Athena: Your Virtual Coach for the Digital Age

DevelapMe’s Athena serves as a Virtual Coach dedicated to ensuring employees maximize the benefits of real-time feedback. Athena is comprised of a series of AI-based algorithms, all of which are parameter-specific. This simply means the algorithms can be tailored to meet the unique needs of your organization. Athena’s algorithms constantly monitor the feedback an employee is giving and receiving. When any of the algorithms “trigger,” Athena steps in to provide essential coaching and guidance. For example, Athena can congratulate users if their average competency score rises above a specific benchmark, or coach a user whose competency score dips below a pre-set threshold. Athena ensures employees are recognized and commended for their efforts, and works with struggling employees so no one is left behind.

The Virtual Coach guidance helps employees provide feedback that is both positive and constructive. Athena’s interventions are more akin to a gentle nudge than a robotic ordering of employees. Athena alerts users through friendly, conversational messages. Our team has tailored numerous notifications for each of Athena’s algorithms. When triggered, Athena will select and deliver an algorithm-specific message. Athena provides immediate coaching to each individual in need, addressing whichever area is pertinent to that unique individual. For example, if an employee provides consistently high scores to someone else within the organization, Athena could send the following:

Subject: Giver of Good Vibes

Hi, {{first_name}}. Your feedback contribution to your team is being heard! But we couldn’t help but notice that you have consistently rated {{receiver}} with such high scores! Now, it’s important to recognize a job well done – no arguing that. However, the goal of DevelapMe is to improve performance across the whole organization, and giving consistently high ratings doesn’t always help with that. No matter how well someone is performing, there’s always room to refine, and they need to know where! Next time, think of recommended areas for {{receiver}} to work on.

Athena’s algorithms and subsequent interventions gently encourage behaviors that create an ideal feedback culture. Our team analyzed more than 10,000 pieces of feedback for a client in financial services and found Athena’s interventions generated large improvements. For example, in the vast majority of cases, employees markedly improve after receiving constructive feedback, especially feedback with rich comments. However, if the improvement is not recognized and commended, employees may become discouraged and regress. In one specific case, a boss provided a constructive feedback score of 2 to a direct report in sales (on a 5-point scale). Part of the boss’s comment read, “A call to the merchant to advise of the confusion would have resulted in a better outcome.” Two weeks after the boss provided a low feedback score, one of Athena’s algorithms triggered. To ensure the employee’s progress was recognized, Athena prompted the boss to send additional feedback updating the employee on their performance. The boss provided feedback with a positive score of 4 and a comment reading, “KUDOS for making this merchant’s day!” Through AI-based prompts, the Virtual Coach encouraged the recognition of positive behavioral change.

Athena’s simple intervention generated myriad benefits. The Virtual Coach helped encourage the boss to consistently provide feedback, which is incredibly important for performance improvement. Frequent feedback allows employees to continuously improve, rapidly adjust, and track their progress. Furthermore, the employee who internalized the constructive feedback and made behavioral changes saw their efforts recognized and commended. Athena helps ensure employees feel noticed, valued, and incentivized to continue improving. In the rare chance the employee had not improved, Athena’s intervention can alert the boss’s attention before problems escalate. The employee might require face-to-face attention or additional aid to correct their struggles. The frequent feedback ensures employees do not fall behind or get lost or overwhelmed. Athena is not overwhelming or overbearing, but intervenes frequently enough to drive genuine results. The Virtual Coach’s tailorable algorithms ensure Athena selectively intervenes to optimally coach employees and aid development.

All DevelapMe users have access to the benefits of a Virtual Coach at their fingertips. Unlike a human supervisor, Athena effectively has unlimited resources to monitor an individual’s actions and provide coaching. The Virtual Coach does not aim to replace human interaction, but acts as a supplementary interpreter of feedback data. Though the benefits are immense, incorporating real-time feedback in the workplace involves an adjustment period for employees. Without guidance, employees may fear or resist change. Managers simply do not have the time and resources available to constantly support every direct report. Thanks to Athena, employees are never left to interpret or provide feedback data unassisted. Athena serves as an essential link between objective, detailed, real-time feedback and the people such feedback impacts. Ultimately, real-time feedback objectively benefits organizations, but full benefits cannot be attained unless employees embrace the change effort and effectively give, seek and receive feedback. Athena provides essential coaching to assist employees in reaping real-time benefits to continuously improve and drive organizational excellence.