How to increase employee engagement using AI, machine learning, and other methods

Increased retention, productivity, and workers' performance—these are some potential benefits of successful employee engagement initiatives.

Why managers must measure employee engagement Leaders need to create an engaging culture that gives skilled talent what they need to do their best work, according to Santiago Jaramillo, CEO and co-founder of Emplify.

Employee engagement is "the level of an employee's emotional connection, involvement, and commitment to their organization," according to G2 Crowd. Making employees feel valued increases their enthusiasm and dedication to their job, coworkers, and the company; retention rates, performance, and productivity also improve. On the flip side, when employees' job satisfaction and engagement levels are low, companies can suffer.

Gallup reported that in 2018, 34% of US workers surveyed felt engaged, while 13% felt "actively disengaged." The report also found that companies with high levels of employee engagement and low levels of disengagement achieved an earnings-per-share growth four times higher than competitors. Additionally, these companies reported having 21% higher profitability, better customer engagement, higher productivity and retention, and fewer accidents.

SEE: How to keep your staff motivated and engaged (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The G2 Crowd EE survey found that over half (57%) of HR employees strongly agree that employee engagement initiatives will help their company retain a productive staff. They also found that "the majority of employees surveyed overall believe that employee engagement is important for a thriving company culture."

What are ways companies can improve employee engagement?

In addition to utilizing employee engagement software, companies can increase employee engagement through education and training, career development, employee recognition initiatives, and creating wellness programs focused on physical, mental, and financial health.

Forbes lists additional ways to encourage employee engagement:

  • Don't skip onboarding and training: Companies have less than six months to engage an employee in their role. This time period is when new employees have the opportunity to ask questions, offer ideas, voice concerns, bond with coworkers, and develop a connection with the company.
  • Set company goals: Reaching goals encourages employee engagement; companies should set monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual goals so employees have something to work toward. Setting goals for each department and the company overall can give employees a sense of how their work is having an impact and helping the company succeed.
  • Don't micromanage: Not providing employees with enough freedom to do their jobs can lead to active disengagement; it can also dampen employee morale and decrease productivity. Allowing employees to make decisions about their work and develop their own techniques for problem solving creates higher levels of engagement. Executives should focus on the bigger picture and leave the details up to employees.

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) help engage employees?

AI and ML enhance the employee experience starting with the recruiting process and continuing through offboarding. According to AnalyticsTraining.com, by using artificial intelligence, companies can:

  • Engage on-site and remote employees more effectively;
  • Provide continuous assistance and support to employees;
  • Monitor organization-wide performance in real-time;
  • Improve learning and development activities; and
  • Streamline conflict resolution.

By analyzing email conversations and biometric data, companies can more easily promote a sense of belonging among employees, identify red flags, and create an engaging work environment.

SEE: Managing AI and ML in the enterprise (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

G2 Crowd predicts that AI-driven HR technology usage will increase by 35% in 2019. By utilizing AI and machine learning as a service, HR reps can streamline processes and enhance the overall employee experience.

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Image: iStockphoto/bernardbodo

By Kristen Lotze

Kristen Lotze is an Associate Writer for TechRepublic. She is a graduate of the University of Louisville, and previously worked as an intern in the Marketing and Communications department at Metropolitan State University of Denver.