5 Use Cases for Intelligent Virtual Assistants in HR
Review five use cases for Intelligent Virtual Assistants; how Conversational AI helps HR departments save time and deliver a better employee...
Find out how Conversational AI helps HR departments prepare for the upcoming challenges of 2023 and set-up their organizations for the future of work.
We've been through a lot in the last three years: a global health scare, widespread digitalization of most aspects of life, a shift to remote work, then to hybrid models, economic uncertainty, and geopolitical concerns. The rhythm of change has been relentless for businesses, and a peaceful return to normalcy is nowhere in sight in the new year.
Since 2020, HR has been put to the test like never before. Human resources departments have been at the forefront of navigating change and ultimately assisting employees to thrive in novel working conditions in the context of massive corporate disruption. Many trends that have already impacted businesses will continue into the new year, while others will only now begin to impact daily operations.
Still reeling from the effects of the Great Resignation, HR must now prepare for the upcoming challenges of 2023: continued inflation and a potential global economic recession. In this context, HR will strengthen its strategic position to navigate these troubled waters and prepare organizations for the future of work.
HR is one of the most critical functions in any business. In general, HR leaders are responsible for a wide range of tasks, from attracting the right talent to growing and retaining it, as well as cultivating a positive culture and employee experience. All of these responsibilities are central to the company's operations and have a direct impact on the bottom line.
However, HR is also in charge of many administrative tasks that, while important in supporting employees and the organization's daily operations, are repetitive, mechanical, and require little creative input. As a result, they become tiresome for employees to perform regularly, negatively impacting employee satisfaction.
The solution for allowing HR to focus its manpower and creativity on strategic tasks that can propel the company forward is to automate the more mundane tasks with the help of conversational AI. Conversational AI is the holy grail of process automation, allowing for a single, seamless, friendly interface with a low learning curve for anyone on your team. More importantly, it offers each employee a unique experience. HR typically needs to use several different systems to solve even the banalest tasks on their desks, like generating a report. An HR platform empowered by conversational business applications provides a front layer to all enterprise digital, allowing everyone to retrieve information or execute tasks efficiently and fast from one central platform.
Employee expectations have shifted in recent years, affecting companies' efforts to attract and retain talent. Every milestone, from a candidate's first impression to hiring and onboarding, career path and development, and then down to the decision to leave the company, is a critical experience that determines how they feel about their employer. Employees have become more demanding and are now looking more closely at companies prioritizing their well-being and development. Companies must take a more employee-centric approach to all HR-related processes and tools to create an overall employee experience that feels wholly tailored to an employee's personal and professional circumstances. As a result, the employee experience will be the top priority for almost half of all HR leaders in 2023.
Conversational AI can provide a more personalized employee experience from the employee's perspective, for example:
Regardless of the specific use case or whether you envision a larger conversational business application implementation, the benefits outweigh the costs. It is a powerful strategy for ensuring employee satisfaction.
"Quiet quitting" is a phenomenon that is currently affecting workplaces all over the world. This is when people only do the bare necessities of their jobs. They are disengaged with their organization and unhappy in their role but are unwilling or unable to find a new job that meets their needs. Thus, whereas last year's focus was on hiring, today's HR teams are particularly focused on investing in the talent they already have and ensuring high employee engagement rates. Of course, engagement is not a new topic. Indeed, it has been a major part of the HR conversation for decades. Its importance, however, has recently been highlighted, particularly as 2023 looms as a challenging year for businesses. Employee engagement ultimately correlates to retention, and with a recession on the horizon and a difficult labour market, most businesses would be wise to secure the team they currently have.
Understanding employees' frustrations, many of which currently relate to feeling disconnected from the rest of the team and the company, is key to keeping them happy. Companies are discovering that corporate culture matters in the context of new ways of working. Culture is more than a buzzword. It is a purposefully designed program that connects individual, team, and company performance. Employees want to feel like they are part of a cohesive team, especially during difficult times. Leaders must be deliberate not only in designing and implementing company culture but also in maintaining it.
Conversational AI assistants for employee engagement have been specifically trained and designed to mimic the role of HR professionals in a company. They make an excellent virtual assistant because they can communicate with employees via various online channels. These HR AI assistants are more knowledgeable than ever, thanks to the regular processing of millions of employee conversations. Since the pandemic outbreak, HR virtual assistants have taken over communication issues in many organizations, becoming the primary layer of conversation between employees and management. These intelligent virtual assistants are simple to integrate with existing systems and provide a much better user experience.
Employees who have a simplified, intelligent, quick, and conversational virtual assistant feel more connected to the company. In this context, these AI-powered conversational bots play an important role in reinforcing the company's culture and values by providing more frequent, meaningful, and personalized interactions that would be prohibitively expensive for HR staff to manage on their own. Furthermore, by being integrated into a messaging app that employees use on a daily basis, the HR conversational bots can constantly monitor how employees are doing and feeling. Alternatively, they can incorporate short satisfaction surveys or ratings into various conversations. They can generally reach out to employees proactively to elicit their feedback on policies or internal initiatives or simply improve their experience by providing useful reminders of events, meetings, or procedures that must be completed.
The transition to hybrid working models is one of the most significant changes implemented in the past two years and is likely to remain a daily reality for some time. This is related to the concept of the Future of Work, which refers to a broad range of organizational changes that will bring challenges and opportunities for how people work and interact in work environments in the coming years. At the moment, the future of work is synonymous with remote or hybrid work. However, no one has yet perfected the hybrid work experience - it's a vast new frontier for experimentation. Many surveys show that employees are unwilling to give up the flexibility and work-life balance they gain by not commuting to work daily. Companies that have decided to return to these rigid, pre-pandemic ways of working have a more difficult time recruiting and retaining employees.
At the same time, hybrid work introduces new HR challenges, such as establishing and maintaining trust, collaboration, and employee productivity. Conversational AI has the potential to vastly improve work-from-home environments by providing much-needed assistance with communications, collaboration, workflow management, and even security. According to an Accenture Research report, AI technology has the potential to double economic growth rates by 2035. With an expected 40% increase in labour productivity efficiency, AI appears set to not only facilitate the hybrid working environment but also maximize its potential by enabling employees to make the most of their time, skills, and resources.
Businesses can create an environment that gives employees more autonomy while still providing them with support from managers and colleagues by leveraging AI's automation, collaboration, and analytics capabilities. Workers will be able to take on more difficult tasks, increase their earning potential, and become better prepared for the future of work as a result.
Beyond HR, however, conversational AI produces results that are indistinguishable from those provided by a human. Most businesses will look to artificial intelligence (AI) in the future to open up new revenue, cost-cutting, and business-growth opportunities and allow them to adapt to market conditions faster and adopt more innovative operational models. Further, the next step in conversational AI applicability will be the rapid and smooth transition to conversational business applications - creating a single, unified user experience through the seamless interaction of multiple technologies brought to life by a conversational AI assistant. Conversational technology will evolve in a symbiotic relationship between people, systems, data, and processes to maximize productivity, efficiency, and usability.
One challenge for HR in 2023 will most likely be to assist employees in their quest for advancement. Employers have a responsibility to help employees advance in their careers because a lack of such opportunities is one of the reasons that 20% of employees are considering leaving their current employer.
According to a recent Gartner study, nearly all employees want to advance in their careers, and 44% believe their current employers do not provide compelling career opportunities. Employees understandably seek new opportunities for advancement elsewhere. Thus, companies that want to improve their retention rates must prioritize employee upskilling and career development in 2023. Today's employees aren't just looking for a job; they're looking for a clear career path. They want to improve their skills and positions and positively contribute to their employers. As a result, HR must capitalize on this need to retain their existing talent while fuelling passion, growth, and innovation.
Employee development is another factor influencing employee engagement, with studies showing that employees who see opportunities for advancement are more engaged. Training and development are required to ensure that employees remain productive and engaged at work. One of the primary reasons people leave an organization is a lack of training opportunities. For example, 21% of employees in Africa, 15% in South America, and 13% in Europe leave their jobs due to a lack of training opportunities.
Specially trained HR conversational assistants can assist businesses in scheduling, organizing, and delivering skill development training, ensuring employees receive the necessary professional development support. In fact, they can design a simple, user-friendly system in which employees can sort through many courses to find what they need. They communicate directly with the bot to find the best training for them and then proceed to upskill without manual intervention.
After more than 50 million workers in the United States alone resigned during what has become known as the Great Resignation, recruiting has become increasingly difficult. And the way most businesses recruit employees is insufficient. Flexible hours, higher pay, and robust benefits are the baseline, but they are insufficient to attract top talent. According to Gartner, 36% of HR leaders believe their recruiting strategies fall short of the skills they require. Regardless of broader macroeconomic conditions, recruitment remains a top priority for 46% of HR leaders, and 50% of organizations expect talent competition to increase significantly in the next six months. This means that recruiting leaders must reprioritize recruiting strategies to align with current business needs, plan for multiple possible scenarios in this changing market, and make data-driven decisions with confidence.
Recruiters spend a lot of time on the traditional recruiting process. Due to its inherent limitations, it may contain multiple bottlenecks, which can negatively impact the candidate experience. Recruiting AI virtual assistants can quickly sort through large amounts of CVs to find the most relevant ones. The communication between recruiters and selected candidates can then be automated. A conversational AI assistant can obtain candidates' contact information, arrange interviews, and ask basic questions about their experience and background after applying through career pages. They are the first point of contact with candidates and can gather detailed information about them. Conversational AI can make data-driven predictions about how well each applicant's experiences and skills match the company's needs based on information gleaned from candidates' resumes and chat conversations. By incorporating conversational AI directly into the recruitment workflow, HR professionals can enable more human interactions between the company and each candidate, shepherding applicants through the process with minimal intervention from recruiters.
Work has changed dramatically in recent years and will continue to change. As they face the challenges ahead, businesses will rely heavily on human resources and the talent and experience of their teams. Managers will focus on tightening their bonds with their employees to support growth and development as the employee experience takes centre stage in 2023.
Conversational AI assistants are an excellent HR tool, but they should be used to supplement rather than replace HR services. The challenge for businesses is to figure out how to use what technology has to offer to make each experience feel more human - without frustrating or adding friction for customers while also empowering employees. Companies can use conversational AI to transform customer and employee touchpoints into quick, meaningful, and rich interactions. Moreover, conversational business applications combine the power of conversational AI with full automation, allowing it to connect to a variety of enterprise systems and RPA technologies to complete more extended, more complex end-to-end business tasks – and can thus be the best way forward for companies looking to be best positioned for the future of work.
Review five use cases for Intelligent Virtual Assistants; how Conversational AI helps HR departments save time and deliver a better employee...
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