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HR Chatbots Are Here, Are You Ready?

By Michelle Glendinning, UK HR and Global Projects Lead Catalyst Technologies Divison, Johnson Matthey

Michelle Glendinning, UK HR and Global Projects Lead Catalyst Technologies Divison, Johnson Matthey

Fasten your seatbelts everyone. Change is coming, and it is coming quicker than you think.

Everyone seems to be talking about chatbots and it is reported in the Forrester survey that 85 percent of customer interactions within enterprise will be carried out by a bot in the next five years. Yet, we have not looked at this as a solution that will add value to our HR teams.

We are surrounded by change, and we are the people that support the business transformation programs. This means that often we are the last to change, and there is research to suggest falling behind in the adoption of some of the newest technology on the market around AI and Chatbots. As often the focus is on how these technologies can generate more revenue for the organization rather than how it can help operate more efficiently, reduce costs, and streamline time consuming human input.

If we are to change, we need to focus on the cost of the time our teams spend daily to answer the same policy, and frequently asked questions: How many times have you delivered the same induction presentation and on-boarding programme? How much time are you spending reviewing CV’s to screen applications? This can not only be de-motivating for your teams, but unnecessary as you could get a chatbot to do this for you, which is much quicker and more efficient.

ChatBots can reduce cost and save you lots of time, allowing your team to focus on the HR elements that add value to the business. I have seen how successful chatbots can be at dealing with customers enquires and questions, and many businesses reporting significant resource savings.

We need to lead the change from within HR to ensure that we get the value we want in return, and efficient operation of our teams.

What is not often understood about chatbots is that they can also learn and develop. There will be questions your bot cannot answer, and it will direct people to a member of the team for support. It will then log the response your team member gives so that the next time it will be able to answer the question by itself. You will also be able to get the analytics from the bot that will tell you the most frequently asked questions so you can then include in the induction or give managers more training in this area to support their people.

I have seen articles that suggest that having chatbots takes the human out of ‘Human Resourse’, how can that be? It is because they have the ability to give an immediate answer to many of the questions, sift and screen candidates far quicker than we ever could; reducing the cost and time to respond. If you had this time back, what could you do with it? Spend time talking to more people and engaging teams and leaders, focusing more time on development and talent that add value to the business rather than sitting behind a screen responding to instant messaging questions or emails typing the same responses.

Of course I do understand that there is degree of apprehension in handing over to a chatbot, and what does this mean for your team and will need to reduce your team. We are operating in a world today where we have to become more and more efficient to ensure that they are investing in the right areas to bring in revenue.

If you have questions or concerns about GDPR, there are many reputable companies suppling Chatbots that are fully compliant, do your research find a chatbot that fits and meets the needs of your business. They will need to be customised to your business and tailored to your policies.

Chat bots are here to stay, and they will get better and intelligent in the future. They will disrupt the way we are working today, but that is a good thing for us to rethink what and how we do. The world of HR needs to evolve at the speed of change around us, which is quicker than we have ever seen, so please get ready and embrace the changes ahead.

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