What is AI-enhanced employee engagement? How it works and its advantages

Discover AI-enhanced employee engagement: tackle workplace disengagement, grasp its core elements, and utilise real-time insights for superior organisational results.

Alfie Young


The disengagement epidemic - Distractions and evolving work styles challenge engagement; traditional surveys falter, but AI promises real-time solutions.

What is employee engagement? - Work engagement is a state in which employees demonstrate vigour, dedication and absorption in their occupation. 

3 levels of employee engagement - The three levels include engaged (10%), disengaged (76%) and actively disengaged (14%).

Why do employees become disengaged? - Disengagement stems from issues like stagnation, lack of recognition, limited flexibility, poor relationships, and ineffective management. 

The impact on organisational outcomes - Disengaged employees can lead to poor customer experiences, a tarnished reputation, high turnover, reduced growth, and significant financial losses.

Omnifia’s 15 principles of engagement - Loyalty, peer relationships, satisfaction, accomplishment, autonomy, collaboration, wellbeing, focus time, equality, alignment, professional growth, work environment, mentoring, recognition, performance.

Using surveys to understand engagement - Since the 1920s, surveys have been used to gauge engagement, and craft people strategies. 

The drawbacks of surveys - Surveys can be tedious, bias-laden, and offer a narrow, limited snapshot of employee sentiment, questioning their efficacy in data-driven decision-making. 

How does AI-enhanced employee engagement work? - AI in HR uses HRIS and workspace data, with NLP assessing communication. Predictive flags issues, while correlation analysis guides strategy.

Organisational advantages of AI-enhanced employee engagement - Boosts productivity, reduces absences and aids retention, saving on recruitment costs.

Where to begin? 91% of executives value engagement, but only 57% feel confident in it. Omnifia's AI-driven people analytics offers real-time insights. Get started with your complimentary People Insights Report.

The disengagement epidemic

Employee engagement is a pressing issue, with recent Gallup statistics showing disengaged employees, who make up 76% of the workforce, can cost the organisation the equivalent of 18% of their salary. This reveals a stark reality about the  prevalence of disengagement in workplaces and the subsequent costs associated with it. 

But why is disengagement such a persistent problem?


A significant part of the challenge is the outdated methods we employ to gauge engagement. Traditional techniques, like surveys and observational methods, often suffer from biases and only provide a snapshot of the employee experience. As a result, organisations are now resorting to drastic measures, like mandating a return to the office, stemming from a lack of trust and effective engagement measurement tools. 

However, there's hope on the horizon. In this blog, we introduce the power of AI–enhanced employee engagement. We’ll discuss how harnessing passive data and artificial intelligence offers a new way to understand engagement, providing a competitive edge for your organisation.  

What is employee engagement? 

Let’s start with the basics. In the realm of employee engagement, there are numerous definitions, with the Macleod review identifying over 50 variations! To narrow our focus we will look at the most commonly adopted definition: "Work engagement," synonymous with "engagement in the workplace." Work engagement is a state in which employees demonstrate vigour, dedication and absorption in their occupation.

To assess this topic and its relevance, this blog will dive into the significance of an engaged workforce and explore how AI can amplify engagement among your employees.

3 levels of employee engagement

Employee engagement isn't binary—it unfolds across three distinct levels. Each level not only affects individual performance but also shapes the overall workplace performance. 

1. Engaged

These employees are highly productive, committed to the company's mission, and exhibit stand out behaviours like proactive suggestions and advocacy for the organisation. Gallup's research has found that in the UK alone, engagement rates are as low as 10%, ranking as one of the lowest among workforces in Europe. 

2. Disengaged

This group, which includes 76% of the UK workforce, displays indifference to their jobs, resists change, and requires motivation to enhance engagement. These employees pose the greatest challenge to your workforce, not only because they make up the majority but because they are adept at blending in with the rest of the herd. 

AI Employee Engagement tool analysing signs of employee disengagement as a weary worker rests head on desk.

3. Actively disengaged

These employees harbour negative sentiments, criticise the organisation, and may engage in actions that undermine its success. Although this cohort only makes up 14% of UK employees, their attitudes have a snowball effect across your entire organisation and even your customers. 

Why do employees become disengaged?

Disengagement usually results in low productivity, subpar work quality, withdrawal from projects, late arrivals, and isolation at work. 

Identifying these challenges solely through manual observation is challenging, but uncovering their underlying causes is crucial for effective resolution.


When employees feel unchallenged or stagnant in their roles, they become less invested in their work. According to one report, only 29% of workers are "very satisfied" with the prospects for career progression at their business, despite the fact that 41% of workers believe that these opportunities are crucial to overall job satisfaction. If your organisation is not offering growth opportunities it can leave employees unmotivated and seeking new jobs.

Lack of recognition

Genuine appreciation and recognition motivates employees. SHRM report reveals that companies with employee recognition activities witness an increase in employees’ productivity levels by 63%. Failing to acknowledge employees, particularly long serving employees who are often neglected, often leads to disengagement. 

Limited flexibility

Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial for engagement, especially in hybrid and remote workplaces. Failing to address this issue can make employees feel overwhelmed, leading to disengagement. 

Poor relationships 

Toxic workplace environments marked by poor relationships among employees and managers significantly contribute to disengagement. Research reflects that a supportive work environment positively affects employees' engagement, whereas spending extensive time in toxic environments negatively impacts employee well-being.  

Ineffective management 

Ineffective management, characterised by absentee leaders and poor communication, has the potential to drain the enthusiasm from employees. Given that managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement, when employees feel undervalued due to subpar management practices, their engagement inevitably dwindles. 

Employees stressed due to bad management, underscoring the value of AI employee engagement for better leadership.

Manually pinpointing and addressing these disengagement elements is a daunting task. This underscores the value of more sophisticated and AI driven methods to understand engagement.

The impact on organisational outcomes

Poor customer experience

Disengaged employees are less likely to provide efficient, high-quality customer support, potentially leading to frustrated customers and reduced loyalty. For instance, disengaged software engineers may release updates less efficiently, resulting in customer dissatisfaction. 

Temkin Group's Employee Engagement Benchmark Study revealed a correlation between employee engagement efforts and customer experience success, with customer experience leaders having 1.5 times more engaged employees than laggards. 

Bad reputation 

Neglecting workplace culture and employee engagement can harm your reputation and deter potential customers. Additionally, negative word-of-mouth about a company's work environment can make it challenging to attract and retain top talent, exacerbated by online review platforms where employees share their experiences. 

Increased turnover 

Employee disengagement affects team morale and creates a negative work environment, leading to higher turnover rates. The costs associated with turnover, including HR resources for recruitment and training, can be as much as a third of the employees annual salary. Disengaged employees may also influence others to resign. Studies by Gallup show that improving engagement can significantly reduce turnover, benefiting organisations in terms of costs and team stability.

Reduced company growth

Disengaged workers are more likely to make mistakes, perform poorly, and contribute less to the organisation. Research from Gallup reveals that disengaged employees can cost businesses significant losses, ranging from 18% to 34% of their annual salary, with average losses of $2,246 per employee. Reduced productivity and increased customer complaints further impact profitability. Disengagement is particularly critical for companies with smaller profit margins.

Evidently, the costs of employee disengagement are substantial, and can have a cascading effect on your organisation, spreading negativity and hindering the achievement of corporate goals. Many organisations are now prioritising employee engagement as its impact on customer experience and profitability becomes increasingly evident. 

Given this, it's essential to evaluate how your organisation is addressing employee engagement.

Omnifia’s 15 principles of engagement

Reviving a disengaged workforce is no simple feat. At Omnifia, we firmly believe that employee engagement thrives on a foundation of diverse fundamental principles. To guide you through this journey, think of our 15 principles as focal points to begin reinventing your employee experience.

AI-enhanced employee engagement: Omnifia's visual guide showcasing 15 principles to re-energise and re-engage workforces.

1. Loyalty 

Fostering loyalty reduces turnover, enhances organisational stability, and preserves a strong workplace culture. Engaged employees are more likely to enjoy their work and contribute positively to the organisation. 

2. Peer relationships

Positive peer relationships are vital for fostering a healthy work environment, promoting effective teamwork, and facilitating the exchange of knowledge. A foundation of trust among colleagues not only encourages collaboration but also alleviates stress, resolves challenges, enhances job satisfaction, ultimately transforming projects into engaging adventures. 

3. Satisfaction

High satisfaction levels correlate with motivation and dedication. Dissatisfaction can impact performance and retention, making satisfaction a key driver of engagement.

4. Accomplishment

Achieving goals and providing positive feedback motivates employees. It contributes to a positive team dynamic and overall organisational success. Recognising accomplishments is crucial for maintaining high work engagement.

5. Autonomy

Empowering employees through autonomy builds confidence and encourages creativity. It can result in greater job satisfaction and well-being, aligning with the principles of self-determination theory

6. Collaboration 

Encouraging collaboration in the workplace enhances problem-solving and leads to higher-quality outcomes in group projects. Promoting open communication, such as brainstorming sessions over lengthy presentations, fosters engagement. 

7. Wellbeing 

Prioritising employee well-being through wellness initiatives and a nurturing work environment leads to a contented and thriving workforce. Organisational fit and shared values contribute to high engagement. 

8. Focus Time 

Providing dedicated periods for focused work minimises distractions, leading to higher productivity and increased engagement. Employees who engage in deep work are more likely to feel engaged. 

9. Equality 

Fostering an inclusive and equitable workplace ensures fairness and equal access to opportunities. Equity theory highlights the importance of perceived fairness in motivating employees. 

10. Alignment 

Aligning individual goals with the organisation's mission and expectations enhances engagement and overall success. Clear communication and well-defined goals contribute to team unity, as every employee is in sync with the collective goal. 

11. Professional Growth 

Offering opportunities for skill development and career advancement satisfies higher-order needs, improving employee commitment and engagement.

12. Work Environment 

A positive work environment, characterised by clear communication and respect, significantly influences employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Research highlights the importance of informal spaces in enhancing teamwork and maximising the advantages of employees working together in one location. 

13. Mentoring 

Providing mentorship opportunities fosters knowledge transfer and a culture of learning. The quality of relationships with managers is therefore crucial for engagement, as it reflects organisational support, influencing the energy and commitment employees put into their roles. 

14. Recognition

Recognising employee contributions strengthens morale, motivation, and a sense of value. Regular acknowledgment of achievements instils pride and motivation. So rather than waiting for annual reviews, celebrate other smaller achievements, so you can instil a sense of pride and motivation into your employees. 

15. Performance 

Regular performance assessments and feedback loops are vital for understanding strengths and areas for improvement. Anxiety about perceptions can hinder self-expression, while clear goals that promote team unity, rather than competition, boost engagement. Implementing constructive reviews help employees align their growth with company objectives. 

Surveys: The original engagement tool

In the pursuit of transforming disengaged employees into motivated ones, data is indispensable. 

Omnifia's 15 principles serve as a guidepost, and data is instrumental in assessing their impact. By tapping into this information, leaders can discern how effectively these principles resonate and can craft informed strategies.

This approach to data-driven decision-making isn’t new; in fact, engagement has historically been evaluated through surveys, a practice dating back to the 1920s. These surveys provide invaluable insights into organisational health, culture, trends, patterns, and correlations between engagement levels and key performance indicators. Armed with this data, employers can make calculated decisions about resource allocation, training, leadership strategies, and reward systems. 

Hands exchanging a paper survey, showcasing traditional employee engagement measurement before AI employee engagement methods.

However, the effectiveness of surveys in generating meaningful feedback is often constrained.

The drawbacks of surveys

Boredom and time consumption

Surveys can be tedious and take time away from employees, often met with low enthusiasm. Employees may question their necessity, duration, and timing, leading to rushed or inaccurate responses. 

Response bias and misleading questions 

Many company surveys contain inherent response bias and misleading questions that influence employee input. Some questions may even trigger social desirability bias, as employees may hesitate to label themselves as "disengaged." 

Limited snapshot 

Surveys often provide a limited snapshot of employee sentiment, capturing recent feelings but failing to reflect year-round engagement. Interpreting annual survey results as representative of the entire year is like basing an entire year's performance on just one month's revenue!

Repetition and narrow focus

Employee surveys tend to repeat questions from previous iterations to assess changes over time, but this can lead to a narrow focus on recent sentiments. This limited scope and potential inaccuracy make surveys a fragile foundation for data-driven decision-making.

So, what's the alternative?

The solution: AI-enhanced employee engagement 

Enhancing employee engagement is a pressing objective. It may seem daunting and take time to achieve, but the magnitude of this task should not deter you. 

However, now that employee engagement can be understood 95% passively, implementing AI to drive engagement is  is not just an option; it's a vital step to fast-track progress.

AI employee engagement dashboard showing that different factors affecting engagement, such as satisfaction and employee loyalty

How does it work?

Data integration

To understand and improve engagement passively, you need to firstly use a system to extract, transform and load (ETL) your data. This process will clean and place your data into one single place, allowing you to run data analysis, processing and AI techniques on top. 

It must be said, for you to understand engagement passively, your employees must be working on digital workspace tools like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Atlassian and Notion. Otherwise, there will not be enough data to extract any meaningful conclusions from. 

At Omnifia, this is a process we can facilitate in a matter of minutes using our OIF (Omnifia Integration Format) system. Here’s how it works: 

Our state of the art OIF (Omnifia Integration Format) system

After you perform this process, you are ready to do some exciting things with the data! You can use a range of techniques to gather meaning and value from it. 

Natural language processing (NLP)

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a field of AI that focuses on the interaction between computers and human language. It involves the development of algorithms and models that enable computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language in a way that is meaningful and useful.

In relevance to employee engagement, sentiment analysis can help you understand the positivity and enthusiasm of employees. Combining this with analysis of communication between employees can give you an indication of positive or negative peer relationships.

Understanding the source of communication can give you insights into autonomy. If a higher proportion of communication is always coming from direct managers, indirect managers, and senior personnel, this indicates lower autonomy.

Omnifias AI employee engagement dashboard visualises a decline in employee autonomy, correlating with lower engagement levels

Alignment can also be understood by comparing the language and topics of conversations across different employees in your organisation. For example, a high divergence in language and wording indicates low alignment, suggesting a potential disconnect between your employees and teams.

Predictive analysis

Predictive analytics uses data to make informed predictions about future outcomes. In the context of employee engagement, you can use predictive to understand future employee turnover, burnout. This is crucial in helping you prevent issues before they become a reality. 

One predictive use case is in understanding team dynamics and collaboration. By analysing communication patterns and interactions within teams, you can predict which teams are likely to be more productive or face potential conflicts. This information can guide team restructuring or intervention strategies.

Predictive analysis can also help you in understanding burnout prediction.  By analysing communication patterns and work-related activities, you can identify employees at risk of burnout due to excessive workload or high stress levels. This information can inform workload distribution strategies and promote employee well-being.

Turnover prediction is also one other area you can benefit from. By looking at past behaviour and understanding why individuals have left and looking at the data footprint they left behind, you can make accurate predictions into why employees are leaving your organisation. 

Correlation analysis

Correlation analysis uncovers crucial relationships between your people data. For example, by proving the correlation between employee engagement and productivity, you can highlight the importance of nurturing a motivated and committed workforce.  This insight can help you secure budget and implement targeted strategies that not only boost engagement but also lead to increased productivity, ultimately driving organisational efficiency and effectiveness.

Correlation analysis can also reveal the link between employee engagement and turnover rates.  By focusing on initiatives that enhance employee satisfaction and commitment, you can cultivate a more stable and loyal workforce, leading to long-term benefits in terms of stability and performance. 

In addition to this, understanding the correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction highlights the importance of investing in employee well-being and engagement. This ultimately leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction and overall success for your organisation.

Organisational advantages of AI-enhanced employee engagement

Improved productivity

Through using AI-enhanced employee engagement analytics, you can passively understand  engagement. This means your employees will spend less time completing surveys, allowing them to focus more on their core tasks. Meanwhile, your HR departments benefit from a streamlined process — instead of manually sifting through feedback and extracting insights. With the power of predictive and correlational analysis, you can pinpoint the exact drivers of employee engagement. By deploying targeted tactics, they can monitor the effectiveness in real-time, adapting as necessary to ensure optimal productivity.

Cutting Absences & Costs  

Traditional surveys often capture sentiments long after the triggering event, making timely intervention challenging. In contrast, AI-enhanced employee engagement analytics promptly detect early signs of employee burnout or dissatisfaction. By proactively addressing these concerns, you can ensure employees remain motivated and mentally healthy, leading to fewer absences. This not only boosts morale but also translates to tangible cost savings by ensuring consistent workflow and reducing overheads from temporary replacements or overtime.

Boosting retention and savings

With traditional surveys, feedback about employee dissatisfaction or intentions to leave is often delayed or even unreported due to fear of repercussions. AI-enhanced employee engagement can identify patterns and subtle signs that might signal an employee's intention to depart, enabling timely interventions. Addressing concerns, offering growth opportunities, or realigning roles based on these insights can deter potential resignations. As a result, you can reduce turnover rates, ensure a stable work environment and considerable savings on recruitment and training, far more efficiently than relying on periodic survey results.

Hand drawing an upward graph, symbolising AI employee engagement's role in enhancing financial savings and boosting profits.

Where to begin?

The digital age demands more for employee engagement. While 91% of executives understand its value, only 57% believe their companies are up to par. Traditional methods aren't cutting it anymore. 

Omnifia leads the way with AI People Analytics, providing real-time insights into your employees' sentiments using AI and NLP. Understand engagement out of the box with our deep insights.

To understand how AI can improve employee engagement for you, get started with your complimentary People Insights Report. 

Using passive data and AI to drive employee engagement can turn into a competitive advantage for your organisation. Embrace it to propel your organisation to new heights!