Using Predictive Analytics to Guide Action

Predictive people analytics can help guide action towards high-impact activities based on the weight of the evidence and a clear, logical and rational decision-making process.

Using Predictive Analytics to Guide Action

12 Nov 2017 by  Gerhard Diedericks

Decisions and actions made on the weight of evidence, established through data and analytics, will almost always outperform decisions and action taken on the basis of intuition and opinion. This is particularly true when it comes to managing and engaging people, however, it can be challenging to obtain and interpret the data points which help to inform these decisions.



When it comes to leadership – especially the type of leadership that engages and unlocks performance ­– almost everybody has a strong opinion. Such a subject tends to strike a nerve because at some point most of us will have had deeply personal experiences with leadership, whether that be through enduring poor leadership or enjoying effective leadership. As a result we form these tightly held (and often emotional) opinions of what effective leadership should be and shouldn't be.

The same goes for the work experience; as employees we often live with the frustrations of poorly designed work experiences or enjoy the fruits of something in the workplace that works really well. The opinions we hold are informed by the accumulation of these experiences.

Translating instincts into actions

To use a term coined by behavioral economist Dan Ariely, we are ‘predictably irrational’ and ‘subject to hidden forces that shape our opinions’. Leaders are prone to an extensive range of cognitive biases that make it difficult for them to translate their very subjective and biased experiences into an engagement improvement program that is optimized for maximum impact.

In simpler terms, it’s difficult to look past our human instincts, prejudices and experiences and take action based on the weight of evidence alone.

Predictive people analytics can help guide action towards high-impact activities based on the weight of the evidence and a clear, logical and rational decision-making process.

Supported by integrated data points from across the organization, predictive and prescriptive people analytics can help us overcome these cognitive and emotional biases.

Leveraging technology to inform decision-making

Any meaningful approach to engagement can likely benefit from employing predictive and prescriptive analytics to help guide insight generation and action. Far from requiring an advanced degree in ‘big data’, today’s technology can help to embed these analytics for managers and leaders by putting the analytics and insights at their fingertips and guiding them towards the decisions and actions that are more likely to have the desired impact. It should not require managers to have a deep understanding of the algorithm in question, but present the cold, hard analysis in a very intuitive way that promotes action. By doing this, predictive analytics can support management to focus on their own skillsets and core functions of managing and promoting a high performing employee culture.

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Advances in technology are creating a unique opportunity for employers to implement engagement measurement strategies that improve their ability to engage, motivate and develop their people. Contact us to learn more about the tools and techniques available to your organization.

Gerhard Diedericks

Gerhard has more than 15 years of experience in supporting organisations such as Telstra, NAB, ANZ, Barclays and BHP Billiton to better execute strategy through people. He believes that talent analytics represents the next big opportunity for organisations to unlock value and execute strategy through people.

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