People & Strategy Summer 2017 Vol. 40 Issue 3 - 45
happiness indicators have been shown to possess comprehensively high productivity in a huge variety of circumstances,
including call centers, shops, or development projects. Combining the numerical value for people with high happiness indicators can systematically elevate individual and even societal
happiness while also improving organizational productivity.
At Hitachi, we have already developed and provided
services for AI systems that analyze how to improve happiness by choosing what sort of communication a company
should use and how they should schedule the work day. These
game-changing systems and services have been introduced
to more than 20 companies. Such companies include banks,
service companies, manufacturing companies, airlines, distribution companies, and many other types.
In one such company, telemarketers, who are evaluated
based on the number of commodity orders they achieve per
hour wore a card-type wearable sensor that collected data
while they worked. Records of meetings with other people
and data from accelerometers measured bodily movement,
and then the group's collective happiness was quantified.
There were large daily fluctuations in the order rate of the
center, which could have been affected depending on the day
of the week, weather, and other factors. But in fact, AI found
that the most impactful changes were actually determined by
the happiness of the telemarketers. There was a higher order
rate when people were happier. Moreover, it was determined
through experiment that orders increased due to employee
happiness rather than the other way around.
In this case, it was clear that communication had a large
impact on happiness. It was further shown that discussions
during break time, being addressed by a supervisor, and
other factors largely influenced happiness and order rate.
An AI application was then developed to prioritize who the
supervisor should speak with first during the shift, based on
past data. In two centers where the same work was carried out
for a year using the application, both centers saw a 27 percent
change in order rates.
Again we are now able to uncover these invisible patterns
of productivity which are driven by previously indeterminate
actions. Happiness, break time discussions, and other factors
have, of course, not previously been quantified or focused on
by HR or organizational theorists, yet they actually demonstrate a significant influence over employee productivity. It
has been shown that AI can be used to elevate happiness and
therefore overall business results.
Misconception 4: AI Will Bring Us Closer to
a World in which the Fear of "Big Brother"
Indiscriminately Controls People
Among the above referenced AI business services that we at
Hitachi have studied, one pivotal question arises. How can we
make people happy, when happiness is something that varies
by individual and circumstance, and, is there one method
that can be indiscriminately applied to all situations? There is
no single answer to this question, which is why it is important
to consider that "the means to happiness is a very individually
driven thing" and "happiness" itself varies by person. When
VOLUME 40 | ISSUE 3 | SUMMER 2017