There isn’t a day that goes by when
I don’t read or hear about Artificial Intelligence, or ‘AI’ as it is generally
called, creating a disruption in some industry or market. Business pages in the
newspapers and business magazines are full with alerts and warnings about how
AI will take up thousands of jobs in the near future, so on and so forth.
Although some of the buzz around AI is true and indeed exciting, rumors of mass
unemployment are still unfounded.
Be that as it may, the increasing
adoption of AI-enabled tools and solutions across diverse industries is an
indicator of the fact that AI technology is here to stay, and for good. Being a
learn-tech professional, I can’t help but wonder the possibilities of using AI
in the workplace, especially to address the long standing crisis of improving
employee engagement. And, I was more than glad to be a part of the panel
discussion/ Fireside chat at People Matters Tech HR India 2019 that revolved
around the very topic of ‘Using
AI to Increase Employee Engagement’.
We live in a fast paced world,
where our own little worlds of home and workplace are racing to adjust to the
startling pace at which things are happening and changing every day. Especially
in today’s workplaces, expectations from each employee are at an all-time high
in terms of skills and knowledge. With the need of the hour for every business being
doing more with less, and with technology taking away a number of manual tasks
at a rapid rate, there is a lot riding on each employee in terms of value
generation and value addition.
So, in the face of today’s business
scenario, it has become absolutely crucial for businesses that their employees
feel completely connected to the core of the organization in terms of values
and aspirations. In simple terms, each employee needs to be engaged at the
workplace in order to perform better and add value. Employee engagement is the
glue that binds each employee with her organization’s core, whereas business’s short
and long term success is dependent on employee engagement now more than ever.
And, this is where I believe AI stands to provide great value.
However, it is also important for organizations and HR leaders to first
understand the concept of AI, its advantages as well as limitations, before
deriving conclusions on the capabilities presented by the technology.
Anything that is measured is data
and anything that is data can be processed and analyzed. I believe employee
engagement is a set of three factors- communication, learning culture and
employee recognition. So in order to measure engagement you have to measure
these three factors at least. But a simple engagement survey in a large
enterprise will give you limitless data points that are incredible challenging
for humans to analyze.
As a result, AI algorithms can be
written to make sense of the large amount of data, beyond traditional statistics,
which can be used to combine and analyze data from various systems. Using data
science and better understanding of employee engagement parameters, real-time
and intelligent insights can then be drawn.
Furthermore, a constant calibration
and re-calibration of the AI algorithms will keep the analysis relevant and
correct. For example, AI can figure out which employee or team shows varied engagement
levels and what areas need more improvement. In addition, AI will also help
remove human bias in the corporate with constant calibration and corrections to
However, AI is still in a rather nascent stage in its development to make sense of data, with tools and solutions for a wide range of business services still widely unavailable. Of course, global tech companies have been laying the groundwork and are readying platforms which can be used by other companies to create tech that uses AI, but data still remains the most important part and its analysis in terms of the domain, like increasing employee engagement. Here’s a video of my fellow panelists and I sharing our thoughts on AI, and its many possibilities in HR and L&D-