Apr 9, 2024

AI HR technologies for employee engagement

The future of HR: how AI redefines employee engagement

Share this article

Employee engagement is a hot topic right now. And rightfully so. It has taken a hard hit during the last years with worldwide resignations, mass layoffs, and quiet quitting. Based on this Gallup report , we’re experiencing the lowest ratio of engaged to actively disengaged U.S. employees since 2013. Why? Starting in early 2020, employees faced a rollercoaster of changes — from sudden office closures to navigating the challenges of remote work in isolation, to a gradual return to an office environment very different from what they once knew. Stress, uneasiness and loneliness are just a few of the emotions employees are experiencing.

As a result, employees began to “check out” at an alarming rate: out of the organizations surveyed by WorkTango and HR.com , only 11% say that the majority (81% to 100%) of their workforce is well engaged. And two-fifths admit that employee engagement has been lower over the last year. While employees continue to fulfill their job responsibilities, they are not going above and beyond like engaged individuals. Simply put, they were clocking in their hours, but not investing their energy or passion. And that’s not laziness as one might say. Rather, it is a response to the pervasive feelings of undervaluation and unappreciation in the workplace.

And this response costs a lot: employee disengagement costs the U.S. economy $450-550 billion every year . That’s partly because employees’ lack of motivation and lower sense of responsibility results in lower productivity, errors in work, missed deadlines, poor customer service, and lower profits. A single disengaged employee can cost a company about $3,400 in lost productivity for every $10,000 in salary. It’s also because many disengaged employees quit their jobs at some point, leaving the employer to reinvest in hiring, onboarding, and training. Many of them even spread negativity through word of mouth, harming an organization’s chances of attracting quality hires.

As companies strive to create an environment that fosters employee engagement and fulfillment, the integration of Artificial Intelligence can be a game-changer. In this blog post, we'll delve into how AI technologies can be used by HR to create and adopt practices that positively impact employee engagement, ultimately enhancing overall workplace satisfaction.

What is employee engagement and why it’s important?

Employee engagement embodies the commitment, extra effort, passion, and zeal that employees have for their work and their company. It reflects a deep connection that motivates them. Engaged employees show a drive to excel, derive satisfaction from their contributions, and foster a deep sense of loyalty towards their employer. They are wholeheartedly dedicated to their job, actively contribute to company success, and are willing to go above and beyond what is expected of them. They don’t just show up for work and perform their job, they invest personally in it and genuinely care about performing well within the organization.

Employee engagement is crucial for creating a positive and productive work environment, leading to good organizational performance. It significantly impacts business success, including increased productivity, higher retention rates, lower turnover, decreased burnout and higher profitability. According to a , 71% of executives verify that employee engagement is a huge contributor to organizational success:

  • Increased productivity: Engaged workers are more likely to be motivated, productive, and committed to their work. They also collaborate better, share ideas and knowledge, and take ownership of their work, resulting in higher quality work.
  • Higher retention rates: According to the Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology at Work, an engaged employee is 87% less likely to leave the company. This reduces employee turnover costs.
  • Increased revenue: Research by Gallup concluded that highly engaged employees contribute to 21% higher profitability (think about increased productivity and lower turnover). This is also in part due to higher customer loyalty: Gallup also found that improving employee engagement also leads to a 10% rise in customer ratings and a 20% rise in sales. Engaged employees are more likely to provide exceptional customer service and create a positive customer experience.
  • Reduced absenteeism: Engaged employees are more likely to feel connected to their job and their company, resulting in stronger commitment to attendance and higher accountability. Research by Gallup shows that when employee engagement is high, companies experience a 41% reduction in absenteeism.
  • Decreased burnout: Employees who exhibit lower levels of engagement are more prone to experiencing heightened levels of stress. This stress, in turn, harms their engagement, establishing a self-perpetuating cycle that can be challenging to disrupt.

However, fostering employee engagement requires more than just financial incentives or perks. It involves creating a culture that values and respects individuals, provides meaningful work, encourages open communication, and supports professional development. By investing in employee engagement, companies can unlock the full potential of their workforce and achieve long-term success.

What drives employee engagement?

Employees need more than a fleeting warm-fuzzy feeling and a decent salary (even if it helps them respond positively to employee engagement survey questions) to truly engage and excel in their roles.

People want purpose and meaning from their work. They want to be known for what makes them unique. This is what drives employee engagement: meaningful work. This involves aligning an individual's skills and passions with their job responsibilities, enabling them to see the direct impact of their contributions on the organization's goals. Recognizing talented and high-performing employees, and their big and small accomplishments, is also essential for employee engagement.

And they want relationships, particularly with a manager who can coach them to the next level. This is who drives employee engagement: a manager who gives them autonomy, empowers them, has a solid plan to help them develop professionally and provides them with a robust feedback loop.

So how can AI be used by HR to positively affect these employee engagement drivers?

Using AI to boost employee engagement

The first step to enhancing employee engagement is for leaders to understand the current status. AI tools can delve into employee data to discern individual needs and preferences. AI algorithms analyze sentiments and behavior patterns, unveiling the factors that drive engagement and those that hinder it. With this newfound insight, HR professionals can tailor employee experiences, creating a workplace where individuals feel valued and heard.

Let’s see how they can use AI to reshape their practices in the main areas that drive and boost employee engagement.

Meaningful work

  • Aligning skills and passions to job responsibilities: This starts at the recruiting stage and sets the right tone from the start. AI algorithms can analyze job requirements, candidate profiles and interests, and conduct personality evaluation based on various data points such as resumes, social media activity, and online assessments. They can then suggest candidates whose skills, preferences and passions closely align with the job responsibilities, increasing the probability of high employee engagement. While on the job, the same AI tools can be used to suggest the right fit when thinking about promotions and cross-company moves, ensuring better alignment between employee “wants” and company needs.
  • Removing unnecessary tasks with automation: Unnecessary tasks not only impede efficiency and profit but are also frustrating for employees. Mundane routine tasks and extra steps prompt employees to switch on cruise control, which essentially means they’re not engaging with their work. For example, if an IT helpdesk agent must log every minor change made to a ticket, they’ll probably spend twice as long on resolving it while being half as invested – and wasting precious time that could be dedicated to the actual issue resolution. Automating the process — in this case, with an AI helpdesk that offers smart ticketing, automated tracking and status updates — allows the helpdesk agent to focus on what has a real impact: resolving the request.


  • Performance analytics: AI can analyze performance data to identify trends, patterns, and areas of excellence within the company. This insight can inform strategic recognition initiatives and help leaders identify high-performing teams or individuals deserving of special recognition.
  • Regular recognition and achievements celebration: AI can automate the administration of recognition programs by tracking and analyzing employee achievements, milestones, or positive contributions. This automation empowers leaders to acknowledge achievements regularly rather than quarterly or yearly. Regular celebrations demonstrate that employee contributions are pivotal, nurturing a positive and engaged workforce.
  • Offering personalized rewards: AI can help tailor benefits and recognition initiatives to match employees’ preferences, communication styles, and cultural backgrounds. This ensures that recognition efforts resonate with each employee, increasing their effectiveness. The result is a workforce that feels cherished and inspired, igniting a blaze of enthusiasm that fuels productivity.


  • Effortless and autonomous issue resolution: Chatbots integrated in the company’s chat platform can offer automated resolution to common employee issues, such as password resets, and instant approvals for access requests, time-off and much more. By having their issues instantly and autonomously resolved, employees can get back to work immediately and be more productive. They also feel less stressed and frustrated, increasing their satisfaction and desire to remain in the company.
  • Easy access to company resources: AI helpdesks serve as knowledge hubs offering instant responses to employee queries regarding things that matter to them: how-to info, IT troubleshooting, HR policies, benefits, and procedures. This enables them to perform their work autonomously without having to constantly rely on others for answers.
  • Flexible work arrangements: AI can optimize scheduling and resource allocation to accommodate flexible work arrangements such as remote work, flexible hours, or job sharing. By leveraging AI-powered scheduling tools, employees have more autonomy to manage their work schedules and achieve a better work-life balance.

Professional growth

  • Curated learning plans: AI helpdesks can offer personalized recommendations for employee development and learning opportunities based on individual skillsets, career aspirations, and performance evaluations. AI curates relevant content and training resources, ensuring that employees are equipped to conquer any challenge that comes their way. This promotes continuous learning and growth within the company and makes employees happier and more engaged.
  • Crafting personalized employee journeys: AI-powered platforms analyze the employees’ skills, interests and performance, and match them with the most suitable career paths, roles, or opportunities within the company, greatly enhancing their engagement. AI-driven career development can also use data visualization, gamification, or storytelling to help employees explore and visualize their career options, scenarios, and outcomes.


  • Real-time feedback and assessment: AI-powered assessment tools can provide real-time feedback on employee performance, giving them timely insights and constructive critiques. They can identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This feedback can be used to personalize learning experiences, target skill development efforts, and track progress over time. This fosters a sense of ownership and accountability, empowering individuals to take control of their development and reach new heights of excellence.

The transformative power of AI

Mastering employee engagement nowadays is paramount. Employees who feel that their work is purposeful and that they are appreciated will be more engaged than those who don't, driving business success. Companies and HR teams that understand that AI can have a huge, positive effect on employee engagement, and adopt AI-powered technologies will have a great advantage. By better matching employee interests and passions to roles, responsibilities and projects, automating boring, non-impactful tasks, regularly recognizing good performers and crafting personalized employee journeys and rewards, AI transforms employee engagement. The possibilities for an engaged and inspired workforce are infinite!