By: Greta Roberts, Conference Chair, Predictive Analytics World for Workforce

In anticipation of his upcoming Predictive Analytics World for Workforce conference presentation, Names and Numbers: Leveraging HR Culture to Accelerate the Adoption of Chad_HarnessWorkforce Analytics, we interviewed Chad Harness, Lead Human Capital Analytics Consultant, Fifth Third Bank. View the Q-and-A below to see how Chad Harness has incorporated predictive analytics into the workforce of Fifth Third Bank. Also, glimpse what’s in store for the new PAW Workforce conference.

Q: In your work with predictive analytics, what specific areas of the workforce are you focused on? (i.e., optimizing workforce productivity, using big data to solve workforce challenges, building a workforce analytics driven culture, etc.)?

A: I originally joined Fifth Third’s Human Capital Analytics Team with the intention of building the predictive modeling capabilities of 5/3rd’s Human Capital Division. However, within my first six months, I realized that I needed to re-prioritize my efforts towards building a workforce analytics-capable culture before I could gain sufficient buy-in for achieving my original goal.

Q: Do you primarily work inside of HR – or inside of the Line of Business?  If Line of Business – which one(s):

A: Organizationally, I am aligned to HR but I primarily work with the Wholesale Line of Business.

Q: What workforce outcomes do your models predict?

A: During my tenure with 5/3rd’s HC Analytics we have implemented two models: one that predicts our expected total mortgage loan officer population as a function of interest rates and another that forecasts retirement likelihood among our commercial relationship manager and wealth management advisor populations. However, the bulk of our analytics’ work focuses on introducing and defining rigorous measures, capturing data, consulting and managing change, e.g. education, promotion and facilitation of the adoption and use of analytics in workforce planning.  

Q: What is one specific way in which predictive analytics actively drives decisions?

A: The retirement likelihood forecasts have been extremely well-received. As a result, the commercial and wealth management lines of business leaders are paying closer attention to their talent pipelines for those roles. Specifically, increased awareness of the need to develop replacement talent has led to initiatives to mitigate the key man risk inherent in these strategically important roles.

Q: Can you describe a successful result, such as the predictive lift of one of your models or the ROI of a predictive analytics initiative?

A: Not in those terms, no. One of my 2015 initiatives is to create a rigorous framework for measuring the cost and benefit of specific employee segments, beyond just sales and compensation that will provide a common way for Fifth Third to quantify acquisition and termination decisions. I also hope to return to my roots and build a few predictive models against some of Fifth Third’s high-priority workforce challenges.

Q: What is an example of surprising discoveries you have unearthed in your data?

A: One of the most surprising discoveries I’ve unearthed is that some of Fifth Third’s “poor” and “middle” Wholesale performers are also some of our most profitable employees. This suggests that, for certain categories of employee, Fifth Third’s employee valuation methodologies may not be good measures of workforce ROI, our employee performance metrics are missing some important factors of these employees’ performance or Fifth Third’s current Wholesale staffing model may be sub-optimal.

Q: What area of the workforce do you think has seen (or will see) the greatest advances or ROI from the use of predictive analytics

A: I think any area of the workforce that exhibits either high turnover, significant up-front human capital investments or both will see the greatest advances and ROI as retention rates and talent quality improve from the judicious use of insights derived via predictive analytics.

Q: Why do you think Business Leaders, HR Leaders and Analytics professionals should attend Predictive Analytics World for Workforce?

A: I think Business Leaders, HR Leaders and Analytics professionals should attend Predictive Analytics World for Workforce because the conference presents an invaluable opportunity both to connect with and to learn from the individuals and groups who are trailblazing the use of predictive analytics to tackle workforce-specific challenges.

Q: Do you feel any urgency you want to pass along to your fellow HR and Business Executives to implement predictive analytics to help solve employee challenges?  Why?

A: I feel a tremendous sense of urgency for organizations to prepare themselves to capitalize on both the ubiquity of data created by the exponentially growing “Internet of Things” and the accompanying need to generate and act upon insights that can allow them to create and sustain competitive advantage in a constantly changing landscape. The problem of achieving this transformation may be framed as a set of “employee challenges”: when every product, service and customer encounter becomes a data generating process, every employee needs to be equipped to maximize those opportunities in order for the organization to remain relevant.

Q: What is one misunderstanding people have about using predictive analytics to solve employee challenges?

A: One misunderstanding I frequently encounter is that the use of predictive analytics somehow reduces the need for expert judgment. On the contrary, increasing the use of predictive analytics introduces additional complexity into the decision making process, which requires more expert judgment to ensure favorable outcomes. At a minimum, every employee increasingly must be able to ask good questions, to differentiate and communicate only relevant information, and to recognize and act on the “right insights” at the “right time”.

Q: How involved has the business unit been in the work you’ve done inside of your organization?

A: Fifth Third has two primary lines of business: Wholesale and Retail. Leaders within both LOBs have been very involved with our work. I would say they are our most valuable partners and primary customers with respect to the work we’ve done inside our organization.  

Q: SNEAK PREVIEW:  Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your Presentation at Predictive Analytics World for Workforce.

A: You don’t need predictive analytics to see that the skill set necessary for the competent practice of analytics – mathematics, computer science, and business acumen – represent a rare combination that is difficult (and expensive) to obtain but increasingly essential to achieving and sustaining competitive advantage. My presentation will demonstrate proven, cost-effective ways for any organization to begin building, deploying and leveraging that skill-set in its workforce.


Don't miss Chad Harness’ conference presentation, Names and Numbers: Leveraging HR Culture to Accelerate the Adoption of Workforce Analytics, at PAW Workforce, on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, from 4:15-5:00 pm. Click here to register for attendance

By: Greta Roberts, CEO, Talent Analytics, Corp. @gretaroberts and Conference Chair of Predictive Analytics World for Workforce