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 the 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-