Updated: Jul 22, 2020
“Employee first is the new Customer first”, and improving employee experience and satisfaction is now amongst the top priorities of HR managers in companies around the world. This stems from the increasingly accepted view that, happy employees always lead to happy customers. Yet, according to the recent Gallup 'State of the Global Workplace' report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. 18% are actively disengaged in their work and workplace, while 67% are "not engaged." This latter group makes up the majority of the workforce - they are not the worst performers, but they are indifferent to the organization. The economic consequences of this global "norm" are approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. These employees give their time, but not their best effort nor their best ideas. This eventually leads to attrition which drains organizations of their most critical resources.
HR departments therefore deploy various engagement surveys to understand employees pulse and design action plans based on results to improve satisfaction. However, engagement surveys are too little, too late, are too long and time consuming, don’t lead to lasting change and most often do not present a clear picture or provide actionable results. If you have worked in large multinational companies like I have, I'm sure you've gone through a Gallup, Mercer or Great Place to Work survey with limited success or no impact. It is estimated that companies waste about $1 billion on annual surveys, which are mostly conducted as a checklist item.
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Enter Amber, an artificial intelligence enabled chatbot that helps HR teams manage employee engagement, predict attrition and measure company culture in real time. It is an NLP enabled engagement bot that has relevant conversations with employees & proactively predicts those who are disengaged or about to leave. Unlike one-for-all engagement surveys once every quarter/year, Amber asks meaningful questions to employees at different intervals that matter to them. In fact, she's the exact opposite of query-answering bots. And unlike anonymous surveys, Amber has been able to build a culture of trust with employees who're now comfortable sharing their identity with her.
Amber works on a simple engage and identify model. Every employee in the company receives a chat request from her periodically from time to time from the first day of joining till the last day. It asks a set of personalized questions such as, “Is your work as good as it is expected to be?” or, “Is your manager helping you reach your full potential?” The questions keep changing their course on the basis of the answers. When employees give a negative response, Amber engages further to understand the cause of the problem by asking additional questions. When the same employee expresses unhappiness repeatedly for months, that’s the cue for Amber to alert the HR.
Amber gives a heads up to the HR about employees who aren't engaged and the reasons behind the same. Thereafter, the HR and the senior leaders can address the issues. One of the best features of Amber is that the chats are confidential and only few people, excluding the employee’s manager have access to it. She also keeps note of what is working for the employees and what’s not and which employees are truly happy. Based on the employees’ feedback, they get divided into three categories; High-Risk employees, Medium High-Risk employees, No Risk employees. The questions are asked periodically in the set of 15 days (after joining), 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and so on. The questions are framed by the company's in-house people science team, which comprises members with background in behavioral psychology, psycho-metrics, statistics and HR. Organisations can also add their own specific questions.
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This has enabled CEOs and CHROs to track individual sentiment trends and design action plans in real time. Amber is among the first in the world to have an in-house domain-specific sentiment analysis engine that understands corporate context and thereafter accurately predicts employees who are either disengaged or most likely to leave. The more data the AI program collects, the more additional and compounding value it provides. After a few months of gathering individual employee sentiment data, Amber can drive conversions and also build patterns basis issues from the past.
Amber since its inception in 2016 has now been deployed in leading companies across the world. It is now trusted by 100+ CHROs, engages over 300,000 employees spread across 50+ countries in companies like Genpact, GE Healthcare, Unilever, TATA Group, AXA, Pernod Ricard etc. Post COVID with knowledge workers mostly working from home, the need for employee engagement has increased manifold and the use of AI powered chatbots are moving to center stage in progressive companies and are being actively deployed in their Human Resource department.
Terri Bresenham CEO GE Healthcare talks about role of AI chatbots like Amber in HR
Amber directly competes with HR Tech companies like Lattice, Culture Amp and Glint who are based in the US and with Peakon from Denmark. Indirect competition comes from traditional survey companies like Aon Hewitt, Gallup etc., who still own more than 50% of the market. However, the new generation players are rapidly eating into this segment and market share is expected to swing wildly in the next few years. The TAM of the employee engagement, people analytics and enterprise AI market is $1 billion, and adjacent markets which include employee performance and mental health at workplace is an additional $2 billion.
Amber is the flagship product of inFeedo, a SaaS-based people predictive analytics company which has been growing in leaps and bounds the last few years. inFeedo first raised money in 2016 after winning India's Shark Tank show; The Vault Show and has been backed by prominent Angel Investors at the seed stage. It has also been selected in the YCombinator Summer 2020 batch, and will raise its Series A, later in the year. inFeedo is run by the very young and hugely talented Co-Founder & CEO Tanmaya Jain and he must be the only son in the startups space who has his father (Ex Head of Google India Ops) reporting to him as a COO, which i think is really cool. I’m delighted to add inFeedo to my portfolio; it is also my first investment in an Indian startup and I believe that it has the potential to establish itself as the foremost employee experience product for HR centric companies across the world.
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