Abracadabra. Predictive analytics in HR – getting it right (Part 6 of 8)

by Jan 10, 2014Blog0 comments

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


Image credit: Rosu / 123RF Stock Photo

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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