How do you look at HR function? A set of processes, policies and frameworks that are needed for the smooth functioning of the organization. Or would you look at it as an enabler of business growth through better talent management, employee engagement, workplace experience and career enhancement?
Well, you might choose one of these depending on your industry, size and organization maturity. However, progressive organizations that have regard talent as their biggest asset invariably choose the second option. However, in reality the HR function more often than not fails to operate at that level because of resource crunch and the immediate need of managing processes and handling employee concerns. The resolution to this clear and present challenge can now be found in AI.
Organizations across the globe are looking at virtual assistants to transform HR. Who is this new virtual assistant? As we all know, Chatbots differ by the level of complex tasks they can perform. Simple bots answer common questions by “looking” for key words or phrases and providing quick, standard responses and related resources. More sophisticated bots (or intelligent bots you may say), access datasets to provide dynamic responses. They can also perform any rules-based activities. The most popular chatbot is a virtual assistant, which can access knowledge and can function as an intuitive self-service platform. While we have seen this technology being deployed in customer service / customer relationship management, the uses of this in HR are game changing.
How can HR join the game?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) essentially automates manual, rules-based, and repetitive activities. With RPA, the bots will source and classify information, analyze and record data, communicate with users, and even predict outcomes – interacting with applications just as humans would. The result? They give HR function the capacity to do more with less, manage the routine but important tasks and processes, and ultimately free up their time to do what HR must do – develop, engage and inspire talent. For the HR professional, it is about delivering a faster, better service to the business.
According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends Report 2018 – AI and robotics open exciting new capabilities for HR. Software can now recognize faces and identify gender, listen to voices and identify mood, and decode video interviews to identify education level, lying, and cognitive ability. Analytics tools are intelligently selecting candidates, identifying employees’ career options, and coaching managers on improving their leadership skills. And the potential doesn’t end there: AI is even being used to create chatbots that can interact with job candidates, identify and score video interviews, and understand the sentiment of engagement surveys.
In a lucid description of the different ways in which HR can effectively deploy Bots, Chatbots magazine’s story on 7 Ways Chatbots and AI are Disrupting HR provides practical guidance on using Bots for Recruitment, On-boarding, FAQs on Company Policies, Employee Training, Common Questions, Benefits Enrollment, Annual Self Assessment/Reviews.
The best place to start will of course be the process / task that is easy to be automated (depending on your organization’s character and culture), driven better with Bots than manually, and can deliver significant business impact.
Intel launched a virtual HR agent to answer employee questions about pay, stock, benefits, and other HR programs. Overstock.com has put in place a chatbot to interact with the company’s call center employees, who use it to check their schedules, schedule time off, and inform managers about unplanned leave or sick days.
Look to kick start a conversation on deploying Bots in your organization? Want to start a test ride? Talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.