How Do Predictive Analytics Guide Action?

Our behaviours and opinions are shaped by our emotions and experiences, and as a result, it can be challenging to translate these cognitive biases into meaningful employee insights and actions. How can predictive analytics help leaders to get around this?

How Do Predictive Analytics Guide Action?

3 Feb 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 enjoying an effective leadership or enduring a poor one. As a result, we form these tightly held (and often emotional) opinions of what effective leadership should 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 behavioural 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 programme that is optimised 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.

Supported by integrated data points from across the organisation, predictive and prescriptive people analytics can help us overcome these cognitive and emotional biases—by guiding action towards high-impact activities based on the weight of the evidence and a clear, logical and rational decision-making process.

Leveraging technology to inform decision-making

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. 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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Need help in making the most of predictive analytics to drive action and engagement in your organisation? Get in touch with us.

Gerhard Diedericks

Gerhard Diedericks holds more than 15 years of experience in Strategy Execution through people, in an array of industries—including Telecommunications, Banking, Retail, and Pharmaceuticals, and for companies such as Telstra, NAB, ANZ, Barclays, and Standard & Chartered. He strongly believes that the successful execution of strategy requires leaders who are fully engaged and have the right skills and mindset. Gerhard is currently the Principal for Aon Hewitt’s Performance, Talent & Rewards Practice, and is based in Melbourne.

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