What HR can learn from politics, marketing, and fusion

With a PhD in Particle Physics and a proven track record of delivering physics and maths based applications, data scientist Thomas Stainer has a clear goal: to get HR departments to embrace the use of data in their daily work. In the video below he explains what HR can learn from politics, marketing, and fusion.

HR is currently experiencing a tech boom, with descriptive analytics being used to drive HR decisions and make huge impacts to businesses. But we can still learn a lot from other disciplines such as politics, marketing and even fusion.

In his presentation during PAFOW Live with Al Adamsen, Thomas gives some examples and explains how they can be translated to the HR context.

1. What HR can learn from politics

During elections, polling predicts what the outcome of the election will be even before all the votes are counted. When you leave the polling station after casting your vote, you are asked who you voted for. These exit polls are basically a way of surveying people, with the crucial fact that the numbers are really small.

Now how is this relevant to HR?

In HR, surveys are important to get valuable insights into your workforce. Getting a representative sample of your population while avoiding survey fatigue is key.

Now let’s translate polling to pulse surveys

Replace voters with workforce and polling stations with offices, departments or teams and we can apply the same techniques to predict behaviour.

  • Build in prior knowledge and historical data into your predictive model to make it more powerful
  • Apply Multilevel Regression with Poststratification, which allows you to take into account small sample sizes
What HR can learn from other disciplines - POLITICS
What HR can learn from other disciplines - POLITICS

2. What HR can learn from marketing

In Marketing, the use of data is prevalent. Every click, every mouse movement, every sort of behaviour that you can imagine on the web is being tracked & analysed. By examining time-series data and trends in customer behaviour, such as customer attrition or churn, marketers gain more insight into their customers and are able to predict their future needs, desires and behaviours.

Now how is this relevant to HR? 

As in Marketing, we also have a lot of time series data in HR. We might be working with different timescales, looking at months & years instead of seconds & minutes, but the techniques are transferrable.

Translating customer churn to employee churn 

In the same way, marketers gain more insight into their customers by analysing how long someone stays on their website (customer churn), HR and business leaders can gain more insight into their workforce by analysing how long someone will stay at their company (employee churn). 

What HR can learn from other disciplines - MARKETING
What HR can learn from other disciplines - MARKETING

3. What HR can learn from fusion 

Fusion reactors are very expensive to build, maintain, and experiment with. You can’t just go ahead and try out every possible what-if scenario. So how does this work in fusion?

Introducing the digital twin

A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical asset, in this case, the reactor. With this digital twin, we can run simulations to find the answers to our what-if questions.

Cool! But what has this got to do with HR? 

Just as we can have a digital representation of a fusion reactor, we can also create a digital twin for your workforce. In this way you can run all the scenarios you can imagine and get some predictions on them, by using inputs such as historical data.

Which makes the question ‘If we fire 50% of our staff now, will this benefit us in the long-term?’ a lot less risky to answer. 

What HR can learn from other disciplines - FUSION
What HR can learn from other disciplines - FUSION

Want to find out more?

These are just a few examples of what HR can learn from other industries. Are you interested to find out what your organisation can learn from HR Analytics? Contact us

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