Talent Retention Using Artificial Intelligence


Though attrition, at a moderate rate, maybe healthy as it may allow injecting fresh blood into the organization, reduce staff cost and rebuild the culture, beyond a point it is a costly problem for it drains the organization of its cream. For every position left vacant, the time and cost associated with identifying, acquiring, and training the right person can lessen a business’s impact on what’s truly critical to its survival – revenue growth. In a competitive hiring marketplace, organizations cannot afford high attrition, especially when it comes to their top talent. These employees are hard to replace, employers lose team members with essential product knowledge, and productivity is disrupted. This calls for the development of a retention strategy that leverages the latest technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“The key to effective use of AI for retention is combining big data and machine learning with the human touch. Any company that decides to use AI to better retain and develop their workforce should ensure they have an HR team that understands the balance between relying on technology and the inherent nuances of working with people. New applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in HR may hold a key to reducing employee turnover for good”

Here are the ways in which AI can help to improve employee retention rates.

  • AI can detect poor culture-fit at the hiring stage. Often, a candidate’s personality, perspectives, and professional desires are fundamentally not aligned to the company’s culture. AI-based recruitment platforms can assess “right culture fit” as part of the recruitment process, ensuring only those candidates with a strong chance of staying with the company, in the long run, are on-boarded.
  • At the fundamental level, AI bots can be applied to automatically screen and approve attendance, leave, and work-from-home requests, giving employees greater flexibility. 
  • Employee experience journey has to be mapped with as much vigor as the customer experience journey. Measuring employee engagement throughout the year and using this as a parameter to determine potential voluntary exits in relation to engagement is a useful way to minimize attrition. AI can help organizations hear their employees’ concerns. HR teams can track satisfaction levels in their employees and address their pain points long before the first red flag appears. By examining subtle cues and relying on AI to identify shifts in employee behavior, managers can act on attrition and work one-on-one with employees who are at risk of leaving the company. This allows managers to intervene before it’s too late.
  • One common motivation for employees is achieving goals and having access to challenging work. In fact, employees say the opportunity to solve new problems and challenges is a top reason for leaving their current role. AI can be used to assess the quality of employee work performance. AI could provide managers with timely reminders for when an employee might be ready for a new challenge or if they’ve outgrown aspects of their role. Managers can also leverage AI through performance management tools to make recommendations on the next steps to train their employees. This AI assistance can help craft high-touch approaches to employee development and retain talent potentially at risk for turnover. AI can tailor data-fueled personalized learning paths and career plans and provide real-time guidance in training programs. Cutting-edge LMS software solutions and employee training tools are already relying on AI to provide personalized learning and development paths based on individual needs.

Case in Point – The IBM Story

IBM receives more than 8,000 resumes a day, making it No. 1 on job-search site Glassdoor for Gen Z applicants. But that’s not the only way the technology giant, which employs roughly 350,000 workers, knows who in the workforce is currently searching for a new position. IBM artificial intelligence technology is supposedly 95 percent accurate in predicting workers who are planning to leave their jobs.

During the last seven years, IBM has been improving its AI work devoted to the retention of its employees. IBM HR has a patent for its “predictive attrition program” which was developed to predict employee flight risk and prescribe actions for managers to engage employees. The success of the program comes through analyzing many data points. AI has saved IBM nearly $300 million in retention costs (as quoted by IBM CEO Ginny Rommetty in April 2019).


AI boasts analytical supremacy that can be used for meta-analysis as well – to help organizations identify what they are doing right and what can be improved. AI could help HR build a continuous flow of insight and learn everything about what makes people leave and what makes them stay.AI-centered HR will improve upon something many human-led HR teams can’t handle as effectively as a machine that can crunch millions of data points, recognizing the true resource potential of individuals and serving as growth engines for companies. Though AI could handle repetitive and routine tasks, for complex tasks and decision making, HR functions need to figure out how to work alongside AI and evolve a collaborative model that would result in higher levels of productivity and enhanced employee experience and lower voluntary exits.

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MMH Beg, Head-Human Resources at Bharti Foundation. He has more than two decades of rich and varied experience at both strategic and operational level in the entire gamut of HR in result oriented, growth oriented and professionally managed organizations. His expertise includes managing HR Policies & Processes, Performance Management System, Training & Development, Talent Acquisition, Compensation Management, Reward, Recognition and Employee Engagement, Employee Relations and Statutory Compliance. Prior to Bharti Foundation, he has worked with companies like Su-Kam Power, Electrolux and Apollo Tyres.


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