Chatbots - the HR tech to make you stand out

HR has often been a leader in tech adoption. This may come as a surprise as many have an antiquated image of HR - one that uses old, slow technology.

And yet over the decades HR leaders and chief experience officers have pushed the boundaries of tech adoption to manage, grow and support their workforce.

Whether it was with the fax machine in the 1960s, the first ERPs in the 1980s or the internet in the 1990s, forward-looking HR leaders were instrumental in the widespread value-adding technology within the business.

What will be the next piece of tech to make the experience of working at your company stand out?


HR leaders are betting on chatbots

In 2019, a ServiceNow survey found that 92% of HR leaders believed the future of providing an excellent employee experience will have to involve chatbots.

Rarely has any piece of software consumed the narrative of an almost entire industry.

There is no denying the expectations of HR have changed. Employees no longer see work as work. They see work as an intricate part of their lives, somewhere where they need to feel safe, appreciated, and valued. The old ways of supporting the workforce no longer do the trick.

So how do HR leaders use chatbots to deliver the experience today's workforce demands?


Solving shared services' most pressing challenge

In many businesses, the HR department is, above all, a resource centre. It's a place employees can go to ask all their questions. Unfortunately, in most companies, this is all HR ends up being.

With a shared service team bombarded by thousands of emails, tickets, and phone calls from the workforce every month, little else can be achieved. Even answering these requests within their service level agreements is farfetched.

HR directors and CHROs who often drive chatbot adoption within a business turn to new technologies to solve this simple problem.

It turns out that approximately 40% of the emails, tickets, and phone calls HR get can be automated with a simple HR chatbot.


Automated and streamlined processes

Chatbots have the innate capability of taking processes and automating them. If built on the right platform, they can connect with external data sources to replicate even the most complex (yet repetitive and mundane) processes.

An HR chatbot can, for instance, help employees book time off, submit expenses, provide feedback in 360 reviews and collect personal data during the employee onboarding process.

The benefit of automating is three-fold.

First, it saves HR staff's precious time. Humans are not made to mindlessly collect data from one form and put it into another. Computers are. Let the chatbot do it.

Second, it saves employees' precious time. Sending an email (for worse, a fax) to HR to request time off, wait three days, get rejected, do the same process again, get it booked. It’s inefficient, frustrating, and, frankly, unnecessary given the technology we have at our disposal.

Third, it ensures continuity and conformity. When the machine does it, there are no human errors. Processes are followed to the tee -- just what you need for admin processes.


The right time to be forward-looking

When was it the right time to adopt the fax machine? What about the internet? When was it the right time to purchase an ERP or build an intranet?

When is it the right time to invest in chatbot and AI technology?

The answer to all these questions is the same: as early as possible.

In the early 1990s, companies like Pfizer, Dell, and Hewett-Packard were among the first to adopt new HR technology.

The rise of chatbot adoption within HR departments is undeniable. Some might even say businesses implementing such technology in 2021 will no longer be 'early'. Soon, they'll be catching up.

Jacob Lucas is marketing executive at ubisend.


Further reading:

Could bots help to solve employee mental health problems?

Alpha mail: AI learns to write

Levelling the playing field: bias in AI