Blog post

Accelerating your workplace culture of recognition & connection

How AI is transforming employee engagement & retention strategies into consumer-grade experiences.
min read

Inspiring employee engagement is paramount for organizations striving to thrive amid rapid change. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), businesses are discovering opportunities to transform their approach to employee interaction and connection.  

This article recaps Augeo’s webinar, AI innovation: Accelerating your workplace culture of recognition & connection, covering the profound impact of harnessing AI technologies to revolutionize employee engagement. By leveraging AI capabilities, organizations are accelerating the development of workplace culture and fostering deeper recognition and connection among their workforces.  

Join Augeo’s Vice President of Product, Sarita Parikh, and Vice President of Experiential Marketing, Kevin Cobb, alongside technology leader Ron Lancaster for an exploration of how AI is reshaping the fabric of workplace culture, recognition and connection.  

KEVIN: AI is evolving and HR leaders are thinking about how to deploy AI within a workplace strategy to push culture and to help build connections. What should organizations know about the role of AI in driving culture in the workplace right now?

SARITA: We’ve narrowed it to 3 areas that are key focuses right now. The first is around personalization. Using all this data that’s out there—which is just too much for any person to consume, understand or process—to ensure we use AI to say what’s relevant to each user.  

Our second area of focus is simplification. Taking what is currently a clunky employee experience in a lot of employee software and moving that into what we call consumer-grade employee experiences—making them fresh, easy and simple.  

The third area of focus is on nudges—using behavioral science to help people meet others where they are and help them do what they already want.

KEVIN: We’re going to unpack that first area of focus—data-driven use for personalization. Ron, can you dig deeper into that for us?

RON: When we talk about this idea of data-driven AI, it’s about providing context for the intelligence to be more useful in some way. One of the analogies I like to use is this: You think about one of the smartest people you know, but in this case, they don’t know your business—they don’t know your industry, they don’t know the day-to-day. You can ask them to help you with a particular problem, but they can only go so deep without the knowledge of your day-to-day. AI is similar.  

We now have access to incredible algorithms that plug right into our products. But without that data, without that context, insights are superficial. When you’re interacting with AI, give it deep context. Treat it like it’s that smart person who doesn’t know your business. Give it as much information as your company allows.

There’s this neat area of research that indicates AI can form long-term memories of interactions. You're seeing this more and more in our products and our applications, and this fundamental change that goes beyond where we were in the past. It takes this context of data-driven to a whole new level.

KEVIN: It’s important to know what the expectations around the experience are, especially in the employee space, and what role AI can play in meeting those expectations.

SARITA: You can use AI and you can do all this work to personalize the content, but you must make it simple for people to use. If it’s hard to use, it’s pointless.

One of the things we are seeing over and over is that most workplace software gives employees a subpar experience. If you think about the software you use on your own—maybe you use Fitbit or Instagram or Duolingo—the things you use on your own are very simple to use. It’s clear why you’re there. You get value right away. But if the software you use at work tends to be complicated, you’re left scratching your head.  

If you think about the employee experience and getting value to your workforce, most employee software doesn’t do that very well. This is something that we at Augeo are focused on simplifying—creating these consumer-grade employee experiences. AI is incredibly helpful in testing ideas, seeing what is causing friction in that user experience, determining the mental models for employees—and optimizing them.  

RON: This last year has been incredible for advancements in AI technologies. When we think about this consumer-grade employee experience that leverages AI integrations, it’s also moving and evolving rapidly.

Employees are going to expect to interact with the AI software in a way that is personalized and multimodal—so they can type to it and speak to it. The expectation of the software being proactive on the individual’s behalf is only going to grow.  

KEVIN: That’s a great point that leans into one of my favorite things we do at Augeo. Each year we create trends from our own experience, what we’re seeing in the marketplace, what we’re hearing from clients in strategic conversations with them.  

One of the top trends this year is that AI is moving from a novelty to a teammate—and we’re seeing it already happen. That leads us to your third point, Sarita, which is this idea of AI helping with nudges.

SARITA: In the behavioral science world, nudges are evidence-driven tactics that help people do what they want to do, follow best practices and act on information. Nudges systematically look at trends, they look at behavioral goals, they look at organizational goals—and then they recommend an action to take.  

For example, let’s say I’m a manager and I have a team member who’s getting a lot of recognition for a project. As a manager, that should be on my radar and I should express my appreciation for their work. Nudges help me as a manager by encouraging and enabling me to send a note of recognition directly through the systems where I'm already spending my time, such as Teams or Slack.

Nudges foster camaraderie and can deliver on appreciation at work.

RON: When we contrast nudges to a notification, a notification that might pop up is generally a reaction to some event. The nice thing about a nudge is maybe it’s a reaction to an accomplishment that’s happened within the organization or something similar. It’s about creating an action for the individual that is proactive versus reactive.

The tools that we’ve had in the past have been largely static data analysis. Now, we can start plugging into our applications this true sense of a blooming artificial intelligence that enables us to reason about the data that we have available and proactively push behaviors.  

Rather than a nudge being disruptive or unhelpful by popping up at the wrong time, AI empowers nudges to show up with the right motivation for the right individual at the right time. When you get that right, it’s magical and serendipitous. That’s what we strive for—and applying behavioral science to the technology makes it a reality.

KEVIN: What’s the biggest point you want to emphasize on how to leverage AI to impact workplace culture?

RON: In the next year, AI technology is moving to a mature stage. If you lightly experimented with using AI in the workplace before, now is the time to dig in and become an expert.  

SARITA: Be sure to start with the business instead of the technology. Right now, everything is AI this and AI that. It is incredible technology for sure—it's game-changing. But our jobs are about solving business problems and delivering on our business objectives.

Think of what problems need to be solved and then how technology can help, rather than what to do with this technology. The hype is real. Ground it in what is the best outcome for your business and your employees.

Ready to integrate AI into your organization’s workplace experience? Explore how Augeo can help elevate your workplace engagement strategy.

*This transcript has been abridged and edited for clarity.

Employee Recognition
Workplace Engagement
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