2021 – The Year of HR

The role of HR has been evolving for as long as it has existed. Adapting its approaches with new people management theories, increasing digitally savvy employees, and organisational strategies, with COVID-19 accelerating these changes in demands more rapidly than anything before. 

2021 will see the HR function continue to grow in importance for organisations and become a fundamental part of their strategies.  

Organisations and Management Boards are more reliant than ever on HR teams to ensure that employees are motivated and engaged to ensure productivity and long-term success. With many organisations now facing a new way of working because of the pandemic, 2021 will see the HR function continue to grow in importance for organisations and become a fundamental part of their strategies.  

This blog will explore some of the key focus areas for HR teams as we progress further into the new year and how technology can support them in championing the employee. 

Championing Employee Wellbeing

Employee mental health and wellbeing has risen up the corporate agenda in recent months as a consequence of the isolation created by remote working. Exactly what and how organisations should support their employees is a moving target for HR teams.

Humley recently ran a survey of UK employees asking about their thoughts on working from home. The results present an interesting dilemma – a massive 91% of those surveyed wanted to continue working from home or remotely some or all the time. However, 69% said their wellbeing and mental health had been moderately to severely impacted by remote working. Add to that 25% citing low motivation and 31% feeling a lack of connectivity with their colleagues and the challenge becomes all too clear.

The Role of Conversational AI Assistants in Employee Mental Health

So, if we agree that the working environment has changed for good, then organisations need to look to technology as an enabler to help with the wellbeing challenges faced by employees. Technologies such as Conversational AI Assistants provide employees with an anonymous platform for seeking help, providing employees with the on-demand support and information they need, whilst also freeing up HR Teams to focus on spending time with employees and understanding their world.

69% of employees said their wellbeing and mental health had been moderately to severely impacted by remote working.

Additionally, the Conversational Assistant’s use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) means it can understand and identify employee sentiment within conversations and can be used to flag concerns, prompting human intervention. For example, this could be as simple as repeated negativity identified in employee responses triggering a notification to be sent to a team leader with a recommendation to check-in. Or more complex analysis of interactions and conversation trends that help HR Teams to identify potential mental health and stress related issues before they arise.

Championing Employee Engagement

The link between employee engagement and productivity is widely acknowledged, with one study by Gallup finding that on average an organisation’s sales increased by 20% when employees were more engaged at work. The question, is, therefore, not why employee engagement is important, but rather how do HR teams develop effective engagement strategies. This is crucially important in the world of remote work because it is more difficult to engage with employees in face-to-face conversations and the usual physical touchpoints. 

A good communication strategy is key, and many HR teams are already collaborating with Marketing departments to develop effective ways to share messaging, updates, and information. However, a large part of communication and engagement strategies is also how information is delivered to employees to support their roles and daily operations. In many cases, employees are required to access multiple systems, documents, or points of contact to get the information that they need, which can often create delays, misinformation, and frustration leading to disengagement. 

In many cases, employees are required to access multiple systems, documents, or points of contact to get the information that they need.

Conversational AI Assistants can again be deployed by HR Teams to support employee engagements by enabling employees to access the information they need and even perform tasks such as booking holiday, 24/7, and in the channels they use. Delivering responses in seconds, significantly improving their experience and engagement levels. Additionally, Conversational Assistants provide organisations with a tool for delivering consistent communications and messaging to employees – ensuring that strategies are shared and understood by everyone – promoting a positive culture and increasing engagement and productivity. 

In conclusion, with such a fundamental shift in thinking towards an organisation’s relationship with its employees, HR will cement its position as the cornerstone for driving future success through championing the employee. 

If you would like to find out more about how Conversational AI Assistants can support your HR Team and employees, get in touch today. 

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