HR chatbots are changing the way routine HR processes and functions are done. They are making HR more efficient and agile; let’s understand how.
The way we work and communicate is changing more rapidly than we can comprehend. The increasing pace of digitising systems and processes has resulted in optimisation of operations and execution in almost every domain, and it looks like things are just getting started.
One such tool that has shown immense potential and is pegged to revolutionise the way businesses interact with customers and employees are chatbots.
Chatbots are artificial intelligence programs that conduct conversations. They cater to a variety of functions like sales, marketing, and customer service, but the scope of this article is restricted to understanding the way chatbots are changing the world of HR. They are taking over rather swiftly and this development shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Let’s understand why.
Traditional HR processes and record-keeping systems like HCM, ERP, and CRM were designed to be functional and not seamless. They make for great platforms that aggregate information at the backend, but there are no delivery mechanisms to ensure employees receive timely, accurate, and relevant information.
Research by Leena AI suggests that two out of every three employees are unable to find relevant policy information in their organisation because they simply don’t know where to look for or how to access it. Calling and sending an email to the HR department has been the default ways to get queries solved, and depending on the size of the organisation, the turnaround time could be anything between one-three days.
From the HR department’s perspective, the challenge is answering simple and predictive queries multiple times.
Research by Leena AI on a selected set of enterprises shows that half the time of HR personnel goes into solving mundane and repetitive queries. In cases where an organisation has enterprise applications, outsourced or homegrown, employees often refrain from using them due to limited functionality and displeasing user experience.
As a matter of fact, our chatbots have been asked questions like ‘How do I use ...?’ regarding pre-existing enterprise application systems in the company. Multiple isolated applications in enterprises have complicated the challenge of accessing relevant information even further because employees don’t know where to go.
It might be hard to believe, but a simple chat-based bot can solve all the challenges listed above. HR chatbots sit on top of multiple systems of records and integrate information from varied sources to provide a front-end system of engagement to employees. There is no need for the employee to consult any other tool or platform because the HR chatbot delivers accurate and instant answers to queries.
The best part is that since most employees already have used Whatsapp/Messenger/Wechat before, using a chatbot comes naturally and requires no training or learning, unlike present isolated enterprise applications. New and existing employees can ask the chatbot virtually just about anything – leave policy, company policy, benefits, rewards, and so much more.
But even that’s not all; the intuitive design and interface of the chatbot will prompt the employee to take an action based on the nature of their query.
For instance, if an employee enquires about the number of remaining leaves, after tending to the question, the chatbot will confirm if the employee wants to apply for a leave.
Further, it will also prompt if meetings for the said duration of leave should be automatically cancelled (since it is integrated with the calendar). This one conversation-based system will become the single point-of-contact for everything HR, and will increase the turnaround time, improve the accuracy of answers, and eliminate the need for multiple systems to operate simultaneously.
HR leaders and personnel will get more of one of the most precious resources today: time. They can thus focus and invest more in strategic issues like talent management, leadership programmes, etc. By taking the role of a data centre for multiple applications, HR chatbots verticalise themselves as an intelligent system of delivery and empower the HR to do things that weren’t possible before. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which HR chatbots can help the HR function become more efficient:
From helping applicants apply for open positions to automating interviews and engaging with new employees before their official joining, HR chatbots fill a crucial gap. They ensure that the first impression of an organisation on potential employees is favourable and their experience is seamless and enjoyable. Next, since a majority of the onboarding processes consists of repetitive tasks like filling and submitting forms, getting identification cards, enrolling for benefits etc., HR chatbots can ably answer repetitive questions and queries. This allows HR business partners to focus on providing new employees with a seamless onboarding experience.
A key concept of HR chatbots is two-way communication. They not only provide answers but also ask questions regarding the employee experience, their expectations, and their progress. Dipstick surveys, one-question quizzes, and rating-based questions are asked by HR chatbots to analyse the pulse of employees, individually and together. This helps in understanding the issues that employees face, measuring the employee happiness score, gauging engagement levels, and pre-emptively identifying any potential people challenges.
Even companies that allocate huge budgets for Learning Management Systems (LMS) are struggling to ensure that employees actually end up using them. Traditional LMS systems exist like a database of information and media, and a conscious awareness to make them more engaging is very recent. HR chatbots can make learning simple and fun by breaking down videos and tutorials into smaller consumable bites. These are then followed by pop-up multiple-choice questions to evaluate what employees have gathered from the learning module. The chatbot can also send the team updates on who performed the best, information regarding an upcoming learning module, and even suggest areas of improvement. This conversation-based approach makes learning and training much more effective and sound.
Since performance evaluation and management is based on pre-defined and quantifiable parameters, HR chatbots can leverage the data from Performance Management Systems to automate objective performance evaluation and integrate it with the rewards and recognition process. For instance, if an employee achieves his or her sales target within the set timeline, the HR chatbot can confirm the same with the manager, send out a congratulatory message on the group, mark the employee for the performance bonus and update the same in the management system module.
All these chatbot functionalities and processes already exist and by simply integrating them with HR systems, organisations can start enjoying the benefits right away. If you think about it, even though chatbots are evidently very useful for the HR function, they can be equally important for IT, administration, finance and other shared services verticals as well. Any repeatable internal company process can be taken over by a chatbot, and allow leaders, managers, and employees to build an organisation that is future-ready.
The future of work is here. Are you ready to make the most of it?
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)