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Over the last 10 years, the U.S. unemployment rate has steadily declined. One of the side effects of a tightening labor market is an improvement in certain professionals’ ability to negotiate better salaries and benefits for themselves—and holding onto top-performing employees is becoming more of a challenge for many companies.

Training a new employee is expensive, so higher turnovers can be seriously disadvantageous for hiring companies’ bottom lines. Ensuring that employees are happy and that their needs are being met should thus be important consideration for almost every company’s hiring and retention strategy.

Carolyn Peer is the Co-Founder & CEO of Humaxa, a Sacramento Founder Institute portfolio company that is reducing employee turnover through a neuroscience-based human resources AI assistant.

Humaxa builds sophistaicated AI chatbots for conducting automated human resources work—the chatbots can regularly check-in with employees, allowing executives to build a better understanding of employees’ overall sentiments. Humaxa’s AI can also implement action items or interventions, solving individual employee problems quickly and automatically. According to CEO Carolyn Peer, 

Other companies that try to solve the employee retention issue conduct surveys. Our Smart HR Assistant monitors retention, talks with employees, and takes action to help move the retention needle, reducing the amount of administrative work for HR managers. This is our differentiator.

As an example of an HR chatbot deployment that could lead to deep insights, Humaxa bots might prompt a company’s employees every few weeks over the course of a year, to share how they feel about various key elements of the business’s operations. From the employee sentiments collected (measured via net promoter score), Humaxa could divide employees up different ways, by department as well as by seniority for example, to reveal insights from across various employee groups; or, Humaxa might divide up sentiments across time, revealing trends that correspond with known events, like how employee sentiments changed in correlation with a management change in Q3.

Humaxa’s chatbot conversation is based on research around human/machine interaction, and the chatbot gauges sentiment in a conversational and natural format. But because the solution is automated, in setting up Humaxa, employers only need to decide what key elements of their business they want to understand long term, and Humaxa goes to work measuring employee sentiments to elicit those trends.

AI To Help Humans Beings Better Understand Other Humans is Big Business

The HR Technology market accounts for about $15 billion in spend each year, and has a relatively small trajectory plotted for over the next 5 years. However, at the talent performance level, the industry’s projected to grow between 14-15% into 2025. Of those numbers, a Forbes report shows about $720 million alone will spent on businesses surveying their employees. Another Forbes report also shows that of the businesses that do survey their employees, only 22% of them are getting positive results. That’s a lot of money to try to check sentiments for achieving such poor results. 

Humaxa offers a different approach. Much more efficient than surveying, Humaxa can help understand longer term trends, and work to supplement existing HR protocols. CEO Peer continues, 

By combining my background in the HCM industry, cognition, neuroscience, AI, and instructional technology, with my partner’s development experience, we are building a Smart HR Assistant that acts like an extra set of hands on an HR team that focuses on nothing but making employee retention exceedingly easy for HR leaders.

Humaxa accomplishes this data harvesting through a robust process of gathering feedback, kicking off specific actions, reviewing results, and starting cycle over again with new learnings integrated. One particular example shows how Humaxa was able to gauge how employees felt about the current levels of diversity within an organization. The chatbot conversation went as follows:

"You know, it’s true that diversity and inclusion come up a lot these days – even among us bots! But insuring inclusivity at work is no joking matter. Do you feel that this organization makes people with diverse backgrounds feel valued and included?" 

Then, based on how the employee responded, the system would be able to respond accordingly rather than just document the results.

Chatbot Response #1: “Thank you for your feedback. How about nominating someone from a diverse background for “Person of the Day”? You can leave some positive feedback for them as well!”

Chatbot Response #2: “Thank you for your feedback. You know, we have some open positions here, at this organization. Maybe you know people from diverse backgrounds who would be a good fit for one or two of them? You can check out open positions and refer someone by following this link…”

Humaxa can allow employees to provide anonymous feedback about key elements of the business, while still receiving potential solutions from the chatbot. All of the data compiled across different groups, anonymized or not, can be provided back in the form of compiled sentiment scores. Executives also then have the ability to take the learnings from the larger picture and launch additional automated response solutions, like a mentor program or training options, for employees seeking to advance or learn more outside of their current day-to-day role. 

What if there was a way to track this data and as an administrator, get notified when employee sentiment started really going downhill? With this technology, already in use at Humaxa and at other organizations as well, we are out to make a difference.


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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $1 billion in funding, and building products people love across over 200 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey

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