Every year at SPS Companies Inc., most of the steel processor’s 600 employees, from warehouse staffers to top executives, fill out a 30-minute confidential survey that asks, among other things, whether they feel micromanaged and whether they feel their managers support their professional growth. One question challenges survey-takers to gauge how respected and valued they feel within the organization.
This year, for the first time, the Manhattan, Kan.-based company tapped an artificial-intelligence tool called Xander to analyze responses. Xander can determine whether an employee feels optimistic, confused or angry, and provide insights to help manage teams, the tool’s developers at Ultimate Software Group Inc. ULTI -0.82% said.
From a block of text, the software analyzes answers to open-ended questions based on language and other data, assigning attitudes or opinions to employees.