Faster Horses – Using AI to augment employee performance…

Most of the AI that captures the headlines is designed for process improvement, which means in some way, shape, or form doing the work of a human, just better. This is not necessarily a bad thing and doesn’t always lead to headcount reduction…

Take fraud prevention.  Artificial Intelligent systems can easily and accurately process millions of transactions every day and learn from the results as it does so – way beyond the capability of an army of employees.  Done right, customers get a better experience and the firm that deploys it gets a better outcome.

And because there are always marginal cases that need human intervention, valuable and experienced employees aren’t thrown on the scrap heap.  In fact, they probably have more interesting and challenging work as a result, because they don’t have to filter the dross; this having been done for them by the AI.

The fact that macro cost of fraud prevention has in effect risen in the above scenario, is, unfortunately a cost of doing business in a financial sector where criminals never stop seeking ways to breach lenders defences.

Whilst the cyber war quietly rages between criminal and the FinServ sector, and with increasingly sophisticated technology being continually developed, the employee is still, largely the same employee.  The hands on the keyboard are the same hands as 10-years ago and consider just how much has changed in the last decade.

The sheer complexity of the workplace has increased almost exponentially over the last 10 years, but what has been done to assist employees to ensure they keep pace?  Whilst firms bemoan the “Skills Shortage”, little is being done to help the rank and file adapt and keep up.

Pretending that employees will “Google the answer” on some internal search engine is, I think, akin to expecting my 15-year-old twin boys and their peers to spend all their free time in the school library, (which of course has 100% of the answers to all the exam questions they face in the coming 6-months).  It’s a good plan …. But … boys will be boys and we all know it’s never going to happen!

And so, it seems employees will be employees.

AI comes in many genres and depending on who you listen to, there are now 5 recognised genres.  We deal in AI that augments the performance of the employee.  I’m not talking about Elon Musk and his Nuralink, which personally I think is the scariest thing I have seen since sneaking into a cinema as an underage kid to watch Jaws!

I’m talking about AI that gently and respectfully helps and supports employees to be the best they can be.  A bit like the fraud prevention AI, it filters out the dross and focusses only on what the individual does and does not know.  It then works like a virtual coach to help the employee develop the capability and competencies each one needs to excel in their role.

Research conducted by the team at Elephants Don’t Forget last year (based on over 70 million individual interventions with employees of some of the biggest organisations within the Financial Services sector) suggests that the average level of employer-required knowledge was just 54% before utilising AI – this increased to, on average, a staggering 73% within the first 90 days of utilising AI and c.92% after continuous use – which in turn produced a raft of employee performance improvements.

Best of all, it rarely takes more than 1 minute 30 seconds of an employees’ working day, so BAU is unaffected – in fact, it is improved.  This is because once the AI has identified and repaired the individual competency gaps of the employee base, it can be directed to resolve any number of troublesome under-performing KPIs that are employee related.

Faster Horses…

“Faster horses” was what the population demanded, and Henry Ford gave them the motor car.  AI that does the work of humans, but better, is awesome.  But, whilst humans are in the driving seat, AI that can optimise employee performance in general and specific terms is …. priceless.

To learn more about how your firm can utilise the most effective traditional training methods, whilst harnessing the power of AI – read our summary of John Dunlosky’s (Kent State University, USA, Professor of Psychology) 2013 paper on effective student learning and how it can be adopted in a corporate environment here.

Adrian Harvey

Elephants Don’t Forget

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