Can Artificial Intelligence provide emotionally intelligent insights for a business?

Manni Sasani

Manni Sasani

My brother invited me out on a clear, warm night in Budapest. He said he will bring along an old friend as well so we could get introduced. Sitting by the beautiful St. Stephen’s basilica we got talking about work after talking for a while about ourselves and what we were up to.

Talking AI by the basilica.

I explained that I was thinking about the various applications of AI technology in recruitment. I run a recruitment business in Budapest. We’re a small start-up and what we lack in manpower (naturally as we are in an embryonic phase) we compensate with brains (a subjective perspective I hold). My intellect is a negligible part of the common intellectual pool.

manni sasani blog

Brain Vs Brawn

I told my new friend we want to differentiate ourselves from the established companies here and our work on AI will play a big part of that. He suggested that we collaborate with employers and create a tool powered by AI that can generate insights using data from CV’s belonging to past employees that were either, dismissed by the employer or quit their jobs. A tool that provides insights that can help businesses reduce future recruitment risks and increase talent retention . A great idea!

Perhaps it would help to tell you what I go through following a great idea…..

  1. Great Idea (Big bang moment)
  2. Loss of hearing (People are talking but I am picturing what year 2020 would look like)
  3. Hearing comes back and I have missed another great suggestion made by others
  4. Obsessive thinking about the idea for two days
  5. Begin to question if it would ever really work?
  6. Ask smart people to explore the idea and develop a proof of concept
  7. Talk about the idea with as many people as I can (now blog as well)

Can Artificial Intelligence provide emotionally intelligent insights for a business?

Yes it can, however, it is complicated when the insight involves human beings. Because we are complicated and nuanced creatures.

We can presume a large pile of past CV’s held on file for dismissed employees/employees that quit could uncover correlations and pattern that can produce become red flags to consider for future recruitment of employees. I believe such a tool can have positive uses but it carries an equally unwanted basket of disadvantages.

An employer could end up positively discriminating against a large pool of future talent because the tool hasn’t been given enough information to analyse.

An employees leaving their post or being dismissed should ask employers to question their role in the failure as well. I have sadly come across some employers who prefer not to admit any culpability in this and I find it very frustrating.

I worked for over a decade in highly competitive roles in London and some of the most talented and emotionally intelligent people I have worked with were ones that were subsequently dismissed or quit their jobs. In my opinion the key contributing factor to that was the circumstance not those individuals lack of effort, ability or intelligence. Circumstances that the employers could have addressed more effectively.

By taking into account context and circumstances employers can use emotionally intelligent insights generated by AI to manage business risk proactively.

Can that be achieved just through data?

Technocrats say it is possible.

To help businesses assess risk attached to recruitment and retaining existing talent we must look to the past. Using CV’s which can be considered a collection facts and statements around facts as well as further information about the work environment and attitudes using all other available data.

In my view this could be possible by collecting historical information for example on:

  • staff numbers
  • staff retention
  • employee engagement surveys

along with key business metrics such as:

  • budgets (a gauge of how much resources did we make available)
  • targets & KPI’s (a gauge on how much pressure did we place)
  • output (what results did we get based on the resources provided and pressure applied)

and data from:

  • CV’s
  • Exit interviews

Perhaps these insights could help senior management teams avoid status quo bias and warn them they could be at risk of losing talent which they won’t be able to attract and replace easily if they don’t act fast and address the contributing factors at play .

Insights that define the risk by saying which teams and individuals are at high risk by comparing current metrics to past metrics to predict outcomes through live modelling. These insights can then be further tested through targeted employee engagement surveys and addressed proactively by the senior management team in strategy and budget reviews.

Can we create this particular emotionally intelligent AI tool using information currently available to employers/HR teams? What critical data do you think are we missing?

I will pick this topic up again after the web summit conference in November where we will be discussing concepts with leading minds and investors.

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