IBM AI can Predict with 95% Accuracy Which Workers Are About To Quit Their Jobs
IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty at the Work Talent + HR Summit on Tuesday in New York City has said the technology giant has a predictive attrition program which enables it to predict employees behaviors regarding their attitude towards their jobs. She added that the company receives more than 8,000 resumes a day, making it No. 1 on job-search site Glassdoor for Gen Z applicants
The tech giant, which employs roughly 350,000 workers, knows who in the workforce is currently searching for a new position. IBM artificial intelligence technology is now 95 percent accurate in predicting workers who are planning to leave their jobs, said Rometty.
During Rometty’s seven-year tenure as CEO, IBM has been improving its AI work devoted to the retention of its employees.
“The best time to get to an employee is before they go,” she said.
IBM HR has a patent for its “predictive attrition program” which was developed with Watson to predict employee flight risk and prescribe actions for managers to engage employees. Rometty would not explain “the secret sauce” that allowed the AI to work so effectively in identifying workers about to jump (officially, IBM said the predictions are now in the 95 percent accuracy “range”). Rometty would only say that its success comes through analyzing many data points.
“It took time to convince company management it was accurate,” Rometty said, but the AI has so far saved IBM nearly $300 million in retention costs, she claimed.
The AI retention tool is part of a suite of IBM products that are designed to upend the traditional approach to human resources management. Rometty described the classic human resources model as needing an overhaul, and said it is one of the professions where humans need AI to improve the work.
Rometty said that since IBM implemented technology more widely including cloud services and other modernization, the tech giant has reduced the size of its global human resources department by 30 percent. But she added that the remaining positions are higher pay and able to perform higher-value work.
“You have to put AI through everything you do,” she said.
A Clearer Career Path Is Needed For Many
Among the tasks that HR departments and corporate managers have not always proved effective at, and where AI will play a bigger role in the future, is keeping employees on a clear career path and identifying their skills.
Rometty said being transparent with individual employees about their career path is an issue in which many companies still fail. And it is going to become more critical. “I expect AI will change 100 percent of jobs in the next five to 10 years,” the IBM CEO said.
Being transparent with employees means being honest about the skills that are needed, especially when the workers don’t possess them. IBM managers talk to employees about market skills that are scarce or abundant.
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“If you have a skill that is not needed for the future and is abundant in the market and does not fit a strategy my company needs, you are not in a good square to stay inside of,” Rometty said. “I really believe in being transparent about where skills are.”
By better understanding data patterns and adjacent skills, IBM AI can zero in on an individual’s strengths. In turn, this can enable a manager to direct an employee to future opportunities they may not have seen using traditional methods. “We found manager surveys were not accurate,” Rometty said, referring to formal skills assessments. “Managers are subjective in ratings. We can infer and be more accurate from data.”
IBM technology can view the tasks employees are completing, the educational courses they have taken and any rankings they have earned. Through these data points, the AI skills inference and HR managers can gain a greater understanding of an employee’s skill set than they would by assessing the feedback from manager surveys.
IBM also abandoned another staple of classic HR: the annual performance review, a move Rometty said she resisted at first, but persistent HR leaders proved to her was necessary. The company assesses employees on their skills growth as part of their quarterly feedback check-ins with management.
“You have to know the individual. Skills are your renewable asset, and you need to treat them like that.” She said.