Blending Human and Machine to Deliver the Best Survey Results  

by Ethan Salk

How Energage Learned to Stop Worrying and Embraced Artificial Intelligence

While our nation debates the role artificial intelligence (AI) will play in making many administrative jobs obsolete, Energage is vested in building AI capabilities into our CultureTech platform.

But the decision didn’t come without much debate over the value of human analysis vs. smart algorithms. Are we building ourselves out of a job?  We don’t believe so, and here’s why.

We see tremendous opportunity in rethinking how we blend human and machine to get the best of both “brains.”  Data-based decisions are faster and less open to bias. In other words, AI won’t replace humans. Instead, it will make those willing to leverage it faster and smarter.

 

First, a quick definition of AI

Many pundits are quick to point out that the term ‘AI’ is grossly misused. The typical definition, based on the 1950’s Turing test, states an interaction with artificial intelligence should be indistinguishable from a similar interaction with a human being.

So, imagine you are presented with two reports. One was prepared by a human consultant and the other produced entirely by our automated survey analysis. If you’re unable to tell which one came from the human, then the AI is effective. Right?

Both the beauty and the challenge of what we do is in shedding light on human behavior, motivation, and inspiration. Can a computer really help us to understand these better?

 

The human touch

While a computer does a great job of analyzing data, it takes conversation to peel back the numbers and figure out what’s below the surface. This is where the full context of the organization comes into play.

Our consultants work in partnership with our technology team to improve the value our survey tool provides to you. The technology team also works to improve the tools we use to ensure every facet of your data is considered before making final recommendations you can trust. This allows us to invest more time in exploration and guidance, and less time crunching data.

 

The challenge of working with open-ended employee comments

Survey math is a tricky field. There are lots of assumptions that have to be made that influence the decisions made on the backend. Luckily, this is an area where Energage has deep expertise.

But analyzing write-in comments is a trickier proposition and a time-consuming endeavor.  Much of the richness of survey feedback is found in the open-ended comments. And at the same time, a lot of advanced work has been done in the area of “sentiment analysis,” or the ability of a computer to accurately infer whether the context of a written comment is positive or negative.

At Energage, we’ve developed proprietary ways of analyzing employee comments that look at the broader context of the survey results to highlight meaningful comments and park those that are less informative. When you’re trying to digest thousands of comments, the ability to trust a computer program to do this reliably and effectively is a major time-saver. It also allows us to do some pretty smart things with written comments and adds a human dimension to dry numbers.

 

Embracing a blend of human and artificial intelligence

We have confidence in AI. It’s a tremendous tool for saving you time in the analysis of survey data. It’s reliable at ensuring our recommendations are based on a comprehensive exploration of all possible cross-sections of data – something that would be impractical using a manual approach alone.

AI gives the Energage consulting team a broader palette of options and deeper insights from which to build action steps. With it, we can ensure you get the most value, whether relying on an AI report or an expert-led consultation.

Our goal is to help your organization make better decisions faster, without losing the richness of the data you collect. And this allows you to invest more of your time exploring the improvements that will move your organization forward.

So whether you rely on Energage to turn your survey data into insights, or rely on our experts to provide objective recommendations, be assured artificial intelligence is on your side.

Learn more about Energage Survey.