AI to the Rescue: Preventing ‘The Great Resignation’ in your Workforce

By Steve Tonks, Senior Vice President of EMEA at WorkForce Software

After a year of pandemic-related worry and isolation, increased workloads, and little to no time off, employee burnout continues to grow with as many as three out of four workers experiencing burnout on the job. 

Not only this, but employers and employees are increasingly misaligned on vital issues such as job training, scheduling flexibility and salaries, which ultimately affects both employee experience and heightens employee’s perceptions of the workplace. The toll that high levels of stress can take on an individual proves detrimental to not only their health and wellbeing but also affects the overall operations of an organisation. This can lead to lower levels of productivity, increased injuries on the job as well as overall lower job satisfaction.

As a result, individuals are resigning in search of a better work-life balance and more flexibility, in what has been dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’. In fact, a recent survey suggests that in the UK 41% of employees are considering quitting their jobs in search of more fulfilling work.

AI improving the Employee Experience

Ongoing advancements in data availability, natural language processing, optimisation, and machine learning are alleviating the burden placed on budget and time-constrained HR departments and frontline managers. Technology is helping them proactively identify signs of employee burnout, distress, and lower job satisfaction by surfacing insights on attendance, scheduling preferences and employee sentiment so HR teams can make data-informed decisions that improve the employee experience.

Here are some of the ways employers can use workforce management software and AI to assess employee satisfaction and to better the employee experience.

Data-Driven Action

Due to our always-on culture and workplace expectations, staff can be hesitant about raising concerns about their schedules, workload, personal and professional priorities, and the overall experience they’re having at work—and opt for leaving their job entirely.

Instead, workforce management software can track data on scheduling, time and attendance data, employee sentiment, and other information that’s difficult to parse through, and changes in behaviour or workplace dissatisfaction can be identified and dealt with early on.

Data on paid leave can signify whether an employee is getting enough time away from a job to avoid burnout. AI could alert a manager to find space in the employee’s schedule to take time off and recharge.

Time and attendance and scheduling data can indicate that an employee is dissatisfied at work—say, if the data shows they’re repeatedly showing up to work late with no previous pattern of tardiness, or if their schedule is frequently changed by management less than two days before a shift, or they’re being asked to work additional unwanted weekends.

By surfacing this data, along with additional info from HR systems—like when an employee last received a pay raise or completed a peer review—AI can provide employers with insights on the current state of an employee’s experience and whether changes need to be made to better support and engage them.

Shaping the Future of Workforce Management

Advancements in AI are making it easier for organisations to increase efficiency and streamline human resource management with greater focus surfaced through data and proactive interventions from managers.

AI can also be used to identify undesirable shifts and incentives that might make them more desirable to workers. Based on how often shifts are swapped, employees call in sick, or employee sentiment on workloads during certain shifts, organisations could optimise scheduling to fairly distribute hours, identify more desirable pay rates or other offers to ensure shifts are covered and employee sentiment remains high.

Similarly, AI will identify negative changes or trends in individual employee productivity or attendance patterns—such as an unusual spike in lateness, either organisation-wide or with individual employees. Software can automatically send a pulse survey to assess the reasons why (maybe peak traffic periods are affecting employees’ commutes or personal obligations, like school drop-offs and pick-ups, are making it harder to report for work on time) and share the insights with the manager or human resources team so they can make scheduling and staffing changes accordingly.

Advancements in natural language processing could also allow HR practitioners to utilise chatbots and assistants to solve scheduling problems, process time-off requests and assess employee sentiment about their workload, safety issues on the job site, feelings on repetitive or low-value tasks, or the effectiveness of shift managers and leaders, and surface insights if a change needs to be made at an organisational or operational level.

Using AI to Transform Day-to-Day Experiences

Improper workforce management practices affect job satisfaction and often contribute to an employee leaving an organisation. Those who don’t consider employees’ needs and invest in technology that enhances the employee experience risk losing more staff in the future.

Although AI was once feared for its ability to make certain jobs redundant, if anything, it’s enabled employers to make more human decisions, according to HR Tech Influencer Tyrone Smith Jr., who says analytic tools designed to promote active listening and predictive responses can highlight potential trouble and help organisations better support employees.

As with any technological advancements, there are specific data and privacy laws, rules and regulations, employment rights and ethical quandaries to consider when it comes to AI. But, when executed properly, AI can free up the human workforce needed to perform manual, time-consuming tasks and leverage insights into employee’s day-to-day experiences that would otherwise be difficult to glean, giving HR teams and managers more opportunities to connect with and support employees in meaningful ways.

By providing insights into attendance, scheduling preferences, and employee sentiment, AI can help HR professionals engage talent, improve job satisfaction, and future-proof their organisation against long term challenges. Globally, millions of people are considering career changes, so every employee (and the experience they gain at work) matters.

Author: Editorial Team

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