Beware of Workforce Vendors Using Predictive Workforce Language But Offering Non-Predictive Solution

By Greta Roberts, Feb 21, 2017

Talent Analytics, Corp. has a unique approach to workforce predictive analytics. At our firm, we measure success by how our projects quantifiably benefit the line of business. We watch it, track it, and report success. Our algorithms get better and smarter using the best data science methods available.

I’ve been involved in the predictive workforce arena for almost two decades. I have to admit I’m surprised at how many vendors claiming to reduce employee turnover or increase employee performance do little more than offer a solution that “sounds” effective. They say the right predictive analytics buzzwords – without proving that their solutions actually work for their customers.

An example is the global multi-billion-dollar market of pre-hire talent assessment vendors.

Most talent assessment vendors put their energy into creating “validated questions” that measure interesting human factors. This is called content and construct validation and just the first step in delivering business usefulness from a pre-hire talent assessment. This level of validation says nothing about whether or not their surveys are proven to deliver business value. Few vendors go the extra (and difficult) step of criterion validating their talent assessments.

My observation is that in the last 30 years, businesses and their vendors have moved away from using economic measures of business outcomes in solving problems with staffing.

We’ve become more obsessed with employee engagement, job satisfaction, fancy software and recording every single activity our employees do instead of focusing on empirical evidence to prove whether or not our initiatives actually deliver value for the business.

Predictive analytics delivers outcomes not possible without algorithms. Everyone wants their solution to be predictive. This creates an industry of non-predictive vendors using predictive-sounding phrases like “the highest probability of success” and “pre-hire predictions” and “when the solution was implemented the company stock price increased.”

It’s hard for prospective buyers to tell the difference, but we owe it to our companies to do so. Ask for proof. Ask for case studies. Ask for documented results. Ask for details about their predictive process. Read about their data scientists on staff. Push to learn more beyond the words they’re using.

Just because they say “predictive” or have the word predictive in their company name doesn’t mean they really are.

And for sure, if you’re using talent assessments ask if they’ve been able to repeatedly criterion validate their talent assessments. In the end, business results are the only measure that matters!

Read more from Talent Analytic, Corp. “Are Employees Costs or Assets?”

About the author

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Greta Roberts is an influential pioneer of the emerging field of predictive workforce analytics where she continues to help bridge the gap and generate dialogue between the predictive analytics and workforce communities.

Since co-founding Talent Analytics in 2001, CEO Greta has successfully established the firm as the recognized employee predictions leader, both pre- and post-hire, on the strength of its powerful predictive analytics approach and innovative Advisor™ software platform designed to solve complex employee attrition and performance challenges. Greta has a penchant for identifying strategic opportunities to innovate and stay ahead of the curve as evident in the firm’s early direction to use predictive analytics to solve “line of business” challenges instead of “HR” challenges and model business outcomes instead of HR outcomes.

In addition to being a contributing author to numerous predictive analytics books, she is regularly invited to comment in the media and speak at high end predictive analytics and business events around the world.

Follow Greta on twitter @GretaRoberts.