Running Your Business

Using AI to Improve the Employee Experience


  • AI programs can identify patterns that give insight into causes of employee dissatisfaction

  • Some tools anonymously analyze productivity software, emails and chats

  • AI tech can take over mundane tasks or encourage bosses to help employees who are feeling down

Posted by November 20, 2019

A positive employee experience depends heavily on employees’ engagement at their job. The more engaged employees are, the less likely they are to leave or feel dissatisfied with their work.

Sometimes industrial upheaval and advances in technology can cause a sense of instability and low employee engagement. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. Some technology uses biometrics and natural language processing to actually improve employee engagement. Here are some examples of how employers can use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve employees’ engagement on the job.

Identify Trends Before They Become Problems

Some AI programs can analyze employee surveys and uncover problems before they become a big issue. Surveys performed by Microsoft discovered that one department of 700 people was unhappy with their work-life balance, especially when compared to other departments, according to The New York Times. This signaled an issue that could grow to become a big problem down the line. It prompted an investigation into how the department could improve the staff’s work-life balance.

Look for Patterns Underlying Employee Dissatisfaction

Some AI programs can analyze data from office productivity software. These programs can compare survey results to data found in productivity software to decipher patterns. For example, an AI program might compare the working hours of people who say they’re dissatisfied in surveys with people who are happy at their jobs. Or it might determine if satisfied people write fewer emails or have fewer meetings. If a survey shows that employees in one department are unhappy, then an AI program can take a closer look to find what distinguishes that group. In Microsoft’s case, the department in question was having too many meetings, which hampered productivity.

Find Better Internal Job Matches

IBM has an AI-driven matching program that uses predictive analytics to suggest internal job openings that could be a good fit for an IBM employee. Every week, employees receive notifications about job matches based on location, experience and other factors. This can help employees stay in the same company but find a job that is a better fit for them.

Improve Job Skills

IBM also uses its Watson AI analytics to create a virtual career advisor for employees. This advisor reviews employees’ skills and interests and then suggests training opportunities or videos that can help the employees reach new goals. This coaching approach can replace annual performance reviews and provide more targeted ideas for improving an employee’s skills and engagement.

Analyzing Emoji and Emails to Improve Morale

You might be surprised to learn what some of the AI programs can do. Vibe can analyze emoji and keywords used in programs like Slack to determine if employees or teams are stressed or happy, while the program Keen can search anonymous emails for word patterns that indicate if employees are happy or sad.

Still other tools can give management tips on boosting morale. This might include encouraging bosses to say thank you, suggesting career growth workshops and other ideas. Some tools might even encourage employers to send shorter emails if analysis indicates that employees prefer that.

Take Over Repetitive Tasks

Sometimes employee engagement declines because they’re overloaded with repetitive, mundane assignments. Employers can use AI to improve employees’ jobs, taking over boring tasks and freeing up employees to tackle projects that challenge them. Some AI tools monitor workflows and suggest ways for employees to be more efficient, and then learn how to do easy tasks.

When implementing AI tools to improve employee experience, it’s important to be transparent. Make sure employees know that these tools are not being used to monitor their interactions or catch them doing things wrong.

Choose tools that keep private conversations private and anonymous but still have the ability to improve employees’ job experiences. Once they see the tools in action, they’ll soon come to trust them.

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