Guest blog by Paul Shoker, CEO, Beyond360
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in sectors such as retail and financial services is now well understood. We are all familiar with concepts such as Amazon’s algorithmic-based suggestions for goods to buy on the basis of past purchases, or online robots that help us through customer service processes.
Now it’s possible to apply similar techniques to processes managed by HR, including employee feedback, rewards, training and coaching, job referrals and the sharing of ideas.
Of course all of these processes have been in place for some time and are vital to ensuring that employees feel valued and are fully engaged with the business.
Our own research1 has found that more than half (55%) of employees would leave their current organisation for a company with a formal recognition programme, while more than three quarters (78%) said they lacked a common place to express their ideas, feedback and development needs.
The financial benefits of bringing all of this onto one platform, instead of managing standalone applications, are just the start. Even more important is the data that can be derived from the platform and used to understand the ‘Digital DNA’ of each employee.
The place to start is with the strategic objectives of the business and then work out which behaviours will help to achieve them. For example, if the business aims to expand its workforce in a particular area, rewards and encouragement could be directed towards those who identify relevant potential recruits.
Having completed this initial assessment and set-up, HR teams can begin to replace annual staff appraisals with reports derived from big data built around each employee in a much more meaningful and transparent way. Instead of sitting down with a manager once a year and talking through often long-forgotten incidents, employees can be rewarded for behaviours linked to business objectives all the way through the year.
Add to this a social element where employees can recognise positive behaviour by colleagues, share ideas for achieving corporate objectives and have their own achievements highlighted and HR’s involvement in business success rises exponentially.
That’s because for the first time HR has visibility at a highly granular level of individuals’ day to day performance and the contribution they are making to stated business goals. This allows them to take a much more informed view of top/poor performers; create a fair and open remuneration and rewards programme without fear of unconscious or conscious bias; and provide training and development at the point of need.
The knock-on effect on employees of this kind of environment is also significant. A virtuous circle of highly targeted rewards, training and feedback means that employees are more engaged with their organisation because they feel valued, so they in turn feel more motivated to contribute more to the business.
A further consequence of implementing this kind of platform is that organisations can address the twin challenges of poor productivity and lack of skilled resources.
Employees are not only more inclined to go the extra mile when they are engaged, happy and know what’s expected of them, but they are also less likely to leave for another job opportunity. In the uncertain world that lies ahead, organisations need to remove as much ambiguity as possible from employee feedback, training and development needs/goals and ongoing performance expectations. Using AI and social media techniques, HR can begin to streamline processes and enrich the user experience of their most valuable assets, their employees.
Poor employee engagement can damage business performance through lack of productivity, poor staff retention and the need to constantly recruit new staff. In the current battle for talent, it’s more important than ever for businesses to empower and engage with employees.