Bye-Bye HR, Welcome Bots

800 300 Kanhai Chhugani

Kunal (28), a sales executive wanted to apply for a long leave of absence for his sister’s wedding. Rather than schedule a meeting with the HR, fill out tedious forms, and wait a week for confirmation, Kunal assigned the task to an HR bot.

Sounds incredible!

It’s true.  Kunal logged on to www.nlpbots.com, a Pune-based company that puts Artifical Intelligence (AI) to work in providing a chat-based interface for managing routine administrative tasks that are so repetitive in nature these can easily be delegated to computer programs.

Stripped of all jargon, an internet bot (short for robot) is a piece of a software that runs automated tasks for the user. To enrich user experience, these software pieces can be automated to converse and handle small transaction’s on the employee’s behalf; are 24 hours at your beck and call; support natural language search and knowledge-sharing; efficiently use applications like Active Dictionary, Slack, Skype for Biz; Sharepoint etc; and can be integrated with intranet, web, app and various social media platforms.

Bots are very hot in HR, where routine administrative tasks such as leave management, payroll administration, redressing routine employee grievances, conducting surveys, taking feedback and such can easily be assigned to pre-programmed bots. In some companies, they prefer to give names, such as Geeta, Mahesh or John etc to create a personalized experience for the employees.

If we were worried that increasing automation is robbing the ‘touch and feel’ component of HR functionaries, in come bots to restore that loss. A chat bot in that sense can play a crucial role in taking some of the workload off from the HR team on one hand; and yet keep them engaging with the employees on the other, with the help of these bots.

There is a strong possibility that the next time you’re hired at a job, you might have to interact with a bot who may be assigned to answer all your queries related to your entitlements, such as  payroll, vacations, insurance, appraisals, medical expenses etc. Some believe that deployed intelligently, bots make internal communications between employees, smoother, easier, and cost-effective.

Chatbots appeared on the scene in 2011 as business intelligence, artificial intelligence and messaging technology clubbed into a new form of responsive technology. With our changing communication patterns, they now find great application in customer support and human resource management. Let’s take a look at how chatbots have invaded the HR domain and appropriated some of the space earlier occupied by humans.

Staying connected on the go

Through bots employees remain constantly connected with their HR on their mobile devices. Shoot an instant message and receive an instant response. Bingo!

Provide quick and customized responses

Job seekers and employees often pose repeat questions, answering which is a task that can easily and effectively be delegated to the machine.  Chatbots can provide quick and customized answers in such situations.

Annual performance reviews

AI-empowered bots can be used to fill out questionnaires, surveys, and long forms at the end of a performance year, while your HR concentrates on more strategic tasks.

Collect employee data for process overhaul

Chatbots don’t just respond. They also collect information. They can be used to gather employee data, with which senior management can take informed decisions and improve their existing processes.

Chatbots collect real-time analysis to see what kind of questions employees ask frequently. And from these FAQs, the HR can complete their diagnostics, determine what’s wrong and fix the issue.

In short, till we get true replicas of human assistance, all mundane tasks can be assigned to HR bots, while your staff does strategic thinking.