In today’s workplace, employee engagement is significantly growing in importance. It involves fostering an employee’s sense of loyalty and investment in their organization’s success and nourishing a company’s most valuable assets, their people. Engagement continues to be a difficult achievement to attain for organizations of any size because of changing priorities, competing commitments and countless other obstacles leaders tend to focus on first.
To better understand why employee engagement should be a strategic priority for organizations, here are some facts on its potential impact:
Companies with highly engaged workforces are 21% more profitable
High-performing company culture leads to four times larger revenue growth.
Disengaged employees cost companies $450-500 billion each year
According to a 2017 study, 71 percent of employees are willing to leave their job and accept pay deductions in exchange for strong company culture, strong leadership, open communication and career development opportunities.
Today’s workforce puts extra emphasis on factors such as work-life balance, career development, training opportunities and more. Given this renewed importance on valuable investment in employees, which factors do business leaders view as the most critical to success? As more studies conclude that high levels of employee engagement and strong leadership contribute to success and the bottom line, this puts employee engagement as a top priority for organizations. Employers are starting to put more time and effort into understanding what their employees want, how they are feeling and what they need to succeed. Collecting accurate employee data as a starting point for developing successful employee engagement initiatives is a crucial step that could impact an organization’s growth, and drive the outcomes they’re seeking in the marketplace.
Current processes of collecting employee engagement information are inefficient and provide inaccurate insights. Although annual reviews and performance assessment activities can give leaders insight into the pulse of their organizations, these results are not specific enough to specifically pinpoint what various employees are lacking from their job. The traditional one-size-fits-all approach for analyzing employee data doesn’t provide enough actionable insights and limits investigation.
With the explosion of machine learning, growing IoT applications, big data and learning analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finding greater purpose in all aspects of business. The application of AI tools in organizations enables leaders to modernize their practices and improve how they interact with their employees, manage performance, deliver training and much more. AI serves as a productive tool for leaders to truly humanize the function of data collection and predict employee changes for the future.
Some current AI applications that organization’s use to better understand and deploy successful employee engagement initiatives include:
1. Behaviour Mapping
Learning & Development is a critical factor in attracting and retaining talent, professional change and career growth enable employee engagement. AI is being used to deliver digital learning by augmenting existing content into readable and fresh formats, without valuable design and development time. AI can extract important and relevant information specific to users, develop personalized training materials and adjust them to every employee’s learning styles. Using training information collected by AI, leaders can better understand employee behaviour and predict any issues that may arise, before they happen.
2. Chatbots and Real-time Feedback
Communication is an essential aspect of employee engagement, Chatbots interact with employees through informal conversation. They can offer targeted communications and quick responses to questions. Chatbots can become training assistants or onboarding leads by offering virtual tutorials at an employee’s convenience. Personalization at scale and employee-specific learning recommendations (i.e. tips, reminders etc.) motivate employees to progress smoothly.
Machine learning accumulates employee data that can be leveraged by leaders to easily determine when, how, or which employees work best together, thus driving group engagement. AI applications can manage meetings for employees or delegate process-oriented tasks, this simple automation frees up time for employees to engage in meaningful interaction and productive work.
Using AI tools for performance management, data collection and improving learning processes enables employee engagement and identifies the critical issues that cause barriers to engagement. As AI continues to develop it will provide more opportunities for training leaders to better understand employee behaviour, resulting in accurate and actionable insights for the long-term. Understanding the pulse of your organization is important but knowing why or where it comes from is crucial. AI has the power to reveal an abundance of valuable information about employees and can make engagement less ambiguous, and more achievable.
Organizations are constantly on the lookout for new technologies that can keep them relevant in today’s environment. AI acts as a complementary tool that can modernize current practices and ultimately lead to a better understanding of broader existing concepts like employee engagement. Companies of any size should consider how AI fits into their business model or how it can be used as a potential steppingstone to improve efficiency, service offerings, operations, and the development of their people.
Rachelle Su Marketing & Communications Coordinator / Associate Consultant Toronto