A few weeks ago, Bill Kutik asked, “Is predictive analytics for HR the greatest shuck and jive since social recruiting?”
— Bill Kutik (@billkutik) October 27, 2014
I don’t know how to answer that question in a polite way.
Instead, I am moving onto the blog post itself, where the author claims that some companies are offering psychic powers to local HR departments (e.g., the ability to know when someone is about to quit).
I like building a good strawman and knocking him down; however, I have never heard a single vendor say that “knowing when an employee is going to quit” is the unique value proposition of their predictive analytics platform. But maybe I’m naive. I think employees are always going to quit. That’s part of why HR exists. You don’t need software for that. And nobody would try to peddle that rickety shit to me and expect to get away with it.
What most smart people in the HR technology community are discussing is the opposite of psychic powers. Software companies have productized statistical modeling — used in finance, IT, and even pharmaceutical processes — and applied those protocols and methodologies to human capital investments. Data will help you test organizational hypothesis. Data will help you gain actionable insight. Data will help you understand the ROI of your HR expenditures in the most helpful ways. And you can begin planning for the future, too, in more accurate ways.
Dismiss the power of human capital analytics and predictive analytics at your own peril.
Want to learn more? HR professionals and vendors could start with books like Human Capital Analytics: How to Harness the Potential of Your Organization’s Greatest Asset or Developing Human Capital: Using Analytics to Plan and Optimize Your Learning and Development Investments. I have copies of both books, written by my friend Gene Pease, in my office. Let me know if you want one and I’ll send them your way.