Friday, March 3rd 2023

How to Measure Morale with AI

best employee engagement survey software

What is Morale and Why Measure It? 

Morale can be defined as the overall attitude and outlook of an individual towards their work and the organization they work for. It encompasses emotions such as motivation, satisfaction, and commitment, and can be influenced by factors such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, and leadership.

Employee morale is important to companies because it is closely linked to employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. High morale can lead to increased productivity, better customer service, and a more positive company culture. 

As organizations have grown larger, more dispersed and incredibly diverse, it has become difficult for HR professionals to use the soft skills of observation and interaction to coax out an understanding of organizational morale. The task has grown too complex and HR teams have turned to new ways to measure morale.

Measuring Morale the Old Way

HR teams normally use three methods to measure employee morale including surveys, interviews and retention metrics. 

Surveys are a popular method for measuring morale as they can be easily distributed to a large number of employees. While surveys can be valuable, the limitation they have in measuring morale is that they are not continuous, automatic or real time in nature and so provide only a momentary snapshot of self reported morale at that very specific time when the survey was taken.

Focus Groups and One on One interviews allow for more in depth analysis as moderators can dig in and follow up on questions based on individual responses. The limitation in using interviews to understand morale is that they are very labor intensive to conduct and so do not scale well in large organizations.

Employee retention metrics are often used as a clue to understand morale. These metrics measure the number of employees that leave the organization and how long they stay. Since these statistics are influenced by morale, they can be used as hints to understand it, but since other factors including pay, benefits and opportunity for growth affect retention, it is not a perfect measurement method.

Measuring Morale with AI

So how can we get back to a world where we use observation and interaction to understand morale despite the challenges of working in large dispersed and diverse organizations? The answer is AI, and specifically, a technique called natural language processing (NLP). 

NLP deals with the interaction between computers and human language. With the increasing use of text-based communication, it has become crucial to understand the emotions, sentiment, tone, and engagement of people. NLP has proven to be an excellent tool for measuring these factors in text-based communication. We spend a significant amount of time at work communicating with each other with text, and by using NLP to analyze our communications, we can get an accurate understanding of the morale of an organization.

An important part of morale is understanding sentiment. Sentiment analysis is a technique that uses NLP algorithms to determine the emotional tone of a piece of text, whether it is positive, negative, or neutral. 

NLP can also be used to measure the emotion expressed in text as well. This can be accomplished by the identification of specific emotional keywords and phrases which helps us to understand if people are experiencing joy, anger, fear, sadness or surprise.

Tone analysis is another application of NLP that can be used to understand text. Is someone critical, supportive, optimistic, or pessimistic? Using NLP we can tell.

Finally, NLP can be used to measure engagement among employees. This can be accomplished through the use of algorithms that identify the frequency and type of user interactions.

AI Based Morale Measurement 

Morale may seem like it is difficult to measure, but by breaking it down into subcomponents like sentiment, emotions, tone, and engagement, we can use NLP to measure these pieces in our communications. How do we take all of these pieces and put them together to understand morale in a simple and easy way? New products like TruPulse have come to market to do just that. The black art of measuring morale is quickly turning into the established science of understanding conversations. By utilizing the latest sets of AI tools, companies can get an automatic, continuous and real-time understanding of employee morale.

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