AI can detect if your employees are happy

Businesses are beginning to enlist the help of artificial intelligence to monitor the emotions of their employees.
13 July 2018

Are you employees really happy? Source: Shutterstock

Employee morale can have a significant influence on productivity, engagement, and overall job satisfaction, making it a key metric to watch.

Numerous studies have shown that when employees are happy, organizations thrive. One study, in particular, found that happy employees are up to 20 percent more productive than unhappy employees.

In attempts to improve happiness in the workplace, many businesses try to gauge the emotions of their employees through monthly meetings, or end of year reviews.

While these face-to-face meetings are an essential way to engage employees, it is questionable as to how effective this method is in getting a truthful response from employees.

Though managers often encourage their team to voice any worries or concerns, employees are worried they may be penalized if they say something “unfavorable”.

Not only are employees often scared to voice how they really feel, but research has shown that managers are also not so comfortable communicating with their employees.

In a survey of more than 2,000 US adults, it was found that two-thirds of managers did not feel comfortable with speaking to their employees on various matters.

With these traditional methods for assessing the emotions of a workforce lacking in real success, could technology be the answer?

To gain an understanding of how the workforce is truly feeling, business leaders need real-time data and insights to be able to respond in a more efficient manner.

Email sentiment analysis

There are now AI-powered tools that are able to analyze email data to gauge emotions relating to a business. For example, US-based Tigli Solutions can calculate the emotional attachment of an employee to the organization they work for based on their emails.

AI can pinpoint issues relating to individual departments. Source: Shutterstock

While this tool is anonymous and does not pinpoint any specific user directly, it is able to gain an understanding of emotions relating to individual departments.

Tokyo-based company AIR has also created a similar product named “Vibe” that can search the popular work communication platform Slack.

The tool analyzes messages on public channels for clues about employee satisfaction.

It scans for keywords and even emojis that represent an employee’s emotional state. Once the tool detects any changes in morale, it will send a notification to managers.

While many question privacy surrounding tools such as these, it gives employers a fantastic opportunity to uncover and address any issues before they become a major problem.

Algorithms that measure your smile

Facial recognition technology is being used across a range of industries; from helping to detect criminals, to understanding the emotions of a shopper.

This has opened the possibility of the technology being able to detect an employees’ state of mind. The technology could analyze the headshots of employees as they enter or leave the office.

Using Machine Learning, business leaders are then able to rate the emotional state of the individual from very unhappy to very happy.

Emotion-detecting sensors

Brain sensors is another piece of technology being used to gauge the emotions of workers in typically high-stress jobs.

Construction, manufacturing and transport companies in China are leveraging brain sensors to monitor the emotions of their employees.

Connected sensors can help monitor the emotions of workers and improve workplace safety. Source: Shutterstock

Fitted in safety helmets or uniform hats, the wireless sensors can monitor the wearer’s brainwaves and stream data in real-time to computers. Using AI, emotional spikes such as depression, anxiety, or rage can be detected.

Keeping workers safe is an employers responsibility. The sensor technology being used by these companies can help ensure the well-being of an individual by identifying if a worker is too stressed to be working.

Currently, China has no regulations about what employers can monitor their employees on. While this technology can vastly improve employee safety and provide data to help a business, it does question employee privacy. For instance, many have concerns over how businesses are using this data on the human mind to exploit profit