What if you could catch and stop sexual harassment in the workplace before it got started? What about other types of violence, embezzlement, etc.? What if you could determine when disengagement was starting with an employee and address it immediately?
All those would be pretty powerful advantages to HR and leadership, don’t you think!?
Google is beginning to use A.I. and machine learning to find objectional content on the internet. Now, the main reason for this is a little less moral than it sounds. Google was losing advertisers because many ads they were paying for were showing up on content that was not something they would want to be associated with their brand.
Seems like most solutions to problems happen because of money…
Recently, in HR, we’ve seen some really high-profile cases of harassment come to light with Uber, Tesla, etc. These cases have had a major impact to both the consumer brand and especially to the employer brand of these organizations. While those of us who work in HR understand this is far too often occurrence, it seems like little gets done to stop it.
Say hello to my little friend!
Why couldn’t an artificial intelligence technology tell me when some creepy employee is sending inappropriate things to other coworkers, customers, vendors, etc.? What about when an employee uses threatening language to intimidate another employee? Wouldn’t you want to know about that? I think Mary just told Jennifer she’s ‘done’ and wants ‘out’ and she needs to get her resume together.
Would love to know that, so I can find out how to talk Mary off the ledge!
Say hello to Big Brother!
Yikes, right!? But, this is probably closer to reality than we realize and it will probably actually help our work environments a ton! Our employees communicate in a number of ways: email (primarily), messaging, voice, various tech platforms we use to do our daily work, etc. Almost all of which have unstructured data that A.I. could analyze and make predictions.
Some of those predictions could help you as an organization reduce risk. Tim seems to be coming very close to crossing a line with Mary, maybe we should give him a little reminder about our policy on harassment in the workplace. Bam! A nice, neat, little piece of content automatically hits Tim’s inbox and a message gets sent to his boss to stop by and remind Tim about what’s appropriate behavior in the workplace.
Some might help the organization retain their talent. There’s already predictive analytic solutions in play that predict employee turnover, add in machine learning, and A.I. will begin to show you employee who might turn before they’ve even thought of turning!
This might seem all futuristic, but the technology is really already here. Eventually, someone will launch a solution that does all of the stuff mentioned above, I’m quite certain someone already has this in development. It will only take one company to put it in place and the dominos will fall.
What you get paid to do at work is owned by your employer. We’ve all known this for a long time. What we never realized was that eventually, technology would actually hold us to not only the work but the behaviors as well!
Would you want to work in an environment where every move you made was measured by A.I.? I’m guessing not, but I’m also guessing it won’t be a choice!
Good article Tim,
A great thought provoker and I agree it would be great once AI gets to a certain quality level that it be used in the ways you mentioned. Unfortunately its likely to also be used for other less positive employee analysis and used as a stick vs. a lever to further employee engagement.
Great employers will of course leverage the lever while some of the more questionable ones like Uber might abuse it.
Thank you for sharing.
I love google and appreciate its incredible ingenuity with online search. But I’m also a employment lawyer. I’ve pursued companies who failed to prevent harassment. They are incredibly complicated. Context is difficult to lawyers to decipher, let alone AI. In my opinion, this would be hard implement with effectiveness, because unlawful “harassment” has such a broad definition (annnnd each state has a different definition… For example, CA covers a lot more protected characteristics (such as like ancestry & sexual orientation) than most states). Moreover, a lot of harassment starts with text messages on private phones, which would be outside the purview of these futuristic email crawlers/bots. But it will be interesting to see how it plays out! Good post my friend.