Can Predictive Analytics Shape the Future of HR? #BigDataHR

This week on Blogging4Jobs, we are focusing on the theme Big Data sponsored by Jibe. Jibe provides cloud-based recruiting technology solutions that enable talent acquisition teams to strategically identify, attract and engage candidates. Join us April 10th 2014 at 3pm to talk Big Data on Twitter using the hashtag #BigDataHR and join our webinar, “What’s the Big Deal with Big Data in HR & Recruiting” on April 17th at 11a EST. Follow the week by bookmarking us

Using Predictive Analytics to better HR

I just don’t know what happened? Have you ever thought that to yourself in HR? It is like your transmission going out on a car. It is never fun, and you know you have to fix it. You are never prepared for these types of things to happen, and when they do, it usually comes at a high cost and a huge inconvenience.

When you think about it though, could you have predicted that the car’s transmission was about to go out? Maybe. If you put enough data together, you would have realized that you should have started saving for a new car a long time ago. The car had 70,000 miles, you hadn’t changed the oil in 9 months, and you had driven the car across the United States 3 times. Well, maybe you DO know how that happened. It was just time.

Predictive Analysis in its simplest form is taking data to help predict future events. In HR, the data comes from statistics, modeling, and data mining to predict uncertain events. With so much information and data that is available, human resources is able to predict more accurately than ever before what may happen with things such as employee turnover, targeted retention, growth, or downsizing.

The obvious benefit of predictive analysis is that you probably won’t get caught off guard as easily as you once were. Like the example above, having money set aside would have helped predict when your car’s transmission would go out. Other benefits of predictive analysis are they really force you to take a closer look at your organization. Just like going to a confession at a Catholic Church. The truth hurts sometimes. Data doesn’t lie.

Predictive Analysis can be used for measuring and anticipating things such as voluntary terminations, absences, resignations, length of employment, and leadership changes. It also can help determine and show when an acquisition may take place within an organization. Predictive analysis helps mitigate risk.

There are many recruiting related predictive metrics. The goal of predictive analytics is to ANTICIPATE performance and staffing opportunities before they happen. In today’s economy, companies and HR want to hire individuals that are a good cultural fit, and have competencies that match or excel what is needed today and for tomorrow. Some predictive analytics that can be used to ensure that you have the right hire are things such as source of hire, pipeline development, and length of employment. It is always good to do a SWOT analysis of your team today to know where your strengths and weaknesses are within your organization so you can prepare for the future.

Once you have the data from the predictive analysis, this can help with the overall hiring process and HR decisions. It helps with workforce planning. If you know why people leave, why people aren’t getting hired, or why people aren’t getting promoted, then you can do something about it. An HR team may predict based upon last year’s turnover rate that you are going to have a similar turnover rate unless changes are made. Change in compensation packages, company perks, or current management could reduce the chance of turnover. This in turn could help promote more people from within the organization and your succession planning.

HR & Talent Management need to use data and analytics to attempt to make changes. The unfortunate thing about the HR field, however, is that we are dealing with humans. Although we can try to predict behaviors by past events, the future IS UNCERTAIN and we cannot guarantee any behaviors by any human. Big Data, Data Analytics, and Predictive Analysis have given us the best and only way we know how to determine the future and we can understand patterns. With Predictive analytics and partnering together, HR and Talent Management can be more strategic in their decision making. I cannot answer the question with 100% certainty though. I can’t predict the future. Can you?

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Will Thomson

Will Thomson lives in Austin, Texas, and works for Rosetta Stone as the global sales and marketing recruiter. He has been in recruitment and sales for 20 years. He has recruited some of the most sought-after talent around the globe, and is a regular blogger for the recruitment industry. Connect with Will.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kayla Kozan says

    Great piece Will.. funny how with a little bit of data the future doesn’t seem so uncertain.. a lot of potential on the horizon for hiring managers.



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