Data gathered from wearables enables employers to advise workers how to adjust their workplace behavior to improve their well-being and performance.

Organizations throughout the world are deploying intelligent machines to improve the efficiency and productivity of their workers. Many are using these smart computer systems to promote greater innovation and collaboration among their employees.

Few organizations, however, realize that intelligent machines can enhance the emotional and social well-being of their workers. High emotional intelligence, displayed in strong social skills, empathy and self-awareness, is a common indicator of top performing employees.

Smart watches, headbands and rings, can detect physiological data, such as heart rate, skin temperature and brain waves, which accurately indicate a person’s emotional state. This information, when tracked and analyzed by intelligent machines, enables employers to advise workers how to adjust their workplace behavior to improve their well-being and performance. Such insights are going to be essential for intelligent enterprises that blend the skills of their workers with the strengths of intelligent machines.

Clearly, privacy is a big issue. Our research shows that 76 percent of employees are wary that employers will use technology to track them. And 45 percent of business leaders say privacy is one of their major concerns about digital transformation. Employers need to address these concerns.

Experience in monitored workplaces, such as logistics facilities and call centers, provides some guidelines. Obtaining explicit and informed consent from employees is a common approach in these environments. An alternative is analyzing data at an aggregate level rather than zooming in on individuals. It’s important that organizations cultivate trust among their workers. They should respect and protect data gathered from employees with the same rigor they apply to customer information.

The combination of smart devices and intelligent machines gives employers a host of opportunities to enhance their workforce performance.

Communication feedback: Real-time feedback tools highlight positive and negative words and phrases used in employee conversations. They can be used to encourage employees to be more positive in their communication with colleagues and customers. Advanced systems can prompt employees with suggested responses to requests or queries that will build empathy and social cohesion.

Workforce analytics: Big volumes of data gathered from employees can be assessed by analytics systems to predict the performance of workers. Employers can use this information to identify the best combinations of workers for specific teams, shifts or projects. They can also use it to select the most suitable leaders.

Coaching support: Managers’ coaching skills can be assessed and enhanced by monitoring the emotional responses of the employees they are directing. Body posture, facial expressions, physiology and verbal communications can all be tracked and analyzed using smart sensors and analytics systems.

For further information about the impact of intelligent machines on the workforce, have a look at these links. They contain plenty of useful insights.

IQ plus EQ: How technology will unlock the emotional intelligence of the workforce of the future.

Judgment calls: Preparing leaders to thrive in the age of intelligent machines.

The promise of artificial intelligence: Redefining management in the workforce of the future.

A machine in the C-suite.

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