San Francisco: Aiming to make employees feel happier at work, a start-up led by three ex-Googlers, is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to "push" individual employees into small actions that improve staffers' satisfaction and foster better teamwork, The New York Times has reported.

"Humu is based in Google's hometown and builds on some of the so-called people-analytics programmes pioneered by the Internet giant, which has studied things like the traits that define great managers and how to foster better teamwork.

"Then it uses emails and text messages to 'nudge' individual employees into small actions that advance the larger goal," the report added.

The start-up also aims to bring data-driven insights to other companies by conducting surveys using AI to identify behavioural changes that are capable of making the biggest impact on elevating a workforce's happiness.

"At the heart of Humu's efforts is the company's 'nudge engine' (yes, it's trademarked).

"It is based on the economist Richard Thaler's Nobel Prize-winning research into how people often make decisions because of what is easier rather than what is in their best interest, and how a well-timed nudge can prompt them to make better choices," the report said.