Chatbots for HR – A Sneak Peek Into the Future

Preeti Sharma
Content Marketing Executive

5th January, 2019

Human Resources, as a function, is briskly evolving across industries. From being just a transactional, paper pushing entity to earning a seat at the executive table as a tactical partner, Human Resources has traveled a long way.

Human Resources, as a function, is briskly evolving across industries. From being just a transactional, paper pushing entity to earning a seat at the executive table as a tactical partner, Human Resources has traveled a long way. As a result, the way the HR teams are organized has changed too over the years. The most recent structural change related to HR that took most companies by storm was the advent of the HR Shared Service philosophy. This concept outlined by Dave Ulrich, a professor at the University of Michigan, highlighted the need for an HR Service Center that handles routine tasks. 

One of the key gains of establishing an HR Service Center was to give HR staff who are directly involved with the business (also called HR Business Partners or HRBPs) enough bandwidth to take on a more strategic role. While this is a great idea, there is still scope for more refinement especially in light of the technological advancements in the field of Artificial Intelligence. The next wave of change in the HR world will bring along with it a radical makeover for the HR Service Center and the way it functions at present. By designing intelligent chatbots to support the front office with specific activities, it is possible to enhance the overall efficiency of the HR Service Center. The front office will, therefore, be able to take on the remaining operational tasks from the HRBPs’ plates too.

Here is a sneak peek into the way in which chatbots will be able to create a positive change in the HR Service space:

  1. Employee Query Management - Chatbots can be very useful in helping employees get answers to questions related to company policies. These kinds of queries are typically addressed by the front office today and make up for a big chunk of their daily work. Chatbots can be programmed in a way to understand what is being asked and provide relevant answers.
  2. Benefits Management - Companies today offer multifaceted benefit plans that require a great deal of paperwork to be completed and submitted on time. Chatbots can help in this area too by providing employees step by step assistance in completing the enrollment process.
  3. Performance Reviews – Cumbersome annual performance reviews can be a thing of the past with the introduction of chatbots in this field. Real-time feedback and insights on how to improve performance at work can all be provided by sophisticated chatbots instead. Such a change will reduce the burden on HRBPs as well as the front office staff.
  4. Employee Grievance Management – Chatbots like Spot [2] that are helping HR tackle sexual harassment and discrimination at work by encouraging employees to come forward and report such incidents without the fear of stigma show how artificial intelligence can make employee grievance resolution a smoother process. Chatbots can also help in registering complaints and analyzing them to pinpoint areas that need improvement.

Chatbots are an eventuality that we cannot look away from today. The most vital thing to keep in mind while introducing them in the HR world is to avoid giving employees a notion that the quintessential human touch which is characteristic of the HR department, is being wiped off. If chatbots are interpreted as staff augmenters and not staff replacers, they will be much more successful in improving the current position of the HR department.


References:

  1. http://www.eajournals.org/wp-content/uploads/History-Evolution-and-Development-of-Human-Resource-Management-A-Contemporary-Perspective.pdf
  2. http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20180315-how-chatbots-could-replace-your-hr-department

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