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A few weeks ago, Bill Kutik asked, “Is predictive analytics for HR the greatest shuck and jive since social recruiting?”

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.

So what is this thing we’re calling predictive analytics? Click here and here and here to learn more.

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.

Good luck!

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.

2 Responses to Predictive Analytics
  1. martin snyder

    Linked off the HBR page

    blogs.hbr.org/2014/10/tescos-downfall-is-a-warning-to-data-driven-retailers/

    I think we all do predicative analytics in life; we all know that the future is very, very difficult to model.

    Scale is the key to all of these discussions. At scale, prediction becomes actionable as investment. Below that scale, it’s just gambling….

  2. Felipe Cuadra

    Hey! Great post. Would love to take a look at the Developing Human Capital book, any chance you still have a copy laying around?

    Thanks!