Abracadabra. Predictive analytics in HR – getting it right (Part 6 of 8)
Predictive analytics in HR – getting it right
For all the theoretical benefits of predictive analytics, it isn’t a magic wand that you can wave and make all your business problems go away. Like any tool, it needs to be used effectively to achieve its aims. So how can you deploy predictive analytics in a way that benefits you?
Making use of what you have
You already have lots of information available, the key is making use of it.
Look at the data you already hold: employee records, sales figures, performance measures, whatever you have in your dashboards and more. But don’t just look at the data you’re used to examining, think what else is available. Tapping into the great unused pool of recruitment data is just the start.
Consider what outside factors affect your business. Should you look at GDP, employment levels, currency exchange rates?
Think about what you want to know about your workforce. Is it when to expand, who to train, how to best retain your staff?
Try to take imaginative leaps in both the data that you can find and the figures that you compare. You may be surprised by what influences your staff, and where trends are going in the future, but better to be surprised by predictions now than by cold hard realities further down the line.
Turning insight into action
Of course, presenting data achieves nothing in itself. Predictions don’t make your company run better, acting on them does. If all you have is a pile of statistics, then it will become just one more figure in an irrelevant corner of your monthly reports, doing no-one any good.
There needs to be an actionable element accompanying the data, directly derived from the analysis and explaining how it can beneficially be used. This should be as clear and direct as possible. If options are on offer, then state how soon one needs to be chosen to benefit from them. When you present the data, don’t let anyone leave the room until there’s a clear plan for how to act.
Part of driving this is showing the cost of inaction. Don’t just say ‘our staff are more likely to leave if we don’t offer them more responsibility’. Explain how many will leave, how soon, and how much that will cost in recruiting and training replacements. Give colleagues a compelling reason to act.
Benefiting from flexibility
However much data you accumulate, however sophisticated your algorithms, predictions will sometimes fail. There will be data that you didn’t have or a factor you had no reason to take into account. But this data can also prepare you for when predictions fail.
By giving staff access to data and using this to drive their work you can create a greater degree of independence and flexibility, allowing them to adapt to the unexpected. The aim of predictive analytics is to see what is coming, but no system is perfect. If the data you provide allows employees to react more quickly then you will be better placed to cope with unexpected talent shortages. Don’t turn predictive analytics into an arcane practice happening secretly in a corner. Be open about data with employees, and see the benefits that result.
Of course there’s a catch
It’s easy to talk about putting predictive analytics into practice, but in reality there are barriers you will have to overcome. That’s what we’ll look at next.
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
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