Use Artificial Intelligence to digitalize HR and improve the employee experience

Use Artificial Intelligence to digitalize HR and improve the employee experience

Robots can add real value to your business, but only by improving the way humans work.

If you could solve even 50% of your HR service desk issues via a chatbot, how much time and money would that save you?

Go onto any major consumer website and you’ll likely see a tab marked ‘Live Chat’, enabling you to quickly get information, rather than picking up the phone. At the other end is often a chatbot that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interpret the conversation and provide automated responses. The benefits to business are clear – reduce the human cost on your service desk and drastically improve response times or, in other words, use robots to free up your HR teams’ time to focus on adding value.

Let’s cut through the trendy rhetoric and find out how chatbots can not only save you money, but also add real value to your employees and your business.

Can a robot really answer a human’s question?

Digital transformation is high on CEO’s and HR leaders’ priorities list, and the number one most disruptive tech for digitalising HR is to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into existing business models from automating repetitive business processes to deploying AI-based virtual assistants – also called “chatbots”. Additionally, consumer chatbot technology is improving at an incredible pace; Siri, Alexa and Okay Google sound more realistic than ever and can handle an impressive array of text and voice interactions.

If Google can answer the question “What is the temperature in Birmingham?” then why can’t an HR system answer: “What is my holiday balance?” or “When will I next get paid?”

At first, chatbots will answer simple queries such as logging into accounts, accessing the intranet and use of personal devices and replying to common questions around pay, benefits or leave balances. They can also answer questions that are usually difficult for a current HR service desk to answer. For example, you can ask a chatbot to “tell me about upcoming holidays across my team”. You might also train your chatbots to specifically help with new starter questions like explaining acronyms, learning about building facilities or performance review processes.

Chatbots can also blend simple answers with more contextual, dynamic answers to respond to queries on both contractual entitlements and precise balances. For example, a chatbot can calculate the correct leave entitlement based on grade seniority or pro-rated entitlements.

Then, getting a little more complex, you can incorporate task automation such as asking the chatbot to “book me some leave from x date to y date”, “record John as being off sick from today”, “help me correct missed clocks” or “extend Jane’s probation by 3 months.”

How do chatbots work?

To get started, you have devices with voice or text chat applications, which are built into a mobile app, or an Alexa-enabled device, or simply, a plain telephone line. These then talk to chatbot services which will then ‘lookup’ the answer that is needed.

There are three possible examples that the chatbot could take to find the correct answer:

  1. It might use a simple text file that contains static text responses.
  2. It might call a REST API to lookup something on the web or on your intranet
  3. It might call a REST API on one of your Oracle systems to lookup the answer to something dynamic, such a someone’s leave balance.

And back to employee experience…

Business worldwide is essentially on the cusp of doing the next best thing to adding more hours to the day. Using AI, like chatbots, can automate mundane tasks to free up time for humans to add value where only humans can – improving employee experience and therefore, the customer experience.

Chatbots can handle repetitive tasks for HR teams, which then allows them to focus on value-added tasks. They can automate standard tasks that may have very intricate and complex answers, requiring intensive training and causing frustrations for both HR teams and the person asking the question. A bot can handle those questions and do a really good job at the same time.

There are endless quantitative and measurable benefits to implementing chatbots. For example, an organization recently told us that they get 1,600 calls a month for leave balance inquiries. How much time did the employee spend waiting on the phone to get the answers? How much of HR’s time was spent answering these inquiries? How much time would a chatbot save?

With chatbots, an employee can get answers 24×7 and it’s as fast and convenient as using Siri or typing a WhatsApp message. They don’t need to wait until Monday morning, or spend time in a phone queuing system. Plus, those answers are more personalised and accurate than ever before.

What is the right point in your digital transformation programs to take this on?

We have developed a 5-step plan to prepare you for this:

  1. Pilot chatbots to see what they can deliver today. They are able to work on legacy-systems such as E-Business Suite, so you do not need to change your HR back-end systems to achieve this
  2. Create a shared vision – you’re going to need C-level buy-in to ensure all streams are aligned
  3. Once you have a shared vision, see if your current technology roadmap supports you in your goals
  4. Identify new job roles you might need. New HR roles, such as Chief Experience Officers and Data Scientists are starting to emerge in the workplace
  5. Upskill HR to educate them in the power of chatbots and AI as a Digital HR enabler.

Back to that initial question, if you could solve even 50% of your HR service desk issues via a chatbot, how much time and money would that save you?

Take the first step to finding out

Get in touch and see how we can implement AI in your business.



Looking for more thought-leadership pieces like this? Head over to the Trends category on our blog.

Published September 4, 2018 / by Applaud