Chatbots for HR

Human resources (HR) is a non-revenue generating department, but they’re also the heartbeat of an organization. Their work in recruiting, retention, training and so much more is undeniably central to a business’s success. 

Other departments have little trouble getting the technology they need to support their function because they can prove the bottom line benefits. HR, on the other hand, struggles to get the support they need. Chatbots are just one example of a piece of technology that HR could benefit from, and you might be surprised at how versatile the solution can be when applied to different use cases within HR. 

5 Automation Use Cases when Deploying Chatbots for HR

Chatbots for HR come in all shapes and sizes, and the beauty of custom chatbot solutions is that they can be tailored for specific use cases even within the HR function. Here are five examples of how automation can be put to work using chatbots for HR.

1. Q&A Automation in HR

Ultimately, HR generalists receive similar enquiries on a daily or weekly basis, and could benefit from a way to automate the responses to these frequently asked questions. Even if there are templated answers to questions that HR professionals can copy and paste into an email, that still takes up precious time and focus. Automation in terms of a chatbot answering questions would allow for a personal touch to be maintained, while employees have their pressing questions answered.

“I think there is an opportunity, similar to what we’ve experienced in other industries, such as banking, telecom, etc., where general questions to an HR department could be supported through chatbots and other pre-built Q&A functionally that would create more efficiencies for HR generalists.”

–John Doe, Director, Total Rewards & HR Technology
2. Employee Records Virtual Assistants

Another example of a virtual assistant that could support busy HR professionals is one to help with employee records. Inputting the data, handling change requests, and accessing/searching for data are all very labour-intensive processes. Handing off these jobs to a virtual assistant that could gather the necessary information from employees itself would be a huge burden off the back of an HR generalist.

person writing on notebook Chatbots for HR can be used to automate Q&A, elevate employee experience, and streamline routine paperwork and enrolment to support HR professionals.
Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

The chatbot could also converse with managers near yearly review time and gather the required information and performance scores, inputting the data into the standardized forms automatically. The managers could then focus their time on speaking with employees during the review and spending less time on data entry. When employees need to add feedback to these records or want to access old performance reviews, they can simply ask the chatbot for this information. An HR representative does not need to be involved in the simple task of retrieving data.

“Employee records, in particular, could be better supported via automation/virtual assistant. These activities are usually very labour and time-intensive and provide little value to the individual completing the tasks.”

–John Doe, Director, Total Rewards & HR Technology
3. Increase the Efficiency of Gathering Company-wide Insights

When it comes to company-wide surveys, polling employees about their experiences can be a massive undertaking. But what if you could outsource the creation of a chatbot to gather the information you need to gain insights? 

Whether it’s feedback on the current benefits package or taking the pulse on how HR itself could better serve the employees, a chatbot can gather information in a manner that is familiar to people. This will maximize the rate of adoption and ensure that the highest number of employees are participating. Dr. Katherine Jones explains that many people are familiar with AI and ready to embrace it at work. 

“A great many employees today are used to AI support at home through Alexa and Siri and are used to interacting in natural language with bots in many online and telephone transactions. It is barely a stretch to bot-supported common HR questions for candidates, new hires, and employees in general.”

–Dr. Katherine Jones, High-tech Market Analyst (Jones, 2020)

When HR experts were asked about the promise of AI in supporting them at work, they were quick to respond with how it would help streamline the process toward insights that would guide their decision-making.

“HR respondents saw analytics and metrics as the areas in which AI has the greatest potential to improve the HR function, perceiving AI as a tool to further its ability to better understand larger amounts of data and better synthesize it to meaningful information for the organization.”

–Dr. Katherine Jones, High-tech Market Analyst (Jones, 2020)
4. Plan Enrolment Automation

As a part of the onboarding process, enrolling employees in the company benefits plan is a bit of a process itself. There are often lengthy presentations that HR representatives give about the plans and choices available. Any questions that can’t easily be answered would have to be funneled back to the plan provider, creating a lot of back-and-forth communication for HR.

Add to that ensuring that all paperwork is filled out correctly by each employee and that they have made their selections by the dates required, and it’s a lot of administrative work. If instead a chatbot was put in place to gather all the required information, storing it in the appropriate database, HR personnel would be able to spend more of their day working on the complex issues that require time and space to solve. 

person holding black tablet computer Chatbots for HR can be used to automate Q&A, elevate employee experience, and streamline routine paperwork and enrolment to support HR professionals.
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The chatbot could also be used to answer questions about the plan, enrolment dates, and the services offered. Not only would this save time, but it would also be more accurate for employees. They could converse with the chatbot about the plan at their leisure, and not have to worry about calling up HR to have a conversation. Jeanne Meister, bestselling author on the future of work, explains how AI and chatbots will naturally assist HR:

“AI will augment HR and give HR time to work on more strategic business issues. The opportunity is to use AI to streamline HR manual processes and provide a more consumer grade service to employees.”

Jeanne Meister, Co-author, The Future Workplace Experience
5. Crisis Management to Support HR Communications

In the past year alone, chatbots have played a key role in how companies have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. With new scientific research becoming available each week and municipalities changing their regulations regularly to support public health measures, communication to residents and employees has had to step up.

HR departments have had their hands full, and so IBM took it upon themselves to utilize their in-house conversational AI technology, Watson, to help carry the load. They deployed a crisis assistant and offered it to their clients so that HR departments could keep their employees apprised of the latest changes, protocols, and news. It also allowed them to ask questions at any time of the day, again helping to free up already overburdened HR departments. IBM’s HR Innovation Leader, Eric Bokelberg, explains:

“A chatbot could be set up to specifically answer questions about Covid-19, offsetting the increased workload in the service center and giving employees a single 24×7 point of contact for information about the virus. It also enabled HR teams to easily update information as the situation changed.”

–Eric Bokelberg, HR Innovation Leader, IBM Talent and Transformation Services (Bokelberg, 2020)

Chatbots for HR Support and Human-like Conversation

HR is a vital function in any business, and the technology that supports it should also bring vitality to its implementation. Conversational AI chatbots bring the personal touch and the sense that you are speaking with a human. They are the perfect complement to a people-centred department.
If you’re curious about putting a custom chatbot solution to work in your HR department, reach out to one of our chatbot consultants today. You can learn more about us on our website.

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