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Predictive analytics: why it matters for employee retention

Predictive analytics in HR leverages data and AI to enhance decision-making, identifying at-risk employees and optimizing retention strategies. By analyzing patterns from historical data, companies can proactively develop tailored solutions, significantly reducing turnover and fostering a stable, satisfied workforce.

Keith MacKenzie
Keith MacKenzie

Passionate about human resources, employment, and business management, and an expert at sharing that expertise.

predictive analytics for employee retention

In an era where businesses face relentless challenges of retaining top talent, the strategic deployment of predictive analytics emerges as a crucial tool in the HR arsenal.

This technology not only forecasts potential employee turnover but also provides actionable insights, enabling companies to proactively address retention challenges.

After all, Eric Siegel writes in his book that predictive analytics is “technology that learns from experience (data) to predict the future behavior of individuals in order to drive better decisions.”

Through predictive analytics, HR professionals can identify patterns and predict future outcomes based on historical data, allowing for the development of more effective employee retention strategies.

What is predictive analytics in HR?

Predictive analytics refers to the use of data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data.

Innovation analyst Andrey Koptelov summed it up in an interview with HR Reporter as it relates to HR:

“Predictive analytics in HR is using data mining, statistics, and machine learning to make more informed decisions about recruiting, staffing and other HR functions. Whether it’s identifying employees that are at risk of quitting or determining the best candidate for a position, by analyzing data from CVs, job descriptions, and HRIS systems, predictive analytics can significantly improve talent management.”

“Predictive analytics in HR is using data mining, statistics, and machine learning to make more informed decisions about recruiting, staffing and other HR functions.”

The role of AI in predictive analytics for employee retention

Of course, AI has a role. It significantly enhances the decision-making processes within HR, particularly in the context of employee retention. AI’s capabilities allow for a more nuanced and effective approach to managing workforce dynamics.

AI supports analytics in the following ways:

Enhanced decision-making: By employing advanced algorithms, AI can process and analyze vast amounts of data more efficiently than traditional methods – especially crucial for larger organizations with a vast volume of data.

Identifying patterns and trends: AI, when trained right, can spot complex patterns and trends in data – including predicting potential turnover by analyzing variables such as job satisfaction levels, employee engagement scores, and even subtle factors like changes in work habits.

Proactive retention strategies: With AI-driven predictive analytics, HR can develop strategies tailored to specific needs. For example, AI can help customize employee development programs that target individuals’ career aspirations, potentially increasing their loyalty.

Continuous learning and improvement: AI systems continually learn from new data, adapting and improving their predictive accuracy over time. This dynamic learning process ensures that the predictive models stay relevant and effective as the organization evolves and as new data becomes available.

5 ways to use predictive analytics in employee retention

So what specific ways can you use predictive analytics in retention? Let’s look at five for starters:

1. Employee Satisfaction Analysis

Utilize surveys to calculate the Employee Satisfaction Index (ESI), focusing on aspects such as workplace environment, managerial support, and role satisfaction. For example, using a scale from 1 to 10, employees rate their satisfaction with each element.

Aggregating these scores provides a comprehensive view of areas that are well-perceived versus those needing improvement.

Tie to retention: A company may find that departments with ESIs below 6 experience higher turnover rates, prompting targeted initiatives to address dissatisfaction.

2. Turnover Risk Modeling

Develop a predictive model using factors like job role longevity, monthly engagement scores, and recent promotion history to calculate a turnover risk score for each employee.

This model helps identify which employees are at risk based on key predictive indicators.

Tie to retention: If an analysis shows that employees with low engagement and over two years in the same role have a high turnover risk, HR can prioritize career development discussions and opportunities for these individuals.

3. Flight Risk Assessment

Implement anomaly detection algorithms on performance metrics to identify significant changes, such as a top performer’s productivity dropping by 20% over two consecutive quarters.

Such a change might indicate personal dissatisfaction or external job searching.

Tie to retention: Early detection allows managers to engage in meaningful discussions with these employees, possibly addressing their concerns and averting potential resignations.

4. Personalized Retention Strategies

Analyze feedback from exit interviews and retention programs using regression analysis to tailor future retention efforts. For instance, if exit interviews commonly cite lack of growth as a reason for leaving, HR can build personalized development plans.

This strategy uses historical data to predict what retention initiatives will be most effective for different employee segments.

Tie to retention: For employees identified as high-risk but highly valuable, customized retention plans involving mentorship, training, and clear career pathways can be introduced to increase their job satisfaction and engagement.

5. Predictive Succession Planning

Use predictive models to forecast potential leadership vacancies and identify internal candidates for these roles by evaluating performance trends and leadership competencies. For example, an employee consistently exceeding targets in a junior management role may be flagged as potential senior management material.

Proactively preparing for leadership transitions ensures continuity and reduces the disruption caused by external hiring.

Tie to retention: Demonstrating a clear succession plan and growth trajectory can significantly boost morale and retention among ambitious employees, as they see tangible future opportunities within the organization.

3 softwares to support predictive analytics in employee retention

There are softwares out there to get you started on predictive analytics in this area. Among them are:

1. Visier People

Visier People specializes in workforce analytics, providing predictive insights into employee turnover and what drives it.

Its user-friendly interface and robust analytical tools make it easy to derive actionable insights without needing a background in data science.

Suitable for mid-sized to large companies, it helps HR departments predict turnover rates and understand the underlying causes to formulate effective retention strategies.

2. SAP SuccessFactors

This cloud-based HR solution offers comprehensive analytics with predictive capabilities, focusing on various HR functions including employee retention.

It integrates seamlessly with other SAP products, offering a holistic view of employee data and predictive insights.

It’s ideal for organizations already using SAP products, looking to leverage integrated data for predictive insights on employee behavior.

3. UltiPro

UltiPro provides predictive analytics to forecast employee retention and identify potential high performers.

Features include sentiment analysis to gauge employee satisfaction and customized reporting for deeper insight into workforce dynamics.

It’s effective for companies of all sizes looking to enhance employee experience.

3 potential use cases of predictive analytics in talent retention

Predictive analytics has real-world applications across various industries, each with unique challenges and needs. Here are three use cases demonstrating how predictive analytics can address industry-specific issues by enhancing employee retention strategies:

1. Restaurants

In the restaurant industry, staff turnover can peak during high seasons such as holidays and summer months. Predictive analytics can help manage and reduce this turnover.

By analyzing historical data on employee shifts, customer volume, and staff feedback, predictive models can identify patterns that lead to high turnover.

Restaurants can use this information to improve scheduling, enhance work conditions, and provide targeted incentives during peak times.

2. Healthcare

Healthcare roles, especially in high-stress environments like emergency and intensive care units, have high rates of burnout and turnover, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Predictive analytics can assess risk factors for burnout by monitoring work hours, patient load, and staff wellness reports.

Healthcare facilities can use these insights to implement preventative measures, such as adjusting workloads, offering more support, and creating wellness programs tailored to the needs identified through the data.

3. Software as a Service (SaaS)

In the SaaS industry, where many employees work remotely, maintaining employee engagement and satisfaction is crucial for retention.

Predictive analytics can analyze data from employee engagement surveys, performance metrics, and online interaction patterns to predict factors influencing employee satisfaction and lifecycle.

SaaS companies can leverage this information to refine remote work policies, enhance communication strategies, and provide personalized career development plans that align with individual employee aspirations and company goals.

These use cases illustrate how predictive analytics can be effectively tailored to meet the specific challenges of different industries, leading to improved employee retention and overall business efficiency.

It’s all in the numbers

Predictive analytics represents a transformative force in human resources, offering profound insights into employee behavior and retention.

By harnessing this powerful tool, HR professionals can move beyond traditional reactive approaches, adopting proactive strategies that significantly enhance workforce management and planning.

The strategic implementation of predictive analytics enables organizations to not only retain top talent but also reduce turnover, thus stabilizing their workforce in a competitive market.

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