Employee disengagement has long presented a major challenge for businesses. A Gallup report dating back to 2016 has even gone so far as to label it a worldwide crisis, with only one third of US employees feeling engaged according to data accumulated during a 15-year period.
To face this challenge and adapt to the growing demands of a young and tech savvy workforce, HR teams have sought out a combination of techniques and technologies to first measure engagement and then ensure their employees feel engaged and satisfied.
One technology that businesses are considering to tackle lack of engagement is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Having long been destined for great things, AI has just recently started to have a bigger impact on our daily and working lives thanks to huge investment made by tech giants such as Google and Amazon.
In this blog post we will dive into the various ways AI can be used to engage and retain employees and improve the overall employee journey from recruitment and onboarding all the way to continuous learning and career development.
Capture and process real-time data
The first step towards creating a positive working experience where employees feel valued and engaged is to gather and measure data through a variety of means. Sentiment analysis, for example, is the process of capturing and processing large volumes of unstructured, qualitative data in real-time including opinions, feedback, performance reviews etc. Using AI powered sentiment analysis tools, HR teams can easily and quickly send open-ended surveys through which employees can freely and anonymously provide their opinions on their management or company as a whole. With Natural Language Processing, these tools can analyse each piece of text associating it with a positive, negative or neutral response. Obviously such tools, as of today, are still quite far behind face-to-face interactions in terms of analysing complex responses such as sarcasm. But they are also renowned for their capacity to learn with time. The results can then be visualised by HR teams and decision makers giving them a platform on which they can build their HR and internal communications strategies.
Facilitate onboarding with chatbots
Onboarding employees is one of the most important and trickiest tasks facing businesses. More often than not, newcomers find themselves navigating through endless information sources to understand their surroundings and role within the company. A chatbot fully integrated with existing systems like document libraries, wikis, FAQs and websites allows newcomers to find answers to their questions quickly, helping them to adapt and increasing the time they spend on productive tasks. All they have to do is ask their question and the chatbot will trawl the database to provide the right answer.
Automate daily operations
There is nothing more frustrating than having to perform basic, repetitive operations over and over again. It can lead to long term disengagement.
With the use of chatbots and virtual assistants, teams can simplify a variety of daily activities. Controlling conferencing systems, for example, or scheduling meeting rooms are made easy with virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa for Business and others. These bots recognise human voices and integrate with multiple systems like video conferencing and office suites, which makes them a convenient and powerful tool to introduce in the workplace.
Personalise learning and professional development
Within a diverse and multigenerational workplace, employees have their own preferred ways to learn and develop their skills. For example, younger generations tend to favour gamified video tutorials, whereas older generations prefer more traditional text-based lessons. To capture these preferences and provide each cohort with the most convenient learning methods and formats for them, HR teams have recently leaned towards AI-powered learning management systems (LMS). Thanks to their capacity to gather and process large amounts of data on learning preferences and pace, these tools can analyse user performance and provide personalised learning paths and patterns that can help each employee follow a different learning path and learn at their own pace.
Streamline internal communications
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses have realised the importance of having a robust internal communications strategy that can help them keep remote employees informed, engaged and feeling like part of the company. Chatbots represent the most obvious tool to achieve this. With teams having to change their daily habits and operations, there is lots of information that employees need to keep up with in order to successfully make the transition from the office to their own homes. Chatbots limit the time spent by employees looking for critical information related to work or the pandemic by making various types of content readily accessible for everyone within the organisation.
Additionally, the sentiment analysis tools that we mentioned earlier can assist HR and internal communications professionals to analyse content shared by employees on the digital workplace or comments on company-related news and quickly detect and respond to positive or negative comments.
Finally, AI-powered activity streams/news feeds of a company’s digital workplace can gather user behaviour data such as likes, comments and shares and display relative, targeted news to employees. This can greatly limit noise from unwanted sources and help employees get only the information they need.
Understanding how employees feel about their management or company, why they feel that way and how would they feel if certain changes were made are questions that businesses are continuously trying to answer. Having new technologies like AI making their way into the workplace can only help improve matters and allow decision makers to get better at recruiting, engaging and retaining their most valuable talents.
The possibilities are endless for AI as its intelligent systems get better by the day, making it the driving force that can shape the workplace of the future.