For ages, we have spoken about blue-collar jobs and white-collar jobs, but today we have the grey collar workforce i.e., Robots. This workforce has instilled the fear that humans will be left without jobs. However, this is not going to happen; AI is used for tasks that are dumbing people down. It is crucial to hand such functions to technology and upscale the employees to focus on creative and high-impact tasks. Pradnya Parasher, Founder & CEO, ThreeFish Consulting says “Even in a high-performance organization only 20% tasks get done by automation, and in low-performing organizations, it’s as low as 6%”. There is a need for a mindset shift from fear to accepting bots as something that is making our lives better.
One of the biggest problems HR faces today is doing repeated mundane tasks ,which can be easily automated, that’s when bots step in. Most importantly, bots are not limited to Chatbots; it should be thought of as a platform that can help you access a lot of different applications. The ability of you accessing information or working from any location at any time has now collapsed into a single WhatsApp chat window that you use every day. So you can use the same interface that every generation is aware of. You can integrate all of the applications in a known interface within a few months; that is the power of AI.
Understand why you need to introduce Bots in the system
HR Bots impact everything from recruiting to onboarding to engagement, thus taking over the entire employee life cycle. However, it is crucial to understand where the value lies to get maximum output from the systems adopted. Adit Jain, CoFounder and CEO, Leena AI, talks about considering three factors while deciding whether or not you need a bot. It can either be any one or all three.
- Cost-saving: Is it going to save you money? And this can be a direct or an indirect impact. For example, if a task assigned to a bot is helping your employees work on something that is bringing in much more value to the organization; it’s a good idea to get one.
- Time-Saving: Signing documents over and over again, answering the same questions, repeating the onboarding process, etc. takes up much more time of an employee than calculated. Thus automating such processes can add more credibility to any person’s day.
- Employee experience: Are your employees complaining about the poor experience? Do they think they are not getting timely responses? Is delay in responses affecting their work patterns? If yes, then you need to put a system in place.
A lot of companies today are doing this because it seems fashionable. But if you jump into a system without evaluating it properly, it won’t be able to provide you with high impact output.
Leveraging HR bots for maximum output
You don’t have to limit the definition of bots to just answering questions and reminding essential dates. Harjeet Khanduja, VP HR, Reliance Jio says, “Our customer onboarding happens in 5 minutes, and so we target doing employee onboarding in 5 mins as well. Today we do it in 90 seconds. And we did this with the help of bots. Our bots make sure that documents submitted by the employees are right. Additionally, it ensures that the data filled in our system is the same as the one submitted. Thus, we have gone beyond the traditional definition of bots.” The idea is whatever you’re doing for your customers should first be done with your employees. If your employees are not ready to go digital, your customers never will be.
Chatbots need to be used to extract queries and solve them internally and not just limit it to answering. The problem is that most of the organizations depend on generic training, which isn’t of much help, and chatbots can solve this. Build them in a way to resolve queries in real-time. Thus, learning is targeted at what the employees are searching for and not everything and anything. For example, every company has a sales team, and they are asked to record their pitches for feedback. But the problem lies in who is going to listen to these videos? Instead install a bot that can analyze the pitching delivery, face recognition, etc. and the feedback provided is in-depth and accurate.
When you are trying to introduce such bots and AI systems, you are sure to face significant challenges. One of the biggest ones is data-privacy and to make sure employees are comfortable sharing their information. To do this, make sure you ensure complete safety and involve employees in understanding why and how will this data be put to the right use.
(This article is based on a panel discussion on Leveraging HR bots to revolutionize employee experience conducted during People Matters TechHR2019.)