Machine Learning: The Technology That Makes Your Employee Engagement More Human

4 Minutes Read

Each year I dread getting my first cable TV bill of the year.  I am close to cutting the cord but as of this moment I am still chained to my cable box.  It seems on each January 1st, I get the pleasure of finding out that my bill has gone up. Of course I did lose a few channels I liked so hey, it’s not all bad.  Sarcasm aside, I never hear anything about this in advance and the cable company tries to toss me the bone of a few, worthless, movies to watch. What if they observed I like HGTV and MTV and let me keep those channels and take away others. They could then measure if I stick around longer. 

We work with people and the emotional and human side will always be a priority. No doubt about that. What we believe is that new technologies can make people more informed to learn and grow. Translation: machine learning tech can be better than you think once you dig a little deep.

How do we communicate using today’s automated tools like machine learning while also keeping a strong human approach to the organization? We all want the solutions that can make us more efficient but we all need the ones that can make us more human too.  

Fortunately there are several ways we can accomplish this.  Some of the most important are: 

  • Take a stand on machine learning at your organization
  • Use machine learning for more thoughtful interactions
  • Stay informed

Let’s look at these in more detail. 

Take a stand on machine learning-When people first hear about machine learning, the thing I often hear is how they want to make their employee engagement programs more personal, not driven by robots. We agree and are even opinionated when it comes to vendors promoting the smartest, best, most predictable tools. People are people. We love each other because we can’t predict their actions. What we can do is make sure we learn about the good things people do. 

We at KangoGift take the stand on machine learning that we as leaders must view machine learning as a tool to highlight the impact and the ripples of change people are having on the company, customers, and themselves. We don’t believe machine learning should be employed to be a “employee development” tool that observes and amplifies mistakes people make at work.

 What I have to tell my colleagues is that they need to make that stand and tell their co-workers that machine learning in fact does make the interactions among various team members more personal than ever and amplifies the good things.  

Machine learning is the thing that makes interaction more personal because it reminds us of the importance of human interaction.  With a well established machine learning protocol in place, senior executives can see where human interaction is lacking.  Prior to machine learning, we only knew about this when people were heading out the door. 

Thanks to it we know about employee engagement and those steps can be taken ahead of time. Now we can see that IT isn’t seeing a lot of interactions between teammates.  Is it because they are busy?  Maybe they aren’t aware of how to reach out to their colleagues?  Maybe it’s something worse. 

In any respect machine learning is the tool that is best designed to engage your employees and brings a great deal of humanity to the process.  I say stand up for machine learning as the best way to humanize your employee engagement. 

Use machine learning for more thoughtful interactions-Now that we can see how machine learning can help you humanize your employee engagement, let’s go into more detail as to how that can happen.  The big thing I am telling the HR leaders I speak with regarding KangoGift is that machine learning can help employees feel they are not an anonymous cog but are a fully contributing member of the larger organization. 

Corporate culture is built by that shared experience of success and inclusion and that’s exactly the thing machine learning can help you do. When the line managers are seeing the results compiled by your machine learning solution, not only are they becoming more successful at employee engagement, they are becoming more successful as human beings.  So many people think that a technology like machine learning is the opposite of being human when, in fact, it is exactly what being human is all about. 

Stay informed--I think one of the greatest benefits of machine learning is its ability to keep us informed in a timely and focused manner.  While the ease of use and technical benefits are well known by HR leaders, what can not be so easy to see is the ability to stay informed and in a position to control events rather than react to them.

One great way to do this is to use machine learning to understand what your team is doing for one another.  For example, maybe they recognize a teammates contribution to the overall team’s success. That is a good indicator that they are functioning as a unit.  Maybe they are not recognizing one another.  That is a chance to examine a possible problem before it becomes an issue and then a crisis. 

So let me leave you with some key takeaways:

  • Keep informed by knowing the benefits and ROI of machine learning in your employee engagement practice
  • Be an advocate not just for machine learning, but for how it makes your employee engagement more human than it is now 
  • Right now for any organization, being seen as human is seemingly impossible. It doesn’t need to be because you can implement employee engagement tools using machine learning

Machine learning sounds exactly like something that would destroy the human side of human resources but it's the opposite. It will help put the human back into human resources.  What it can do if you use it properly is build the type of culture that you want.  It’s an investment of time and resources with the ROI being the replacement costs of losing employees and any unforeseen costs that come from that loss.  Machine learning is the boost your culture needs.  Are you willing to use it? 

Todd Horton