AI helped promote a developer to technology director

Jonathan Anthony
Oct 15, 2017 · 2 min read

Since I have far too many recruitment consultants in my connections list, I am going to call this employee Bill (his real name rhymes so anyone who knows us will know who I mean). Bill is very modest and utterly charming, his team adore him and his academic accomplishments include a First Place in his State Level Mathematics rankings in 2000. If he turned his mind to it he could hire his services out to the highest bidder and live a life most can only dream of. Instead he chose to join a small startup in Pondicherry and work on projects that make a difference to the world such as the World Health Organisation Global Outbreak and Response Network.

We use an employee monitoring platform https://knowyourday.ai as part of our flexible working program. KnowYourDay uses AI to categorise staff and help improve effective working habits. Typically the system can place staff with 90% + accuracy, but when the system fails to understand a user’s activity, it is a sign that something is wrong and intervention is needed. When the KnowYourDay looked at Bill, he did not fit the expected developer profile which raised eyebrows.

There are many reasons why someone might not classify correctly, for example if an analyst like Edward Snowden started to be classified as a dev-ops backup operator it certainly might warrant further investigation. Someone might classify differently because they are struggling or maybe they are not being well managed.

With Bill there was never any question of anything untoward, and no questions about his skill level or coding quality. The only question was why the Neural Network thought he was different to the other developers.

The results of the deeper analysis revolutionised the entire development process for the company. It turned out Bill did not match the other developers because Bill was actively using the software he worked on as part of his test regime. The topic was brought up at the monthly senior management meeting and the conclusion was other developers needed to work more like Bill than the other way around. The change in approach led to a significant increase in productivity and coding standards.

Within six months the rest of the team were more closely matching Bill’s profile, whilst Bill himself has been promoted to Company Director, where he now heads up a cyber security interface project.

It is possible Bill may never have raised his own hand to seek a promotion given his modest unassuming nature. In his case an AI package spotted he was different and helped him gain a well deserved promotion.

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