Using AI to Increase Employee Engagement


There isn’t a day that goes by whenI don’t read or hear about Artificial Intelligence, or ‘AI’ as it is generallycalled, creating a disruption in some industry or market. Business pages in thenewspapers and business magazines are full with alerts and warnings about howAI 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 massunemployment are still unfounded.

Be that as it may, the increasingadoption of AI-enabled tools and solutions across diverse industries is anindicator of the fact that AI technology is here to stay, and for good. Being alearn-tech professional, I can’t help but wonder the possibilities of using AIin the workplace, especially to address the long standing crisis of improvingemployee engagement. And, I was more than glad to be a part of the paneldiscussion/ Fireside chat at People Matters Tech HR India 2019 that revolvedaround the very topic of ‘UsingAI 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 thestartling pace at which things are happening and changing every day. Especiallyin today’s workplaces, expectations from each employee are at an all-time highin terms of skills and knowledge. With the need of the hour for every business beingdoing more with less, and with technology taking away a number of manual tasksat a rapid rate, there is a lot riding on each employee in terms of valuegeneration and value addition.

So, in the face of today’s businessscenario, it has become absolutely crucial for businesses that their employeesfeel completely connected to the core of the organization in terms of valuesand aspirations. In simple terms, each employee needs to be engaged at theworkplace in order to perform better and add value. Employee engagement is theglue that binds each employee with her organization’s core, whereas business’s shortand 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 firstunderstand the concept of AI, its advantages as well as limitations, beforederiving conclusions on the capabilities presented by the technology.

Anything that is measured is dataand anything that is data can be processed and analyzed. I believe employeeengagement is a set of three factors- communication, learning culture andemployee recognition. So in order to measure engagement you have to measurethese three factors at least. But a simple engagement survey in a largeenterprise will give you limitless data points that are incredible challengingfor humans to analyze.

As a result, AI algorithms can bewritten 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 datascience and better understanding of employee engagement parameters, real-timeand intelligent insights can then be drawn.

Furthermore, a constant calibrationand re-calibration of the AI algorithms will keep the analysis relevant andcorrect. For example, AI can figure out which employee or team shows varied engagementlevels and what areas need more improvement. In addition, AI will also helpremove human bias in the corporate with constant calibration and corrections tothe algorithms.

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-