If you’re wondering how an HR chatbot would work, imagine this simple scenario:
Jane Employee: Hi, is May 1st a holiday?
HR chatbot: Our company observes the following holidays this year: [follows with list]
Jane Employee: I want to take some time off.
HR chatbot: Sure, please select the dates in the field below and click submit.
Notice how quick and easy that interaction was. The employee didn’t have to find the right person to ask and then wait for an answer or spend time digging in the company’s HRIS (HR Information System). An HR person didn’t receive a distracting ping with a basic question in the company’s messaging app. With the help of the HR chatbot, both workers saved time and effort.
You’ve probably heard of digital assistants like Alexa and Siri. Your HR chatbot might well be less intelligent than them, but it’s perfectly capable of answering questions, helping employees and directing them to HR for the most complex issues. It performs these tasks via understanding text or speech (e.g. using natural language processing).
HR departments spend most of their time on “transactional” tasks, like employee communications, onboarding, managing payroll– all activities that could be either fully or partially automated to free up HR’s time for the more strategic initiatives. In fact, HR professionals want to spend more time on professional development, training employees, and managing company culture instead.
An HR chatbot is part of automation efforts – and one that can be easily implemented, at least in its basic form.
HR chatbots have a number of benefits. They:
These benefits synthesize the one overarching purpose of HR automation: chatbots in HR are improving the employee experience. This means employees are more productive and feel happier at the company.
HR chatbots achieve this directly by streamlining communications with employees and indirectly by allowing HR to focus on improving the workplace. They’re also cost-effective since they’re always “on” but will only need to be set up once. Companies also save costs: employees won’t waste paid hours on tasks the chatbot can handle on its own.
That’s why companies have started implementing – and in some cases even created their own chatbots for employees: Unilever has Una, Segment created Spoke, and so on. Other businesses opt for ready-made tech they can train with their own data.
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Common situations, with examples of questions, that an HR chatbot can handle include:
To give you a better idea of how HR chatbots could work, have a look at these example scenarios:
These should give you an idea about what chatbots can do. They’re more than just Q&A tech. They can be a full-blown digital assistant for a number of functions.
Here are some scenarios where you might benefit from an HR chatbot (the list isn’t exhaustive):
Setting up a chatbot for HR or recruiting doesn’t have to be a dizzying, overly technical task. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Talk of automation has been around for years, but implementation hasn’t been as widespread as expected. According to Gartner, virtual assistants in Human Capital Management are in the early stages of adoption, expecting to reach maturity within 5 to 10 years. However, based on the same report, 35 percent of organizations will be using conversational user experience and natural language processing interactions in their talent acquisition process by 2022.
So, despite HR chatbots being somewhat behind compared to other technologies, they’re still expected to become the norm in a few years. And that, at least for now, is an opportunity: implementing a chatbot can translate into a competitive advantage in the next decade. If you want to give it a try, now is a good time.
Nikoletta is a Content Specialist at Acquire. She's a writer and editor with an avid interest in data, tech, communication, and the customer journey.