4 min read

AI Academy: What's predictive analytics & what can HR do with it?

Wouldn't it be incredible to predict the future?

Let's ask 63-year-old Joan Ginther.  She's arguably one of the luckiest women in the world.

This Texas woman defied odds to win million-dollar lottery payouts via scratch cards not once, not twice, but four times over the past decade.

Her first lottery win landed her $5.4 million, followed by $2 million, $3 million, and then a whopping $10 million jackpot over the summer of 2010.

Mathematicians calculate the odds of this happening as one in eighteen septillion. Theoretically, this should only happen once in a quadrillion years.

So how did this woman manage to pull it off?

Was it luck? I'd certainly argue yes.

Was it skill? Maybe. She did purchase all four scratch off cards at the same mini mart. 

Most interestingly, did it have something to do with the fact that Joan was a mathematics professor with a PhD in statistics from Stanford University?

Quite possibly.

joan ginther lottery winner vs hr demand forecasting

We'll never know for sure what Joan's secret was, but the Texas Lottery Commission didn't (and still doesn't) suspect any foul play.

Somehow, Joan (pictured to the left) predicted it was the right time and right place to buy a scratch off ticket.

All we know for sure is that she's exceptionally lucky. And loaded.

Most of us have a hard enough time predicting traffic on our morning commute.

We can, however, make some insightful predictions for people analytics teams by running people data through predictive models.

So, what is HR predictive analytics?

Most specifically - predictive analytics use modeling, or a form of artificial intelligence that uses data mining and probability, to forecast or estimate specific outcomes. Each predictive model is comprised of a set of predictors (variables) in the data that influence future results. When the data set is processed by the program, it creates a statistical model based on the given data set.

Translation? Predictive analytics allow us to predict the future based on historical outcomes.

Let's discuss predictive analytics in HR examples.

So predictive analytics can help HR professionals and business leaders make better decisions, but how? Maybe a company wants to learn where they're sourcing their best sales reps so they know where to turn to hire more top-notch employees.

First, they must determine whether their "best" reps have measurable qualities. For the sake of this post, let's say they sell twice as much as the average sales reps.

Perhaps all the best reps share several qualities such as referral source (like Indeed), a similar skill (fluency in Spanish listed on their resume) or personality trait (from personality tests conducted during the job interview). A predictive model would weigh all this data and compare it against the outcome: the superior sales quotas being hit. The model references the exploratory data analysis used to find correlations across all your data sources.

This allows a company to run job candidates' resumes through the model in an effort to predict their future success in that role.

Sounds great right?

Now - here are the problems to consider:

1) Predictive models can only predict the future based on historical data. If you don't have enough data, that could be a problem. Download Ethics of AI Whitepaper.

2) Even if you do have enough data, that can still be a problem.

Amazon, for example, recently scrapped its resume software (which evaluated resumes of current/previous employees to help screen potential ones) because it discovered the algorithm was biased towards men in engineering roles over women, which disqualified candidates that listed any women's organizations on their resume. (And it's not Amazon's fault. It's the data; historically, most men had been in those roles.) Kudos to them for scrapping that.

That's why it's so important to use a human capital predictive analysis tool that is transparent and customized to your data vs. another big-box company in your industry. Check out One Model's One AI.

HR predictive analysis is helpful, but it's also a process. 

Are there more applications?
What HR-related problems does it solve?

Predictive analysis applications in people analytics are vast.

The right predictive models can help you solve anything from recruiting challenges to retention/employee attrition questions, to absenteeism, promotions and management, and even hr demand forecasting.

The sky's the limit if you have the right tools and support.

predictive analytics in hr examples

Time for a people analytics infrastructure reboot

Sure - a people analytics infrastructure reboot isn't as exciting as winning the lottery and buying a yacht, but it's really, really helpful in solving questions large corporations struggle with daily.

If you haven't used predictive modeling to solve a burning business problem, this might be a great place for your people analytics team to dive in.

For One Model Customers - We recommend you push a couple of buttons and start with an exploratory data analysis.

More and more companies are beginning to incorporate machine learning technology into their stack, and there's so much value that can be derived.

If you're not sure where to get started, just keep it simple and bite off one piece of the puzzle at a time with One Model. One Model is built to turn your general HR team into people data scientists, no advanced degrees required. One Model provides the people analytics infrastructure - aka - it provides a platform for you to import your workforce data from all sources, transform it into one analytics-ready asset, and build predictive models to help you solve business challenges. Our customers are creating customized models and you can too.

It's not as intimidating as you might think.

It's super easy to get started: One Model will work with you to pull your people data out of any source that's giving you trouble (for example, your Greenhouse ATS, Workday, or Birst). We'll export it, clean it up, and put it all in the same place. It takes just a few weeks.

From there, you can glean some insights from it. 

To learn more about One Model's capabilities (or to ask us any questions about how we create our predictive models), click the button below and a team member will reach out to answer all of your questions!

Let's Talk More About Predictive Analytics for HR.


About One Model

One Model provides a data management platform and comprehensive suite of people analytics directly from various HR technology platforms to measure all aspects of the employee lifecycle. Use our out-of-the-box integrations, metrics, analytics, and dashboards, or create your own as you need to. We provide a full platform for delivering more information, measurement, and accountability from your team.

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