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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.
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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.

Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the technology behind the automated messaging of speech-enabled applications that offer human-like interactions. In other words, conversational AI can communicate like a human being. The tech recognizes speech and text, is able to identify multiple languages and responds in a way that mimics human conversation.

Communication is important in any business, whether it’s between employees or from the business to a customer. Within each of these touchpoints is an opportunity for increased efficiency and a better understanding of what’s working and what isn’t in your business. You see, we’ve reached a place machines are able to understand human intent behind chat messages and produce human language to respond. 

Conversational AI is drastically changing how customers interact. By 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by conversational AI, which is an increase of 400% from 2017. If thoughtfully deployed, your conversational AI chatbot can be configured to collect data on the backend that helps you steer the business to what people actually want, not your best estimate.

The 5 Components of Conversational AI Chatbots

How does a conversational AI chatbot actually work though? Glad you asked! It’s a collection of technologies that work to create conversations that improve over time. Conversational AI chatbots actually need to be “trained” on datasets in order to have a baseline of understanding before they are released to the public. In its simplest form though, there are five key components to this technology:

  1. The application receives either written text or spoken sentences from human input. For spoken words, ASR, which is the technical term for voice recognition, makes sense of the words and converts them into text. 
  2. The application then must try to decide what the text means. It uses Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to determine the meaning.
  3. The application then forms the response. Using Dialog Management, it will build a response based on its understanding of the intent. The response is converted into a conversational format using Natural Language Generation (NLG).
  4. The response will then be given either in text or speech. 
  5. The application also has the ability to learn and improve over time (not just at the outset with the training dataset), in order to deliver more concise and correct answers. For you, this also means that the investment in a conversational AI chatbot continues to pay back itself in higher quality and more data.

Conversational AI Chatbots Deliver More Value

Conversational AI Chatbots

Conversational AI chatbots deliver customized, highly-intelligent solutions that are designed from the get-go to provide next-level customer or employee experiences. They require a detailed specific process and the aid of specialized consultants to ensure the tech is put to use correctly. 

The benefit of these chatbots is that they continue to learn, improve and deliver value without needing to recode or improve the technology. Translation: the investment upfront will continue to pay you back over the years that it is in use.

However, there is also a group of chatbots that do not use the advanced and ever-learning techniques of conversational AI. Many DIY chatbot platforms use a much simpler approach and have a database of expected inputs, each with a predetermined output response. 

There is no detailed “learning” and “improving” process as the chatbot goes into use. DIY chatbot platforms are great for simple FAQ or customer query routing applications because the answer to the question remains the same. These chatbots are often referred to as decision-tree-based chatbots, because that’s the extent of the backend technology. 

DIY platforms are inexpensive and quick to implement, but you may need to spend money down the line to improve your chatbot as required. Because the bots are so simple at the outset, the use cases per bot are limited, and the quality of the deployment is not as high, so you may find that your end users aren’t happy with the solution, meaning more time and money to adjust and re-deploy the bot.

Translating Conversational AI Chatbot Data into Business Insights

Executives are increasingly looking for creative and effective ways of obtaining data to drive business decisions. The conversational AI chatbot is a relatively new avenue to explore. The technology can be used to collect valuable data about customers and/or employees. 

On top of that, conversational AI chatbots can even deliver analytics and custom data dashboards when set up with the help of experienced consultants. You’ll save time and money on data collection and analysis, while also improving efficiencies and customer experience. 

For example, when customers have questions about an order, product or process, commonly asked questions or pitfalls in your systems can be identified and rectified. Not only will the customers be happier having their queries responded to by a chatbot 24/7, but you can direct resources to solve that problem faster using the data from the chatbot.

You can use all the data you can get your hands on to get a leg up on the competition. With a strategically implemented conversational AI chatbot, you can gather data and put it to use quickly. As an added efficiency bonus, it’s an effective way to make personalized conversational experiences scalable. 

The fastest route to reaping the benefits of this technology? A team of trusted consultants who can identify the use case tailored to your greatest need. 

Are you interested in learning more about the features of conversational AI chatbots? Get in touch with a Chatbot Consultant today to have your questions answered!