Predictive analytics in HR – looking at the big picture (Part 2 of 8)

by Dec 8, 2013Blog0 comments

Predictive analytics in HR – looking at the big picture (Article 2 in this series of 8)

Predictive analytics is a powerful tool, and it can achieve a lot within HR. A large part of where this potential comes from is the ability to connect HR, and in particular recruitment, to the bigger picture.

Planning recruitment

While approaches to recruitment vary, it is often a hand to mouth affair. As posts fall vacant recruiters get to work filling them, and hope that suitable recruits can be brought on board without the post sitting vacant for long.

Big recruitment campaigns might be undertaken in advance of sales pushes or significant changes, but they are just as likely to be reactive. Perhaps a change in the market drives more business, or there is a shift in the sort of business you’re doing. This leads to a period when staff is over-stretched, then a delay while you recognize a long-term trend, then a further delay while people are recruited. This is damaging for morale and leads to wasted opportunities.

Predictive analytics can allow a more forward thinking approach. Algorithms draw on factors such as GDP, growth, employment rates, regional workforce trends and staff turnover to predict future recruitment needs, allowing you to recruit in advance and make the most of opportunities without over-burdening your workforce.

This isn’t outside the capability of any firm. Sales forecasts, already a significant tool, can be used to predict expansions in business and the quantity and quality of staff needed for this. And from there, more rigorous analytics can be developed.

Expecting the unexpected

One of the great benefits of predictive analytics is the ability to identify unexpected and initially unnoticed trends, factoring in the many different elements that can affect a business.

For example, the US Department of Labor has predicted a serious loss of senior sales talent over the next few years. This is a useful prediction in itself, warning businesses to prepare for this shift. But it is something you can prepare for in more detail using predictive analytics.

Predictive analytics allows you to identify the factors that lead to staff turnover for you and so the types of staff you are likely to lose. You can explore how trends like this one will affect you, and how you can best prepare for them.

Predictive analytics may also identify surprises that are more specific to your business. It can pick out trends that affect your sales and performance, and show how those trends are likely to change over the next few years. For example, is demographic growth going to hit your summer sales peak this decade? Predictive analytics might have the answer.

Aligning HR with your objectives

Predictive analytics also helps you to better align HR with your business’s own big picture, your goals and objectives. It connects the dots between HR needs and other parts of the business and allows you to plan for HR in line with your goals.

For example, if your goals include a sales growth in the northwest then you can plan not just the recruitment you need for that push but the talent you need to develop to support it. Recruitment doesn’t just react to your call – it becomes integrated into the big picture plan.

Of course, analytics isn’t just useful in planning recruitment – it’s useful in the process itself, and that’s what we’ll come on to next.

– Mark Lukens

Links or other articles in this series:

Article 1: Predictive analytics – looking to the future in recruitment
Article 2: Predictive analytics in HR – looking at the big picture
Article 3: Predictive analytics in HR – smarter recruitment
Article 4: Predictive analytics in HR – training and development
Article 5: Predictive analytics in HR – retention
Article 6: Predictive analytics in HR – getting it right
Article 7: Predictive analytics in HR – barriers to deployment
Article 8: Predictive analytics in HR – the future

Mark Lukens, MBA

Mark Lukens, MBA

Founding Partner at Capatus
Mark Lukens is a founding partner at Capatus and located in the New York office. He leads the Capatus’ Global Talent and Advisory practice. He is also an expert in the firm’s research and nonprofit practice. Lukens has more than 20 years of c-level executive and consulting experience delivering strategies and transformational programs to firms ranging from start-up to Fortune 50. He has worked with clients in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. Lukens worked extensively in various product and service categories including health care, life sciences, government, nonprofit, technology, and professional services. He also advises clients in other industries including commercial and industrial, retail, logistics and transportation, media and more. Lukens serves on several Nonprofit Boards and is a professor at the State University of New York where he teaches in the School of Business and Economics with a focus on marketing, international management, entrepreneurship, HR, and organizational behavior to name a few. Lukens has a technical background as a MCSE and earned an MBA from Eastern University.
Mark Lukens, MBA


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