Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been in the spotlight for years, with many analysts and industry experts heralding its normalisation within businesses as the industrial revolution 4.0. Yet so far, the application of AI has been limited to customer-facing processes. This is perhaps because of its ability to improve customer experience and as a result directly improve competitive advantage and profitability.
Due to the focus on front-office facing applications of AI, the HR department and the associated employee processes have until now largely been overlooked as a candidate for the technology. However, the recent challenges of the past year, with more and more employees working remotely in combination with the changing role of HR, have brought the function into central focus for AI transformation.
There is still, however, some understandable reluctance from the HR community to adopt AI technologies. HR by its very nature is people centric. With the need for making a human connection intrinsic to the role and for supporting employees throughout their lifecycle. There is, therefore, justifiable concern that AI will make HR too transactional and robot-like – alienating HR Teams from employees and creating even greater isolation.
Contrary to this belief, AI is not designed to replace “humans” within the HR function, but rather to augment and empower them. Despite, what the movies and the media have been portraying for decades, AI does not eradicate humans.
What is AI?
AI means different things to different people. A recent conversation between our CEO and a seasoned HR professional resulted in discovering that AI to him meant ‘Artificial Insemination’. Although correct in some contexts, when applied to a business scenario AI is the application of intelligent algorithms and approaches such as Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to automate manually intensive tasks. These technology applications enable businesses to apply AI in a much more focused and narrow way to deliver digital transformation and significant efficiencies to their processes.
How is AI applied for HR?
Technology platforms, such as Conversational AI Assistants enable HR teams to enhance employee support by providing a single point of contact for all of their requests and information. Conversational Assistants enable employees to ask questions and perform tasks associate with every stage of the employee lifecycle such as recruitment, onboarding, learning and development, day-to-day support such as booking holidays, submitting timesheets and payroll inquiries, employee feedback, and even offboarding processes.
Delivering an average of 30%-time savings to HR teams through automating up to 80% of inbound employee queries and improving the employee experience through providing on-demand support in seconds.
Through deploying combinations of AI technologies such as Conversational AI and RPA, HR teams can streamline the processing of manually intensive and repetitive tasks. Delivering further time savings and efficiencies. For example, a global manufacturer deployed Humley’s Conversational Assistant in combination with UiPath RPA to automate the processing of its employee travel bookings significantly improving employee experiences and generating time savings for the HR Team by reducing the amount of repetitive manual data entry previously required.
The Assistant guides customers or employees through a series of questions to complete forms or make travel bookings – converting the unstructured human responses into structured machine-readable data for upload into business systems by RPA bots and triggering further actions such as automated approvals emails.
AI reduces human bias in the decision-making process of the HR department. Also, it helps individuals make quick decisions in their daily lives. By taking over HR’s responsibility to observe and analyse each employee, gaining more insights about employees can be more manageable.
Pre-built dashboards within platforms such as Humley’s Conversational Assistant mean that HR Teams can track metrics such as FAQs triggered, employee feedback, and the volume of communications received. These metrics provide HR experts with an insight into employee satisfaction and proactively help to identify trends that could impact the long-term success of an organisation.
Putting the human back into HR
Technology applications such as conversational AI are great tools for providing employees with on-demand support and information, however, they do not replace interpersonal and empathetic traits that are intrinsic to the HR role. This is why many applications are built with the option for more complex employee queries to be seamlessly handed over to a real person – these inquiries require the ‘human touch and it is only through streamlining repetitive tasks and queries that HR Teams can be freed up to focus on these more important areas of employee support.
AI applications, therefore, empower HR teams by extending their capabilities, freeing them up from repetitive administration tasks to focus on dealing with complex and sensitive issues, building relationships with employees, and developing support structures for the workforce in the coming years.
To find out more about Conversational AI Assistants for HR, get in touch today.