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Today’s business landscape is demanding that companies spearhead large-scale changes in order to survive and remain competitive. In an ever-changing political, social, and economic climate, constant organizational change is the new normal. Few advancements promise to help organizations cross critical business chasms more profoundly than artificial intelligence. When it comes to business operations, artificial intelligence has enormous potential to catapult companies beyond the status quo and adapt to new dynamics.
1. Enhancing the customer experience
According to research by Walker, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. The centrality of customer experience in today’s business landscape has motivated many companies to adopt a more holistic approach to customer experience improvement. Companies such as Intuit, EMC, and Adobe all have core customer experience leadership embedded in their sales, operations, and marketing organizations.
Artificial intelligence can help businesses craft highly-personalized customer experiences. Artificial intelligence can ingest and aggregate all of the various touch-points a customer has with a brand and determine what’s driving customers behavior. Are they eager to buy more? Why? Are they on the verge of churning to a key competitor? Why? Armed with this information, business operations teams are afforded unprecedented insight into the end-to-end customer experience, far beyond that which can be gleaned from customer feedback surveys. According to Salesforce, 50% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs. By providing the right messages and marketing prescriptions to customers at the right time, artificial intelligence promises to help organizations better understand customers and anticipate their needs.
Artificial Intelligence can also help businesses better understand brand strength and high-level customer trends. AI-powered tools can monitor brand perception on social and social channels and predict customer sentiment. This all-encompassing view minimizes guesswork and allows business leaders to confidently predict where customers will plant their wallets next and why. By accounting for everything from external temperature to the day of the week to political events, companies can drastically enhance their forecasting abilities.
2. Enhancing the hiring process
Strategic talent acquisition is central to business operations. Yet the hiring process is fundamentally flawed. The recruitment and interview process is rife with bias and is largely driven by first impressions. According to one recent study, despite increased awareness of discriminatory hiring practice, hiring discriminating against black workers in the U.S. has not declined in the past quarter century. The fact that employee referrals are the number one source of new hires, representing more than 50% of hires, underscores the limitations, biases, and potentially nepotism ingrained in current processes. It’s no wonder why approximately 40% of businesses say that the interview and assessment skills of their staff should be improved.
Artificial intelligence is already helping businesses transform their hiring operations and processes. It can help businesses cast a wider net by scanning large volumes of resumes and other talent sources to pinpoint highly qualified candidates for specific jobs. It can review job descriptions, interview transcripts, and call logs to uncover and correct hidden biases in the hiring process and accurately assess candidates. Several tools already exist on the market. IBM Watson Candidate Assistant, for example, is a talent management solution that helps match potential candidates with the specific jobs that they will thrive in. When implementing AI recruiting tools, it’s critical that we ensure that tools are not prone to the same biases that humans fall victim to.
3. Enhancing employee engagement and retention
Talent is the lifeblood of every thriving business. Amidst today’s competitive hiring landscape, retaining top talent is top-of-mind for all businesses. Employee engagement must be an integral component of everyday business operations. Yet most businesses are severely faltering in their efforts. According to a recent report by Gallup, the vast majority (85%) of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. Even the seemingly insignificant changes can prove transformative. 17% of workers who quit a new job within the first six months of hiring say that a smile from a co-worker might have made all the difference, while 23% might have stayed if managers had communicated with them more effectively.
Artificial intelligence offers enormous potential in terms of boosting employee engagement and retention. Using sentiment analysis technologies, biometrics, and other emerging technologies, AI-powered tools can help businesses confidently understand employee engagement. It can surface insight into what is driving employee behaviors and generate powerful recommendations in terms of how to most effectively motivate employees and reward behavior. KangoGift, for example, is a technology powered by IBM Cloud and IBM Watson that is being used by thousands of managers across 20 countries to help determine who, when, and why employees should be recognized.
AI also helps inform individual performance. Using sentiment analysis, AI can read between the lines of traditional performance assessments and more accurately gauge individual performance. It can uncover “toxic workers” who may score high on traditional performance assessments. Most important, it can generate targeted recommendations in terms of career paths and specific skill sets necessary for advancement. According to an analysis of Facebook employees, those who were most likely to remain at the company felt, comparatively speaking, they used their strengths more. Charting an empowering career path with skill development is critical to helping employees feel empowered.
Team performance also stands to benefit from AI. By monitoring interactions on social enterprise tools and workplace social channels, AI can reveal key insights into the degree and effectiveness of employee collaboration. Vibe, for example, analyzes keywords and emojis sent among employees on Slack to assess the morale of a given team. These insights can be game-changing in terms of empowering managers with insight as to how most effectively to structure teams.
83% of executives believe AI is a strategic priority for their businesses today, while 75% of executives say that AI will allow them to move into new businesses and ventures. Data is the hallmark of today’s businesses and AI is key to extracting the greatest benefit from the data. By leveraging AI to gain a deeper understanding of customers, recruits, and employees, AI promises to transform business operations.
May 29, 2019 at 03:43PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs