AI in the Service of Employee Well-Being

As business leaders grapple with challenges driven by the upheavals of recent years, a growing recognition of the strategic importance of employee well-being has emerged. It’s hard to deliver consistent results without motivated, well-supported employees, so an intentional effort to cultivate their well-being must be a priority. Ensuring the functional and personal support workers need is not just the correct ethical approach to running a business; it’s actually the bedrock upon which consistent customer satisfaction and business performance are built.

Using Technology to Support Workers – Not Replace Them

At the same time the surge in artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities has inspired both optimism and trepidation among technology industry leaders. AI promises to amplify productivity, particularly in tasks that involve data processing, forecasting, summarization, and calculations. However, this increased productivity also raises concerns about job displacement.

Historically, technological transformations have often led to widespread disruptions and uncertainties about the future of work. The rise of automation in the auto industry a century ago, for example, spelled the end of many jobs related to horse-powered transportation. Yet, it also ushered in many new and often more rewarding occupations.

AI is poised to have a similar effect today, reshaping the labor market in unexpected ways. While it may displace certain roles, it will create new opportunities for many others. Research has shown that automation, including AI, can drive business growth and efficiency, and if we use it wisely, it can also have a positive impact on worker satisfaction and well-being.

One common challenge in business is the tension between meeting employee needs and achieving performance and profitability objectives. AI has the potential to bridge this gap by turbocharging some roles, eliminating others, and transforming the way we work as a whole. It can make it easier to run a productive and profitable business while simultaneously ensuring that employees get the support they need to stay motivated and satisfied.

Putting Employees First

Traditionally, the business world has prioritized the interests of shareholders and customers over those of employees, and that has sometimes resulted in an adversarial relationship between management and workers. But today, many forward-thinking leaders are recognizing the benefits of valuing and respecting employees.

Consider the case of customer service agents, who serve as the primary interface between businesses and their customers. The ability to consistently provide exceptional customer service is vital across various sectors, including retail, healthcare, banking, insurance, and government. However, delivering satisfaction becomes a daunting task when call center agents are overwhelmed and stressed. Complex internal processes, rigid time constraints, and demanding customers combine to generate immense pressure, often leading to burnout and attrition.

Fortunately, the rising awareness of the strategic importance of employee well-being has coincided with rapid advances in AI technology, which can address many of the challenges faced by contact center agents. AI can automate repetitive tasks and act as a responsive assistant to agents dealing with complex customer service issues, freeing them to focus on the more human and rewarding part of their job—e.g., helping people.

Contact centers generate vast amounts of data, making them ideal candidates for AI’s data-centric problem-solving approach. AI can process vast volumes of data, identify patterns, and predict optimal solutions to customer service challenges, including employee burnout and attrition.

Many agents suffer quietly under relentless time pressure and insufficient support until they eventually quit. Most supervisors are already stretched thin, making it challenging to identify agents on the verge of leaving. But AI can provide supervisors with insights derived from internal data—such as more frequent absences or decreased productivity—to identify at-risk agents and address their issues before attrition sets in. This capability is especially crucial today, as remote work can exacerbate feelings of isolation when problems arise.

Integrating AI into a company’s workflow is both a technological and cultural challenge. When employees are uninformed about an organization’s AI plans, fears and suspicions can spread, hindering acceptance and adoption. In all cases, successful integration will require transparency.

Business leaders must be open about their AI knowledge, its compatibility with operations, what they hope to achieve with AI, and how they intend to use it. Employees have the right to understand how AI will affect their work lives, and company leaders should define and explain their AI plans clearly. Involving employees in AI-driven projects and seeking their input can alleviate fears and foster acceptance.

Balancing Business Performance and Employee Well-Being

Technology companies are on the brink of a profound transformation where AI and employee well-being converge to create a new era. Embracing a people-centric approach and harnessing AI capabilities will result in a healthy, dedicated workforce that drives customer satisfaction and overall business success.

the message for technology company leaders is clear: prioritizing employee well-being and integrating AI into your business strategy is not just a moral imperative, it’s also a strategic one. By doing so, you can lead your organization towards a future where success is not just measured in profits, but also in the well-being and satisfaction of your most valuable asset—your employees. Embrace this transformative journey, and your company will be poised for success in the ever-changing technology landscape.

Guest post written by Intradiem.

To learn more about Intradiem visit intradiem.com.

Intradiem will be joining us at Customer Response Summit (CRS) in Tucson, March 12-15, 2024. Learn more about CRS Tucson here.