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Emerging HR Challenges in 2017 Part Five: Utilizing Predictive Analytics

This is the final piece in our five-part series examining the biggest emerging challenges facing the human resources community in 2017.

The use of talent analytics in human resources is really nothing new at this point. Having become used to utilizing data to make crucial decisions in the recruiting and retention fields an increasing number of companies are now taking things another step further and making use of predictive analytics as well.Predictive Analytics

What Predictive Analytics Have to Offer: A Real World Example

Perhaps the best way to demonstrate what predictive analytics have to offer to a company is to share a real world example. Over in the States in 2016 Xerox hired a predictive analytics start up firm to help them access their front line employees in their highly active US call centre.

The start-up, San Francisco based Evol, set about gathering data on existing employees, and as they did they made some interesting discoveries. Among them, they found that those who had come into their position with no previous call centre experience performed as well as, and in some cases better than employees with the ‘relevant’ past experience. They also found that those who described themselves as ‘creative’ stayed longer than those who termed themselves ‘traditional’. And those who participated on a personal level with between one and four social networks were more satisfied in their position and stayed longer than those active on more.

While this information may sound a little random, Xerox were actually able to take it adjust their candidate and talent pool and reduce attrition by 20% in six months. Given that according to Xerox it cost them $5,000 USD to train a call centre employee this resulted in an impressive financial savings.  And there you have one of the biggest attractions of predictive analytics for human resources, it offers the potential to achieve the cost savings and increased efficiencies, two of the things that most human resources departments are constantly under pressure to do.

Overcoming Obstacles to Efficient Use of Predictive Analytics

Once a human resources department has decided that predictive analytics may indeed be worth a try their next challenge will be to overcome some of the common obstacles to implementing such a plan. Often data needs to be drawn from a number of systems that usually do not ‘talk’ to one another, such as payroll, time keeping, attendance and more. The second is that often human resources is not given as much weight when it comes to IT resources allocation than other departments like marketing and operations. This means that the desire to make use of predictive analytics is one thing, actually doing so may be quite another.

One solution some companies are turning to is going out of house altogether. Companies like Evol are springing up all over the globe, offering both technical expertise and a knowledge of human resources that is crucial.

As a solution to a problem this may indeed be the answer for many businesses, especially those working with limited in house resources. Whatever a business chooses to do though, there is little doubt that predictive analytics are here to stay, and how to best make use of them is another of the emerging challenges that human resources faces as 2017 progresses.