November 15, 2019

How AI Can Improve Employee Experience in 2019

How AI Can Improve Employee Experience in 2019

Workplace culture has become a common phrase in boardrooms as companies examine the success of companies with high-profile cultures like Google and Asana.

These organizations share a crucial trait: they know that in a highly competitive marketplace, culture can provide a business advantage by ensuring employees are happy, effective and empowered to produce great work. This, in turn, enables them to attract and retain high-caliber employees, boosting organizational performance.

Culture impacts every aspect of a company’s operation, and at its worst can lead to bad processes being justified because “that’s just the way we do things here”. All employees will have some frustrations or challenging experiences at work, but if they lack purpose, autonomy and clearly communicated leadership for a long period, eventually their work may suffer and many are likely to leave.

With talent already in short supply in many sectors, making sure staff have a good experience at work is only going to become increasingly important.

Ineffective Engagement

Until recently, many considered creating a good workplace culture “fluffy”, and at best more of an unmeasurable art than a science.

Traditionally, employee experience might only be measured through basic, paper-based annual surveys, which are limited in insight and quickly out-of-date. What’s more, employees don’t like them: ‘survey fatigue’ is so common that annual surveys risk actually disengaging staff further, as well as representing the business as slow, inefficient and out-of-touch.

Perks and employee benefits like gym memberships, free treats and paid nights out are great added benefits but they can only be the icing on the cake: they won’t keep employees happy and engaged on their own.

Superficial efforts to address employee happiness mean problems might not be addressed until businesses are already significantly affected by poor productivity and high staff turnover. But, AI can finally provide solutions to these problems, and make workplace culture and employee experience as measurable as any other KPI.

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Intelligent Tools for a Happier Workforce

Culture Analytics is the technology which tracks an organization’s culture and understands the impact it has on business performance. Cutting-edge tools can gather complex data about every element of company culture and turn it into insight that helps leaders take informed action.

Sophisticated products will integrate with employee workflow and the channels people already use – such as email, intranets, Slack or Facebook Workplace – to give business leaders real-time insight into the sentiment behind what people think, not just a crude ‘engagement’ score. This means it’s easier than ever to measure and understand employee experience and the impact it has.

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With Culture Analytics tools, it’s possible to answer questions such as:

  • How do people feel about our senior leadership team’s performance?
  • Which members of staff have the most social capital, and why?
  • Do our staff understand what our values are?

It also means that culture can now be measured so accurately that it could become the latest KPI, and some of this technology can even use AI algorithms to predict future trends in the business.

Stuart Simms, CEO of Rakuten Marketing, is an early adopter of this kind of technology, describing it as a cornerstone of managing change.

He says, “Culture Analytics helped us transform our business. Historically we didn’t ask our employees the right questions and they weren’t backed up by behavioral analysis and psychometrics. It was just a basic score for employees. Now we ask the right questions to find out how people feel at work, but more importantly, we have the right tools to analyze and truly understand that data.”

Any business that can couple an astute strategic direction with a great culture is on course for success. Employees will know what they’re aiming towards and why, feel trusted to go and make it happen, and be highly motivated to go and achieve it. That kind of business environment can’t help but launch an organization to success.

Recommended: Employee Engagement: Leave No Generation Behind

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Thomas Davies

Thomas is the Founder and CEO of Temporall, a Culture Analytics software company specializing in the ROI of Culture. Ex-Googler, Non-Executive Director, Executive Advisor to the Association of Corporate Treasurers, regular keynote speaker, published in FastCo and Medium, and qualified executive coach. Thomas founded Temporall to help executive teams make better, more informed decisions about their people and organizational culture. We call this Culture Analytics. Our Culture Workbench platform and professional services organization helps clients design, measure and manage their organizational culture.