Now more than ever, companies are struggling with attrition on a massive scale. U.S. job turnover reached more than 19% towards the end of 2018. And, additional reports are showing more than half of U.S. employees plan to look for new jobs before the end of this year.
To avoid bleeding talent, companies are now beginning to invest in deep learning solutions that can help identify which workers are on the verge of leaving. These intelligent applications are monitoring employee engagement to see who is connected to the work and who isn’t. This gives managers an opportunity to intervene before employees begin looking for their next opportunity.
Guibert Englebienne, Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer of Globant, a digitally-native technology services firm, has worked with a number of large employers who are using intelligent tools to monitor employee on-the-job satisfaction. In the following Q&A, Englebienne shares how artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to gauge whether employees are about to quit.
Recruiting Daily Advisor: How can organizations leverage AI-driven technologies to reduce attrition?
Englebienne: AI requires information to be effective. But what kinds of information?
When analyzing a career move, employees say the number one reason that makes them think twice is the bonds they’ve created with their peers during their time at the organization. This means that in order to reduce attrition, companies should focus on increasing the number of relationships at work and reinforcing them. If organizations could gather information on these bonds, they could then be analyzed to understand which employees may be at risk of quitting and allow them to intervene before it’s too late.
In our personal lives outside of work, we use apps on our mobile phones like Instagram or WhatsApp to feel more connected to our loved ones. Given that this technology is so ingrained in our personal lives, organizations are grappling with how these tools can be implemented to improve workplace connections. Currently, the majority of systems used in the workplace are transactional or communicational in nature.
At Globant, we realized the importance of connecting our employees using technology as a means to gain deeper insight into organizational dynamics and employee engagement, which helps to predict attrition.
Over a decade ago we started an experiment to gather this information. By empowering our employees with technology that allows them to recognize peer actions that align with our values, we reinforce the social tissue. Essentially, we digitized emotions to viralize our culture across the organization, understand the social connectivity and ultimately, determine engagement.
What was surprising to us was to see that those who were recognized by their peers had much lower rates of attrition than those who did not. We were also able to understand social patterns that correlated with employees leaving the company.
Using AI-driven technology to drive engagement and predict attrition enables us to act upon it and prevent top-performing employees from leaving the company, as well as recognize those employees who serve as guardians of our culture.
Recruiting Daily Advisor: How can organizations best ensure that their employees are engaged across the organization?
Englebienne: In order to ensure employee engagement, organizations need to provide opportunities for team members to connect with their coworkers and those that they care about across the company in meaningful ways, collaborate on projects with those who share similar strengths and pursue personal passions within the work environment. We need to start thinking about organizations as living organisms and create these opportunities for our employees to connect authentically and build bridges where gaps exist.
Beyond creating these opportunities, having tools in place to gather feedback about how engaged team members feel is essential, as it’s nearly impossible for managers to check in with each employee every day. Having a continuous feedback loop and iterating on the employee experience as needs change is crucial in keeping employees engaged and happy at work. This also helps managers when conducting annual reviews, as they constantly have a pulse on employee sentiment across the organization.
In addition to gathering feedback, these tools should enable visibility across areas of the organization that employees might not interact with on a daily basis. Having a platform in place that allows employees to share company happenings across departments in a public forum makes team members feel connected to the social tissue of the organization and encourages them to feel part of something greater than themselves.
It also prompts employees to find ways to get recognized by their peers and look at where they can make personal improvements and meaningfully contribute to the culture. This is crucial for engagement so that employees feel like they actually matter and have genuine relationships with their peers that go deeper than their daily work.
Recruiting Daily Advisor: What are the benefits of leveraging AI and other emerging technologies in an HR and recruiting function?
Englebienne: Artificial intelligence and other deep learning solutions can be leveraged in both HR and recruiting functions to build strong teams and create opportunities for employees to work on projects that are meaningful to them. AI can be used to analyze employees’ hard and soft skills, which can then be compared against other employees’ strengths and weaknesses to build teams that work cohesively. This eliminates the trial and error of building teams comprised of mismatched personalities and past experiences.
In addition, AI can be used to aggregate employee data regarding personal passions and be leveraged by managers to create opportunities for team members to pursue these interests in the workplace. This ensures team members are in roles where they can be successful and continually kept on their toes with new assignments that inspire them.
AI can also be leveraged to eliminate bias in the recruiting process and make more objective decisions on new candidates. However, while AI can be a good tool to hold organizations accountable for diverse recruiting efforts, it’s important that the tech is blended with human intelligence to avoid learned machine bias which can occur over time. Human insight is still very important here, but AI can work to reduce some of the recruiting legwork up front.
Recruiting Daily Advisor: Why should organizational decision makers look to invest in these technologies for employee engagement? Where can they start this process?
Englebienne: Especially for large, global companies, it’s very difficult to have an in-depth view of organizational dynamics. And as company culture becomes increasingly important for attracting and retaining employees, it’s crucial for organizations to have a pulse on team member satisfaction to keep top talent.
Having a system in place that digitizes emotions and highlights employee collaboration, peer recognition, and overall engagement is important to see not only how employees interact with one another, but how involved they feel in the company and where gaps in communication exist.
Employees also want to feel genuinely connected to their teammates. Given their use of technology in their personal lives to connect with those they care about, it makes sense for organizations to put the tools in place that allow them to form relationships with both those they work with and others across the organization. This makes employees feel more connected to not only their peers, but the company culture, increasing engagement and making them more excited to come to work every day.
To start this process and implement systems that improve employee engagement, organizations need buy-in from the top. If senior leadership is not fully committed to this initiative, this kind of organizational transformation may prove difficult.
Organizations need to not only be customer-centric from the outside, but employee-centric from the inside and develop the same quality of skills. To achieve this, companies must work to make employees’ lives simpler, giving them intuitive tools that allow them to collaborate with peers, ultimately letting them have more autonomy.”
Recruiting Daily Advisor: How is Globant using technology to assess whether employees are engaged?
Englebienne: We are a company with more than 8,300 employees across 14 countries. In order to keep a pulse on employee engagement and allow our ‘Globers’ to form meaningful connections with one another, we built StarMeUp OS, a social operating system for the organization of the future.
At a high level, the solution allows team members to form genuine relationships with coworkers and feel part of the organizational social tissue. Employees can do things like send “stars” to one another to recognize good work, share company updates in a social-media-like stream and even propose innovative ideas for people to vote on.
The platform not only connects employees, but gives senior leaders a closer look into engagement and helps them determine which employees are exhibiting leadership qualities and collaborating effectively with their coworkers. Adversely, it exhibits which employees are disengaged from the culture and aren’t interacting frequently with their colleagues. This helps to predict attrition and develop strategies to retain top talent.
Because of the internal success we saw with StarMeUp, we extended the solution to our clients so that they could experience the success as well and build stronger company cultures, increase employee engagement and improve team dynamics. We now have customers across the globe in the automotive, banking, and retail industries using this technology, which is necessary in an age where this strong culture has become increasingly critical to attract and retain the best talent.
Recruiting Daily Advisor: How has StarMeUp OS, and similar technologies, improved the company culture for businesses using these types of platforms and services?
Englebienne: Upon employing this technology internally, we’ve found those employees who recognize their peers and are recognized by others are less likely to leave the company than those who are disengaged.
In addition, there’s a direct correlation between the most active StarMeUp users and the top performers across the company, which is likely attributed to employees feeling more connected to the culture and the larger organizational mission. It’s also helped our global employees get to know one another better, regardless of geographic location, allowing Globers to share their unique experiences and learn from one another’s backgrounds.
At the end of the day, technology has transformed our culture to serve as a living, breathing organism, which we treat as such and nourish with new experiences as employees’ needs change.