Analyze Your Employees Feelings…Really?

This employee retention speaker and employee retention speaker was in shock when he read in the Wall Street Journal that companies are using artificial intelligence to analyze employee “feelings” so they can act on them.  My reaction…get out of your office and talk to your people!  That’s how you will get a feel for how your people feel.  Apparently, after taking an employee survey, a company can use these tools to analyze difference “between what people say and how they feel.”

The whole idea that my employer is monitoring and analyzing every word would be enough to get me p_ _ _ssed off so that I would consider leaving.  At least have the common courtesy and be up front enough to just talk to me.  This employee retention author, emphasizes trust as an ingredient in employee retention.  Actions like this don’t build trust with your workforce.  It sounds a lot like 1984 to me or to the recent learning that Facebook is doing all sorts of things with my data.  This is the type of thing that hurts employee retention, not help it.

As a human resources professional, we struggled with the concern from people that we might somehow be tracking the surveys so we knew who was saying what in particular surveys.  It took a lot of time, discussion and reassurance that we weren’t doing that.  If companies act like I have described above it will ruin it for the organizations that do it right because EVERYONE will start to distrust any survey that an employer asks an employee to take.  When that starts to happen, you will find that very few people will even take a survey for fear their every thought is being analyzed.  This is exactly what happened to the pollsters in the last election.  People didn’t trust the pollsters so they simply didn’t respond and it screwed up the poll numbers.

Why is it that employers don’t use the tools that they have at their disposal and just tell their managers to get out of their office and talk to their people?  Instead, we get enamored with some software program that we think is going to give us better information or make it “easier” to learn how our employees feel.  As I tell my audiences when I speak, this stuff is real simple…it’s just not easy.  Let’s stop taking the easy way out with some software program and instead simply do what we know works…get out of your office and talk to your people!

Jeff Kortes

jeff@humanassetmgt.com

Jeff Kortes is an employee retention expert who speaks and conducts workshops regularly in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana. He draws on his experiences as a human resources professional, father, coach, martial artist and U.S. Army veteran to provide thought-provoking programs that yield results.