Strengthen Your Culture without AI

3 Minutes Read

We’re in the final stretch of 2021.  When I am talking with HR executives about the past year, or year-to-date, depending on your view of things, about KangoGift, we are really looking forward to 2022 and starting to plan ahead.  One of the subject matters that keeps coming up is artificial intelligence, AI. I want to reassure you that you don’t have to feel a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) about AI. Machine learning is where it’s at.

The Current Conversation

The conversation is about, OK so what’s going on with this thing? What have we learned about it?  And, what can we really expect from it? 

The quick and easy answer is that no one knows and right now no one can figure out what it does and doesn’t know about AI in the human resources field. It’s certainly carved a niche for itself but the niche is nowhere near what we expected and it may not be offering us true help.  

Let me share some of my personal observations regarding AI in the hope this can help you compare your own AI experience and determine if you’re in a similar position or if your situation is truly unique. 

I talk to a lot of HR executives and line managers on behalf of KangoGift and not one of them sees their role as one that can be filled by an AI program.  In fact, very few roles that require any human presence can be replaced by something that is of a non-intuitive development.  Think of it like this, if your job is to engage with employees, whose needs are not going to be based on an algorithm, such as a death in the family or a conflict with a teammate, then AI isn’t for you. 

The second is that AI is a huge distraction--To follow along with what I was just saying about the weaknesses of AI.  I would continue with the notion that not only is AI a huge distraction it is THE distraction that I think causes HR programs to fail with employee engagement.  There is so much discussion about AI that we’re not using the far more suitable tool that machine learning provides us. 

Smarter Systems aka Machine Learning Are Cropping Up

With all that has been going on in the world recently I haven’t talked much about machine learning but I want to bring it back because it is an exceptional tool in helping you with your employee management.  First I will state the obvious that yes it’s a part of the AI universe but it’s not being utilized to its full potential

The focus on what AI could be doing for you is drowning out what it IS doing for you.  This has come up frequently when I talk to people about KangoGift’s solutions.  I find myself reminding them that they have had 100,000+ interactions with employees this year and each one helps build a stronger view of how satisfied employees are. Machine learning simply can help those interactions be deeper and more robust. More importantly, we are working with them to identify potential problems and also enhance the employee experience in so many ways, i.e. recognition and awards programs.

I find so many human resources people have grown so accustomed to machine learning that they often forget its tremendous potential.  Machine learning can help you build stronger teams and doesn’t share the ominous stigma that some people associate with artificial intelligence. 

5 Ways Machine Learning Can Help 

You know what machine learning will do for you.  It will help you build stronger teams because behavior that can result in employee dissatisfaction, and its associated costs, can be detected early on and dealt with.  It also brings a certain level of emotional intelligence to the organization. 



I know machine and emotion sound like opposites but they are in the case of machine learning very similar.  By dealing with many things that can impact the satisfaction and engagement of your employees, machine learning is and will remain, an essential part of your organization.

Machine learning is the best tool for finding out about problems before they become a crisis.

Machine learning is right here and right now.  It is a type of AI and it is a valuable tool for the best in class HR programs.  Machine learning can alert you of problems before they become trouble. It is the part of AI that clearly demonstrates the human nature of AI.  You are told of a potential problem and then the human part of HR decides how to bring that emotional intelligence to the front to figure out how to deal with it. 


Compared to recent history, 2022 should be a breeze.  If you believe that I’ve got a bridge to see you.  Seriously though, we are at that inflection point where we can count on AI to help us more and more.  I strongly believe it will help us with those repetitive, daily tasks, and will allow HR to open up more of the human support functions it used to do. With HR and machine learning, managers can now go back to see their employees as human beings and lose the coldness that has predominantly been the language of organizations. 


Todd Horton