Which one of your employees on the screen above is more anxious than the rest?
It took exactly five minutes to download to my laptop, a zoom call to my friend and another ten minutes to ask her a pre-set of questions about her general state of mind working from home. It was that easy.
Remote recruitment and remote work are here to stay. Post Corona, many employees all over the world might feel apprehensive about going back to working in the office, be it because of their own health issues, general anxiety or a basic lack of trust that “it’s really over”.
Many are realizing that working remotely is not everyone’s cup of tea. While some employees are on the top of the moon working from home, others are definitely not. Remote work can be a struggle on different levels – technical, emotional, professional. How can HR teams and managers ensure that everyone is feeling ok and adjusting?
I met with Amir Liberman, CEO of the award-winning solution, Nemesysco, who just won 2020 People’s Choice Award from Speech Technology Magazine.
HRTechnation: So what can HR teams do to identify those employees who are struggling with remote work among the thriving ones? How can your technology help?
Amir: Our LVA technology is built in a way that the genuine emotional state of a person can be revealed. The technology does this by detecting and measuring uncontrolled psychophysiological changes to a person’s voice during open conversations. In smaller companies we can provide a one-on-one communication analysis tool that will bring the live information to the manager’s screen in real-time during each call. In bigger groups some automation is probably needed. What we suggest to these organizations is one of two solutions that we have developed with our partners. One is based on IVR to conduct “work from home surveys”. The other is a web-based tool made for daily self-report.
HRTechnation.com: Can you share the process from the beginning, step by step? Once an HR team is interested in applying this tech to monitor their employees’ emotional heath, what’s the first thing they have to do?
Amir: We try to make it as easy as possible for any HR team or manager to make use of our solutions. In smaller companies, all that is need is to download and install the system on the manager’s PC. It will connect to the local softphone automatically – Zoom, Teams, Skype and others and will present to the manager the genuine emotions the system detects in the call. When using the IVR system, managers will need to input the phone number of the employees, tune the survey’s questionnaire to meet the flavor and company’s needs, and the system will do the rest, calling each of the employees and collecting their answers. When using the web daily report system, the basic initialization process is very similar, and the manager will open an account for each employee. The employee will then receive an SMS to open his account in the system, where he will update daily about his progress and needs.
HRTechnation.com: How many calls can it monitor simultaneously?
Amir: The downloaded software in our LVA-l system for HR screening and personality assessment is made for one-on-one monitoring. The enterprise systems can monitor any number of calls as needed.
HRTechnation.com: What kind of information can you monitor?
AMIR: Our suggested surveys cover three main topics: self-management, needs and management and meeting goals. These topics will provide multiple data sets pertaining both the specific topics, and the emotional attitude towards the topic and in general. The overall goal is of course to ensure the employee is properly managing himself, both from work objectives as well as his own well-being and personal needs.
HRTechnation.com: Can every HR team determine what’s important for them to measure or is this a set suite of measurements?
Amir: Of course, we do our best to offer maximum flexibility, all within the local scope of regulations and applicable law. Examples of emotions that can be identified and measured include excitement, stress, uncertainty, anger, happiness, hesitation, embarrassment and more.
HRTechnation.com: Does the employee know that the call is being monitored?
Amir: Of course, with the automated surveys in either the IVR or web-based system, the objectives are presented and well stated. With the one-on-one system the manager should notify the employees about the use. I don’t think there is any reason not to disclose the purpose of the system, as it is really meant to provide information to the manager that will assist him to make better decisions and assist the employee when in need.
HRTechnation.com: Do they see the results as well?
Amir: This feature is automatically enabled in some systems, and in others it can be set depending on the manager’s decision.
HRTechnation.com: How do you suggest that HRs present it to the employees – the fact they are being measured for their emotional status so they agree to be measured? I mean… maybe they don’t want the HR to know that they are having issues….
Amir: I suggest to always tell the truth about the nature of the system. It is made to provide management with different sets of information pertaining the employee’s wellbeing and performance that is now not available through the normal interaction, such as personal encounters, group dynamics or follow up reports, because of the remote working situation. Surveys and daily reports are natural procedures in every organization that cares about its survival.
HRTechnation.com: Do you provide reports on the individual level / team level?
Amir: Reports can be customized per needs, but the idea is to provide the exact level of information management needs and not cross the line into one’s private matters.
HRTechnation.com: Is it GDPR compliant?
Amir: I am not a GDPR expert, but from what I know there has to be informed consent and a fair ground to collect the data needed. If both criteria are met, the system itself supports the strictest privacy needs in processing and keeping the data. As the data processor we do not collect any data or audio recording for any purpose, and the entire data is private to the entity utilizing it.
HRTechnation.com: Does it apply to all languages or is the language not important as it’s rather about measuring the “music” of what is being said?
Amir: The core technology is completely language agnostic, as it focuses only on the very subtle nuances in the voice patterns.
HRTechnation.com: How reliable is this technology? I understand it is already being used in call centers. What’s the percentage of deviation?
Amir: We learned from research that shows our ability to detect the different emotions is typically above 90%. Since we are talking about emotions, it is extremely complicated to come up with an exact “number” or exact percentage. Different research shows the ability of the core technology to pick up the emotional indicators and predict an outcome is extremely high, but it is also important to note that the accuracy is of course dependent on various factors such as clarity of the voice, external noises and personal involvement ( emotionally speaking ) with the evaluation procedure and personal intent.
HRTechnation.com: What is the business model?
Amir: We have different models with the different systems. While the one-on-one system is priced per system each month, the others are priced per call or per subscriber.
HRTechnation.com: Is it a better fit for large enterprises or can a relatively small startup with a distributed team can use this as well?
Amir: I think any manager at any level can benefit from the information we can provide. Obviously with larger organizations the data will be used and appreciated more in a statistical manner, while small businesses owners will appreciate a more in depth look.
HRTechnation.com: Tell us a bit more about you, your background and what makes you great at what you do 🙂
Amir: I’ve been studying the human voice and related psychology for the past 23 years now. I started with a very fresh mind, I literally did not know how the voice signal looks like when I started, and I was not poised with previous misconceptions about what can and cannot be detected. At that phase in my life I could take risks and so I let the actual findings, not the theory, lead me to the next step of research. As a company, we’ve seen so many different and unique recordings taken from many unique real-life scenarios that provides us with a very broad overview of the human behavior under normal and extreme conditions, which in turn translated to useful data in all the verticals we operate in today. I taught my team never to fall in love with an idea, and if the data doesn’t support the theory, it is the theory that needs to be changed, not the data…
HRTechnation.com: How fast can we start using this and who should we call...?
Amir: You can start using the one-on-one tool within fifteen minutes. It is a simple matter of the decision to get started. Only a few minutes of practice are needed to understand the readings and indications. Who should you call first? I would call a close friend. Someone you know very well. This way you can correlate the readings with what you see and know about your friend. This is really where the power of the technology is, and you will quickly see the there are several things you never picked up – and are now much clearer to you…
HRtechnation.com: Thank you!