is that Future Place Leadership is not a recruitment agency. We only help our clients to make the steps – based on objective data – to move from the current labour market situation to the desired situation. This is a prerequisite for a strong regional economy. The fact that in this case direct hires came out of the campaign is a great result, but the talent pool with 500 software developers who are proven willing and able to work in/for the region is what will pay off in the future.”
Another example is the talent dashboard that Future Place Leadership is creating together with Berlin Partner for Business and Technology. The client wants – to support the companies and start-ups in the region – to be able to provide insight into the labour market in and around Berlin at any time, and what interventions are necessary. Where is the current pressure, where are the trends, is there a structural gap? Intelligence Group has made an analysis of the most sought-after and fastest growing positions and skills in Berlin’s digital economy. The results are included in the dashboard.
“What we noticed here was that people were open to the use of data and wanted to work with it, but it was not yet clear which questions needed to be answered in order to arrive at supported and action-oriented proposals based on that data. You can really see that at every step, we quote the data: what are we looking for and what data can help us? How should it be delivered so we can start working with it? How do you structurally deploy such a dashboard? Those are the steps we take to help our clients.”
Nicole has also been involved in several projects in the Netherlands. The Leiden Bio Science Park (LBSP) wants to transform from a science park into a lively innovation district. As part of the project with Future Place Leadership, Intelligence Group made an analysis of the demand for talent in LBSP. This includes results about the vacancies in the bioscience sector in the Netherlands, the most sought-after positions and skills within this sector and the fastest growing skills.
“In this case, you work together with a district. This includes educators, employers, government and research institutes, each of which has an interest in the data. Educators can use the data to determine whether their curriculum is still appropriate and better matches the future demand for labour. Companies gain insight into where they should invest their recruitment efforts, both today and in the future. Government and municipalities use it to see where they can help. In this case, it was clear that data was needed and that something could be done with it. The big question was who was going to pay for it. This was eventually divided among the parties. A neat solution, although it did make the process take longer.”
Despite the growing awareness of the use of data-driven work, it is still difficult to translate data and results into targeted action plans. The examples in this case each had their own challenge and form of resistance to the use of data. By introducing the parties to the importance of asking the right questions and translating them into practical solutions such as campaigns or a dashboard, you see an understanding emerge of how to deal with data in the right way.
“Sooner or later in the discussions, the phrase ‘I have the feeling that…’ always comes up. Then we say that you cannot steer by feelings alone. When you then ask whether the feeling can be substantiated, this often turns out to be difficult or even impossible. Not all labour market data and analyses are practical enough. Those of Intelligence Group are. Future Place Leadership helps with the translation of these analyses into practical applications. We see what conclusions emerge from the data and on this basis we make action proposals. For that reason alone I like working with Intelligence Group. And especially because they are such nice, sparring partners.”