To Improve the Talent System, Follow the Evidence
Note: This is the sixth in a series of posts analyzing the nine key strategies cited in our 20/20 Vision Report.
In the race to find solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are witnessing a global demonstration of the value of evidence-based decisions.
Sound policymaking has a lot in common with good science. Clinical trials and research prevent costly, ineffective, or harmful treatments from going into wide use. In the same way, a reliance on evidence-based practices in social policy can prevent the waste of precious time and resources.
Evidence-based practices are one of the hallmarks of a great workforce system. The 20/20 Vision report, which can be read in full here, included this emphasis as one of the strategies to take West Michigan’s talent system from good to great.
Strategy 6: Align public policies and investments toward evidence-based strategies.
The report called for focusing on proven strategies to make maximum use of limited community, government, and employer resources. It is important that the investment of effort and funding should be directed toward methods proven to work. Anything else risks being a waste of time and money.
Evidence-based practices are developed using the most current and relevant data. They are created in controlled environments where outcomes can be accurately measured.
Talent 2025 has always supported the evidence-based approach to public policy and initiatives. This is built into the structure of our Working Groups, which focus on specific segments of the talent system, review barriers and challenges, evaluate pilot solutions and make recommendations on revisions – or taking to scale.
Starting small for big impact
Just a few examples of the evidence-based initiatives Talent 2025 has supported:
- Early literacy program Reach Out and Read
- Employability skills work by Ottawa Area Intermediate School District’s Skills4Success
- Evidence-based hiring process of HireReach
- Transportation solution Wheels to Work
- “Banning the box” for returning citizens
Each of these initiatives were examined as pilots or case studies before being promoted for wider use.
Taking an evidence-based approach makes sense across every sector of our talent system. Organizations can implement evidence-based programs to provide quality services, maximize impact, to be effective in goal setting and attainment, and to better meet accountability requirements. Funders that prioritize organizations using data-driven, evidence-based programs do so to maximize outcomes, provide more efficient use of taxpayer or philanthropic dollars, and see community improvement.
The use of evidence-based strategies should be the norm, not the exception.