It has been long known that loneliness can have extremely adverse effects on your health. Former surgeon general Vivek Murthy says that loneliness and weak social connections can put you at risk for heart disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety. This feeling, however, can extend further than one’s usual social group and can also be felt within a workplace. Thus new AI measures have been put in place to tackle this issue.
There has been a correlation found between loneliness and adverse workplace performance and satisfaction. Research from California State University and the Wharton School of Business found that “An employee’s work loneliness triggers emotional withdrawal from their organization” as well as “hindering team member effectiveness”. Furthermore, Murthy adds that “loneliness is responsible for reducing task performance, limiting creativity, and impairing reasoning and decision making”.
Therefore, monitoring and consequential rectifying of employees sentiment and loneliness are extremely important or productivity. Traditional methods which aimed to aid this include diversity days and team building exercise (such as outdoor adventure camp). But with AI being more and more integrated into our lives, companies such as Limade and ZeroIn have created programs which aim to keep track of these feelings.
Limeade specialises in improving employee engagement. Their new program, Inclusion+, utilises an algorithm via the application of an anonymous survey across a workplace. Questions include “I feel comfortable voicing my opinions with my coworkers,” to “I have access to a mentor or sponsor who helps me navigate my organisation.” The CEO of Limade, Henry Albrecht, says that “an overall inclusion score gives managers and executives a high-level summary of how included employees feel”. From the algorithms created, the Inclusion+ then suggests particular programs that the business can implement. These programs are tailor-made to fit the survey results, business culture and organisational goals.
However, the question must be asked, as to whether these AI methods of inclusion are entirely practical when working with real human emotions. Although the program aims to measure sentiment and emotion, it can be noted that it may not be able to accommodate for outside factors affecting employees. For example, employees dealing with mental health issues, grief and other hardships. Thus I leave you to question whether it is feasible for AI to take over workplace inclusion programs, or should human emotions and sentiment, be left as an entirely human issue?