The Growing Need For On Demand Business Metrics Using Natural Language AI in the Workplace

Dr Jeremy Nunn
5 min readApr 19, 2018

Modern day workplaces have become complex hubs of information, intersecting workflows and diverse technologies. Making sense out of this almost limitless flux of data can be a challenge, not only for employees themselves, but their supervisors and managers as well. Still, the business sections which are most hit by the necessity to make sense out of this increasing complexity are human resources departments, which are often faced with the pressing need to reform themselves almost overnight, in line with the demands of 21st century business. Yet can the technology, which many of them shun, actually help them make strides in this segment? Yes, the tech called natural language AI can be just the natural (if synthetic) ally they’ve been looking for all these years.

Establishing Order from Chaos the AI Way

Managing contractors, employees and visitors in the workplace can be a daunting challenge for company executives, HR managers and other operational level department heads. These segments of business are literally brimming with information which are often contradictory, obsolete and in dire need of an (in)human intelligence which would make sense of them. Even if armed with the best intentions, HR managers cannot survive this battle alone, which is compounded by the fact that HR departments are not exactly among the avant-garde when it comes to adopting new technologies.

Yet, they will do well to make a foray into the technological unknown and consider what AI can offer in terms of acting as a tool to extract value from seemingly shapeless mass of data. First of all, workplaces are homes to countless systems which the HR employees need to log into to extract actionable data. This physical act alone can be time-consuming, as these systems are often divided into disparate and disconnected sub-systems. To make things worse, these systems can be physically located at remote locations and searching & checking information contained in them on relevant groups (employees, contractors, visitors) can significantly slow down the workflow. For all of these reasons, our day and age is the perfect occasion for the natural language-powered AI to take central stage in delivering sensible business metrics for the benefit of HR and other departments.

Synthetic and Tireless Data Analyst

After years of development, natural language processing (NLP) is finally at the stage when it can help AI understand the intricacies of human language beyond the level of mere groupings of words. With its ability to comprehend larger context, HR employees can use their own “natural” language to communicate with the AI system and use its virtually limitless resources in delivery of on-demand business metrics that can make their job significantly easier.

For starters, with AI, they get a single tool acting as a one-stop shop at workplaces which abound in excess tools themselves. Even remembering how to log into these disparate systems can be a struggle with so many different tools. Why not have the AI do it for you, by giving it a voice command, not unlike what the ship captains do on the SF TV shows of old? Let’s imagine that you need quick & fast facts, data and metrics on the workforce you need to manage. Engaging in this sort of employee analytics would take even data specialists several days. Yet, it’s a piece of cake task for AI which only needs a vocal input for you to get cracking.

Yes, no matter how complex these information can be, AI will be able to sort out and analyze them without the need for specialist data analyst training. You can segment your search for data based on various criteria, be it a specific worker’s productivity, time and attendance or professional development of personnel at the level of a particular department.

AI Won’t Replace HR, but Rather Help It

Take, for example, what eBay did with its natural language-powered AI which was able to perform an analytical task in assessing the level of adoption of corporate culture among the company’s employees. Once the teamwork of human employees and machine got the job done, it was the company’s HR department and the top brass that could easily identify areas for improvement in this segment.

In effect, this illustrates needs to dispel fears regarding the future of HR departments which is supposedly endangered by the rise of the AI. Once the technology performs analysis and collating of data, it is still its managers that have the final say in the decision making. Yes, the AI cannot and will not replace the HR management in this segment and these scenarios can be safely left in the domain of speculative fiction.

Machine Learning for Informed Decision Making

Yet, using natural language in dealing with AI can superficially resemble what was considered “fiction” back in the day, in the sense that AI has the ability to use your natural language to self-improve.

Thanks to its deep learning capacity, it will be able to help companies and departments develop suggestion-based models which can utilize previously entered questions and queries about the workforce and its performance. Creating comprehensive insight into what is going on with a company’s human resources is made possible by utilizing varied system data courses.

Smart and quick decision-making in this field requires access to centralized data which the AI uses to create analytical models on, for example, employees’ productivity across departments. The same can be done for metrics related to absenteeism, tracking career choices and handling of compensation and benefits issues. For example, machine learning can greatly help AI determine patters in terms of productivity, such as the excessive scheduling of meetings which can hamper the work output. Based on this, it is easier to establish the guidelines on the frequency of meetings.

Speaking with One Voice

Finally, using AI to deliver actionable business metrics has yet another benefit stemming from the use of natural language itself: just as it namesake, this type of communication actually feels “natural” for HR and other department head managers. This is achieved precisely through the use of language which, in its essence, is not unlike what these managers do with voice assistants in their homes. As no special software or other infrastructure is needed to achieve this, the managers can ask their AI-powered virtual assistant any question on the fly, via email or SMS. Unlike a team of human employees who may speak in discordant voices or are unavailable just when they are needed the most, AI will give you just the answers you need, without going into the uncanny valley territory, and actually make you feel like you are speaking to one of your flesh and blood colleagues.


Workplaces around the globe are becoming increasingly complex units of organization which generate terabytes of data with huge potential to be turned into actionable business metrics. This is particularly true for HR departments that are always summoned to establish order from chaos and facilitate decision-making at the corporate level.

AI technology empowered by natural language processing capabilities is quickly establishing itself as their single best ally for turning the data mess into valuable nuggets of insights about all parameters that define the modern-day workplace. With the help of intuitive use of natural language as an input, AI can utilize machine learning to determine patterns of productivity, adoption of corporate practices, time and attendance and other workforce-related parameters, and submit these for approval by HR and company managers, thus making their job significantly easier in the process.