AI takes aim at employee turnover

Employees are quitting jobs at record rates and companies are having a hard time luring them back. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that employees are now frequently working from home, making it harder for managers to identify employees who are unhappy. Plus, getting new hires up to speed is more challenging when they can’t attend in-person training sessions or shadow experienced employees. To solve all these issues, companies are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence. But there’s a limit to how much AI can do. The “Great Resignation” has been no exaggeration. The number of people quitting their jobs has been unprecedented throughout the pandemic, hitting a record high of 48 million people in 2020, up from 42 million in 2019, which was the previous record high. Unsustainable work performance expectations, a lack of career development and advancement potential, and a lack of meaningful work are among the top reasons motivating employees to move on, according to a March McKinsey survey, with inadequate compensation further down on the list, in sixth place. The No. 1 reason why people quit their jobs? Uncaring leaders. The problem is that it can be hard to notice that employees are struggling when they’re suddenly all working remotely. “I’m an old-school person and I do believe that there’s no substitute for managing by walking around,” says Bill Nowacki, decision science lead at KPMG. “I don’t think there’s a substitute for good managers knowing that your daughter had a soccer match last week.” But employers big and small have had to adapt, he says, and some are finding that remote and hybrid work offers significant advantages. “This work from home thing is pretty cool and they’re going to embrace it,” he says. “But we will, then, by definition, take away the ability to manage by working around. When I have a team scattered all over the world, I really can’t intimately understand their comings and goings or whether they’re tired or not.” 

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