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

In anticipation of his upcoming Predictive Analytics World for Workforce conference John_Callerypresentation, How AOL is Using Predictive Analytics as a Strategic HR Solution, we interviewed John Callery, Director of People Analytics at AOL, Inc. View the Q-and-A below to see how John Callery has incorporated predictive analytics into the workforce of AOL, Inc. 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?

A: We're not focusing on a narrow area when we use predictive analytics. Our goal is to use data and predictive methods to improve all aspects of interactions with our workforce. 

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

A: AOL's People Analytics team is part of the Human Resources organization, but works closely with our business units and finance organizations. 

Q: What workforce outcomes do your models predict?  

A: We use predictive models for as many questions as we can, and use the insights to drive better outcomes in all areas.  

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

A: Predictive analytics allows leadership to anticipate changes, conduct better planning and be proactive about intervening when a different outcome is desired.  

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: As we grow our analytical capabilities, the most important result has been providing better visibility into what is happening within our workforce. By understanding and explaining what is and will be happening within our teams, our HR and business leaders have been able to focus more on implementing their vision for the organization rather than reacting to issues and changes after they happen.  

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

A: One of my most surprising and satisfying discoveries hasn't been in the data itself, but in how quickly an organization can make improvements by using the available data to drive discussions and decisions.    

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: Productivity and employee satisfaction will see the largest improvements from the use of predictive analytics. By better understanding and supporting employees, organizations will be able to develop more successful products and services and lead to significant gains for the workforce and the company as a whole.   

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

A: Every organization faces different challenges at different points in their lifecycles, and it's important to learn from what others are doing in this new and growing space. Events like Predictive Analytics World for Workforce bring us together to share ideas and build relationships that can lead to great things at our individual organizations and across the field of People Analytics.  

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: In the race for attracting, developing and retaining top talent, predictive analytics provides a significant leg up on the competition. Anyone not building these capabilities within their organization will soon be left behind in the marketplace.  

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

A: When I'm at industry events, I often get questions that suggest that predictive analytics is a magic bullet for solving employee challenges. It's important to remember that predictive analytics is an important complement to good management practices, but it does not replace them.   

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

A: Partnership with business leadership is a critical part of the success of our People Analytics team. We work closely with business leadership, HR and finance to ensure the best possible outcomes for our people and the company.  

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 have to have a mature analytical function to start making improvements for your employees and your business. By simply looking at the data in new ways and asking smarter questions, it's possible to begin a transformation that will continue to grow alongside your team's analytical prowess.

Don't miss John Callery’s conference presentation, How AOL is Using Predictive Analytics as a Strategic HR Solution, at PAW Workforce, on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, from 10:00-10:45 am. Click here to register for attendance

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