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The New HR with Analytics, “People Insurance”
David Lahey

When Google reviewed data from thousands of employee surveys, they found that employees gravitate to job opportunities that provide coaching and career development. The Conference Board of Canada also uncovered that encouraging professional growth fosters employee engagement and retention. And if you’re still not sold, Gallup research states that highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability, a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity. So, if professional development plays such a critical role in business success, then what’s the secret sauce to offering training and career development opportunities that boost the bottom line?

David Lahey
All too often organizations focus on developing the training, but we should really start by better understanding the individual employee. Follow these five data driven steps to improve the outcome of your professional development strategy and you’ll immediately start to reap the benefits.

Hiring for the right fit

Professional development is an investment of both time and money, so how do you determine which employees will benefit most and stick around for the long haul? Smart organizations are effectively predicting engaged employees by using behavioural data to develop profiles for both the job and potential employee. When the data shows a match between the candidate’s natural behaviour and the ideal behaviour for the job role, then the employee will be content and committed to serve long-term.

With typical deals ranging from $4 to $500 million in total contract value, CGI can’t afford to have the wrong people pitching new business or managing accounts. To ensure that only the employees who will perform best are considered for the job, CGI’s leadership team looks at the behaviour profiles of their successful employees throughout the organization and then hires towards a job pattern based on them. Only potential employees who are a good match for this job pattern progress to the interview stage. In doing this, CGI’s management ensures that they obtain the right hires at all levels throughout the organization.

Ensuring employees are in the right role

While the behavioural assessment provides the analytical data to uncover employee behaviours, the job assessment captures the behavioural requirements for a specific role. Both these assessments, available through Predictive Success Corporation, are essential to finding the perfect match.

During the transition from a family run operation to a large process driven organization, Sofina Foods’ management team used behavioural analytics to ensure that they were building their teams and strategies with the right mix of people. This helped Sofina’s leadership team to match employees to both their job roles and the company’s culture. As a result, the organization has seen turnover drop to less than one per cent, a reduction of about five percent. And their growth rate is about four to five times that of others in their category.

Understanding employee behaviours -- ever had a bad boss?

Employees leave their boss, not the company. Analytics and behavioural data helps managers identify how employees best receive, process and respond to new situations and information in the workplace. This creates an open dialogue between employees and management and fosters learning, engagement and innovation throughout the organization.

For Robert Haberbusch, coach of the NCAA DIVII leading Hamilton College (N. Y.) Varsity Hockey team, analytics are critical to understanding the behavioural make-up of his team. Every new player on the team completes a behavioural assessment which offers Haberbusch key insights into their individual behaviours. This helps him with the intricacies of coaching players both as individuals and as members of a team. After just one year of using behavioural analytics, the Hamilton College Varsity Hockey team has improved their win record by 46 per cent. Coach Rob also uses the analytic approach for recruiting players as any mistake in recruiting must last four years without replacement.

Customizing training and coaching opportunities

Behavioural analytics also enable employers to tailor training programs and coaching opportunities to meet individuals’ specific needs. Millennials especially appreciate the unique feedback that is mapped to their own drives and motivations, available with a validated analytic report like the Predictive Index from Predictive Success.

Great West Life, one of Canada’s most successful insurance companies, has leveraged the use of predictive analytics since 2006 to select and grow its people. Employee data collected during the hiring process to manage each employee’s career path within the organization. By providing a mix of ongoing formal training programs and informal coaching opportunities that address the motivational needs of employees, Great West Life’s management team has seen increased morale and improved employee performance.

Advancing Careers

The data contained in behaviour profiles also provides a framework for identifying suitable candidates for career advancement and tailoring training to prepare candidates for leadership roles. Can this high performing, individual transition to lead a group?

Dr. Charlene Zietsma, an Associate Professor and Ann Brown Chair of Organization Studies at Schulich School of Business at York University, found that as companies move through phases of high-growth and progress to a stage of growth stabilization they experience a need for different kinds of employees. High growth organizations need employees who are comfortable wearing many different hats. As growth stabilizes, these adaptive employees must take on more specialized roles. Dr. Zietsma says that analytical data from behavioural assessments can be key to identifying and preparing employees for more specialized roles as the company becomes more established. This allows companies to adjust employee roles and responsibilities while retaining corporate memory, utilizing key employee skills and maintaining a motivated workforce.

Employee analytics gathered during the candidate selection phase never expire. In fact, this rich data becomes even more valuable as it is used to tailor training and coaching programs and guide career advancement. Levering behaviour analytics can only increase employee engagement and productivity and lower turnover and absenteeism, ultimately building a stronger business. Require, then hire, then inspire them each day with predictive analytics to grow your people and your leaders.

David Lahey, MBA, is the founder and president of Predictive Success Corporation ( and the author of “Predicting Success: Evidence Based Strategies to Hire the Right People and Build the Best Team”. Predictive Success leverages the Predictive Index to optimize organizational development. David can be reached at or 905-430-9788.

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