In the past few years, savvy companies have been using text analytics software to analyse positive and negative phrases appearing in social media and other electronic posts to figure out what customers think about their products, service and policies. For example, firms in the travel industry can monitor comments posted on websites for users' opinions about hotel properties, or perhaps about specific features such as housekeeping or food service.
Less well-known but a growing reality is the use of this "sentiment analysis" technology by companies to gather information about their own employees. Vendors of text analytic software confirm that clients are now using these tools to gauge employee sentiment, although users aren't yet willing to talk publicly about internal applications.
Why are companies venturing into this area, which at first blush might seem fraught with privacy concerns?