7 Ways AI Can Improve Overall Employee Experience

With evolving employee expectations, organizations need to rethink their approach to crafting the employee experience. Where does AI fit into that equation? How is AI impacting every aspect of the employee experience? How can AI be applied to upgrade the employee experience?

New employee retention is a top of mind concern for executives globally. Research suggests that 10 to 25 percent of employees leave within their first six months. Yes, this is in keeping with the fast-evolving gig economy. But is there more to this than meets the eye?

Is it simple enough to peg frequent job hopping to candidates wanting “better opportunities”? No. Turns out that employees on an average, even those who decide to call it quits after being in the system for only a few months, put in considerable thought before sending in their well-worded, apologetic-yet-pragmatic, just-the-right-length resignation mail.

What can organizations do to flip this trend (or at least ride it right without losing their talent in the wave)? What can they do to provide an employee experience that is so enriching, enabling and empowering that an employee chooses to stay on? What can an organization do to make Monday mornings enjoyable (or at least tolerable)? How can organizations engage their employees organically? Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be the answer to these (and many other) questions that the workplace faces today.

Learn more: 6 Employee Experience Predictions for 2019

Here are 7 Ways AI can Improve the Overall Employee Experience:

1. AI Recruiters = Happier Candidates

Let’s begin at the beginning. Every employee starts out as a candidate. The experience you provide the candidate lives with them when they come in on their first day. With AI recruiters, conversational chatbots and simpler, more efficient Application Tracking Systems (ATS), the usually monotonous, dreary and often annoyingly tedious initial stages of the talent acquisition process can be given a pleasant twist.

With AI tools taking care of preliminary sourcing, screening, skill-matching tasks, human recruiters can channelize their energy into converting the right candidates into hires. The emotional connect that is built with a candidate predominates how they feel about the organization and their roles. Ironically, some non-human intervention in the form of AI can improve this emotional predisposition and alignment.

2. Game changer: Making Learning Fun

With IQ having taken the backseat and EQ (Emotional Quotient) predominantly driving employee experience, there is yet another contender for the wheel – the happiness and fun quotient. Millennials are the growing majority at work today and they will constitute 75 percent of the workforce by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are neither intrigued nor engaged by traditional learning modules and mechanisms. Training does not have to be straining. With AI and Machine Learning (ML), organizations can break away from traditional eLearning systems and outdated LMSs (Learning Management Systems) and graduate to immersive LXPs (Learning Experience Platforms).

Gamified, immersive, experiential AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality)-enabled content is changing how we look at organizational learning. Moreover, employees no longer need to stick to set ways of learning and take charge of what they learn, when they learn and how they learn by regulating the modules, pace, and format of learning while still adhering to business strategies and larger team goals – all this while enjoying themselves. Learning can now become an enjoyable recess that adds fun to the employees’ experience instead of being a chore.

3. Farewell, Repetitive Tasks

The primary sales pitch for any AI at work is that it helps you bid adieu to monotonous, time-consuming tasks and frees up your calendar to focus on strategic initiatives. While we aren’t here to judge whether your freed up time slots are best used or get pushed into the category of “executive time”, what cannot be denied is that AI tools are reliable assistants for low-value-adding tasks.

This greatly improves the experience any employee has at work. Imagine a dependable, adept, dexterous aide who takes care of all those tasks we grumble about. An assistant who is personalized for your work needs – a next-in-line you can coach and fine-tune who is there not to steal your job but to make it easier and more meaningful. Lucky for us, we live in a time where we don’t have to just imagine this happy, repetition-free work reality but can actually live it.

Learn more: 5 Ways Technology is Transforming the Employee Experience

4. AI for the People, By the People, Of the People

Strange though it may sound, AI has taught us to be more human. AI analytic tools allow us to actively listen – to tune into what employees really want and need often before they want or need it. With the right AI tools, HR can be a more humanized entity that employees learn to depend on. These synthesized instruments can even predict and help us zone in on employees who are planning to quit so that we can delve deep and understand “the why” behind attrition and “the how” for retention.

Aaron Crews, Chief Data Analytics Officer at Littler, points out that, “Increasingly, data gives us the ability to improve job satisfaction and performance by helping us identify how people work, opportunities to improve process and remove drudgery and bottlenecks.” He adds that these mechanisms drive engagement over time because they offer a near constant opportunity for feedback and improvement. Tapping into artifacts that correlate to employee morale using sentiment analysis can help organizations in proactively identifying unhappy employees. They could then intervene in a positive way to improve the employee experience and overall retention.

“Monitoring technology can be seen as very ‘Big Brother,’ so organizations interested in these technologies must be mindful of the messaging that will surround them and ready to provide transparency into what the tech can ‘see’ and what it cannot,” says Aaron.

AI can help build people systems by providing cognitive support and intelligent data-backed decisions and making employees feel heard without making them feel policed around.

5. Engaging Right

With AI, organizations can now focus on personalized, individualized engagement strategies. This again ties in with the millennial mentality – they want initiatives that speak to them. With 85 percent of the workforce either passively or actively disengaged, an environment that is disruptive and often confusing and the ever-growing urgency in the talent-war, it is important to know the pulse of the team at large. There are algorithms and tools that help organizations do exactly that. We can now have access to the real-time mood of a team based on their word patterns and use of emojis. The times really are a’changin’ and with that, the way we engage employees. Engagement needs can no longer be hidden behind and covered up with the lonely annual team event or the dreary quarterly awards. It is time to engage each and every employee and thanks to data mining and AI-based analytics, that is a possibility today.

6. Building the Employer Brand Story

The new generation at work does not only want initiatives and strategies to be personalized but look for a brand story that is credible and relatable as well – a narrative that makes sense at the individual level. AI allows brands to connect better with candidates, with employees and with clients as well. Working with a brand that is recognized is an obvious boost for the employee experience. Wouldn’t you rather work for a company that is recognized for the good that it does and that has a brand that stands for something?

The brand story also depends on the kind of tech tools that are employed – on the adaptability that the organization has when it comes to keeping up with and leading change. Moreover, the AI solutions an organization uses powers processes across the organization and the ripples created spreads the brand story.

Learn more: Brand (AI)d: 3 Ways AI Can Support Employer Branding Strategies

7. C for Culture

An organization may have the most beautifully worded mission statement, the most clever-sounding vision and a fat book of values but what an organization is, is what it does every day – what it lives. That is the organizational culture. No matter how strongly the leadership wants to remove bias, promote ethical processes and establish a learning organization if the employees do not live it every day, that is not the culture of the organization. With AI, the culture of an organization can be communicated to every employee and translated across systems and processes. With conversation bots, NLP (Natural Language Processing) algorithms and immersive enabling tools, organizations can motivate employees for effectively to embrace culture practices and uphold the collective identity of the organization.

Just as clients and customers need to buy into your products and services, employees need to buy into your culture. AI may not be a magic wand that you can flourish and flick to make all your work-worker-workplace troubles float away with a simple “wingardium leviosa”. That said, it can surely be a tool to create an experience for your employees that empowers them to do great. The above are a few key ways in which AI can help organizations consumerize their employee experience.


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