November 1, 2019
AI and HR: Will AI Chatbots Replace the Employee Handbook?
AI chatbots can improve how HR policies are organized and stored by allowing employees to read and acknowledge policies with an AI chatbot during onboarding and by directing employees to specific policies in its responses.
“With the integration of machine learning, AI chatbot technology is now opening up to human resource departments ripe for intelligent automation. This technological advancement falls in line with recent trends and changing employee demographics, with the increase of millennial and Generation Z employees in the workforce.
Among the first companies to use a chatbot for its employees was Kimberly-Clark. The company saw great results, with its helpline receiving 2.5 times more questions and employees initiating more than 3,000 chats. Thus, it begs the question of what additional benefits AI chatbots could provide for HR purposes.
Typically, HR departments have countless policies, procedures and instructions to guide employees. However, these policies are only effective when employees know they exist, where to find them and what they require. AI chatbots can improve how HR policies are organized and stored by allowing employees to read and acknowledge policies with an AI chatbot during onboarding and by directing employees to specific policies in its responses. Think Alexa, but with your entire handbook in its memory bank.
This essentially on-demand service can help better engage and support employees’ day-to-day decision-making by providing helpful information in real time. AI chatbots can also provide a multimedia experience that allows for interactive searches and directs employees to training videos or policies.
AI chatbots can provide instant responses any time of day to common questions while also promptly addressing more complex reports with care. By being the first point of contact for employee concerns or questions, AI chatbots can help remove both real and perceived barriers. For example, to allow for open-ended reporting, an AI chatbot can ask basic questions like, “Tell us what happened.”
Using such questions, Convercent saw approximately 70 percent more text in reporting descriptions across its roughly 6.7 million customers. Such reports and information can then be escalated and passed along to HR or other management trained to appropriately handle such issues. This means that AI chatbots have the potential to increase internal reports of problems and prompt resolutions of those problems, thereby increasing employee satisfaction.
AI chatbots can provide further benefits when integrated with internal systems that will allow them to retrieve specific information about the inquiring employee. For example, an AI chatbot could tell an inquiring employee how much vacation they have accrued and help submit a request on the spot, or a chatbot could relay that an employee is too sick to report to work. Unlike traditional HR departments that are only open during operating hours, this would allow employees access to more adaptive self-service 24/7 without waiting. This would also allow HR personnel to focus on employees’ more complex and pressing issues, while the AI chatbot addresses more routine requests.
AI chatbots can also include back-end features that provide certain data to the company. For example, they could keep an accurate record of all conversations and alert company leaders to potential issues by notifying of uptick in certain activity – imagine if a company knew there was a 25 percent increase by staff in a particular department or office accessing the harassment policy last week. AI chatbots are also able to gather information on how employees feel about the company by using sentiment analysis, which may help retain talent and prevent employee turnover.”
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