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Predictive Technology in Human Capital

Even if you don’t know it by name, you are likely already familiar with predictive technology.

When you use Google, you watch it try to predict your search as you type.
As you shop at Target, it will try to predict what you might need to buy next visit, based on buying habits.
If you ever feel like a certain companies ad shows up every time you go online, it’s because you have been retargeted.

As with most tech trends in human capital the last 3-4 years, technology improvement and consumer acceptance results in a new crop of vendor offerings from both existing and start-ups in the HR Tech space.    Most recently we have seen this with solutions like Video Interviewing and social media – products that existed for a number of years but didn’t see wide-spread acceptance or usage in corporate HR until recently.

 Predictive Technology in HR Today

While my briefings at last year’s HR Technology Conference had numerous vendors touting predictive technologies on roadmaps, the reality is still pretty slow for an uptick.  I anticipate the briefings this year will be much more mature in the product cycle and visible to HR Tech consumers early 2014.   With that said, there are already some solutions on the market that have not only been introduced, but seen some success in HR Tech.

Early recruitment data aggregators, like Jobs2Web (now a part of SuccessFactors),  while not truly “predictive” of individual candidate behavior, were able to take data around candidate application rates and hiring to create easy to understand analytics.  These analytics helped talent acquisition leaders evaluate sourcing choices and select the correct ones based on the success of candidates in the past.   The end result was large time and cost savings for many organizations since the actions could be much more targeted.

Along the same recruitment marketing lines, organizations with innovative recruitment marketing brands started using companies like Entice Labs (now acquired outside of industry) close to 5 years ago to actively market via online display advertising to people who reached their corporate career site, but for whatever reason didn’t apply.  Companies like Retargeter and AdRoll which once only focused on the B2C market have now started working with corporate employment marketing groups.  Todays solutions go beyond just knowing what other websites someone has been on to advertise the role again, but has technology that can actually predict and target based on other behaviors who should see the ad – even if they haven’t been on your website.

In work force management we are also already experiencing the early stages of predictive technology through employee scheduling.  Jamba Juice uses a basic version of predictive technology for managing retail employee schedules.  They watch weather forecasts and will schedule extra workers if the forecast calls for dry and hot weather.   This predictive scheduling allows them to have adequate numbers of workers at high traffic periods, while avoiding over staffing at times when traffic is likely to be low.

Predictive Technology in 2014 & beyond

The expansion of ‘big data’ in cloud computing and technology is an easy place to immediately jump as we talk about predictive technology.  Products for sourcing (recruiting) that scour the web and determine the likelihood that someone is open to moving to a new role (with or away from your company) are already in existence and expanding development.

‘Big-Data’ plays a role in some of the open web-based solutions – but not all products are specific to that.  A few of the start-ups that we will see emerge use a predictive technology from a smaller data set more specific to an organization or industry vs true ‘big data’.   One start-up, for example, uses predictive modeling based prior companies culture, current role, manager style, etc to determine culture fit and success on a new job – an evolution on assessments.   Another existing global vendor has a “small data” solution that will help identify influence and leadership within an organization.

Predictive technology in HR Tech may still be on its early stages, the evolution is happening much quicker than most corporate HR leaders realize.  The new generation of predictive technologies for human capital include recruitment, internal mobility, workforce planning, talent management and pre-identification voluntary turnover risks.   As the solutions continue to evolve and mature the rate of adoption will surely jump quickly since the impact of predictive technology, when done correctly, will have a direct correlation to the bottom line of an organization.

 

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Sarah Brennan

Sarah Brennan is a recognized HCM industry analyst and advisor focused on improving the impact of technology on people, business and the future of work.  Sarah Brennan has been named a top global influencer in HR Technology by more than 50 publications and shared her insights at speaking engagements around the world. As Chief Advisor at Accelir, she partners with HR Technology vendors and investors as an advisor, interim CxO role and on engagements focused on growth strategies, product roadmap & market education/evangelism. She also works with corporate teams enhancing talent strategies.

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