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Laszlo Bock, CEO of Humu, says that behavioral science, combined with an understanding of human feeling and careful attention to privacy, can help organizations run better. Artificial intelligence coupled with behavioral science can improve recruitment, human resources and employee engagement. Bock says that he’s found success in giving employees small cues to help them make better decisions. Humu’s “Nudge Engine” combines that insight with machine learning to generate carefully timed prompts, reminding employees to take actions like recognizing the accomplishments of peers or asking team members for input. Bock says that unlike a monthly staff meeting or best practices retreat, these “nudges” can reinforce the behaviors the company expects of its workers in their day-to-day work environments. He also notes that employees can choose to opt into the system, which will provide them with tailored reminders through their calendars, such as getting reminders to speak up during meetings. Bock adds that human resources needs to bring in more data and science and remain focused on connecting with employees. Every employee, he says, no matter their job type or cultural background, wants their work to be more meaningful, and there are ways to “nudge” them so they appreciate the meaning of their work and help others see how their own work is meaningful. Bock cautions, however, that cultural differences come into play because people can express emotion differently. “We focus on what’s going to make you more effective in the workplace. What skills are going to make you a better team member, make you more inclusive, make you a better manager or coach or participant,” he explains. “In my mind, there is a very clean line between personal data in your home and personal life and personal data at work, and you should never cross that line-unless you’re asked by an individual to marry those data sets, and their company approves and they approve.” To create more effective teams, Bock advises making the work environment somewhere where all workers feel psychologically safe-free to share ideas and where they feel heard.

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