This is a statement I find myself repeating over and over again lately. The more I speak with large enterprise businesses, the truer I find this statement to be.
Why is this relevant? Because while most people think of customer service when you talk to them about automating enquiries, I believe the real way to revolutionise a business is initially through an HR chatbot.
Your employees are your most loyal customers. Even if they don't all physically buy your product or service, they are customers of your brand. They represent your brand. They are your brand.
As such, in my opinion, your employees should be the first to enjoy the power of a chatbot. And what better department than HR to do this?
In this article, I will go over deploying a chatbot in HR. I will cover why it makes sense to do so. I will also share a few case studies, stats and numbers, and, ideally, leave you with a plan to implement an HR chatbot into your own organisation.
Why chatbots in the HR department?
Chatbots are hot right now. Everyone is talking about them in every sector, every department, for every use case.
So why am I talking about human resources? Why not customer service, marketing, or even sales?
Second, I believe from my introduction you can suss out my interest for this particular application of our chatbots. Let me expand with four distinct reasons why I believe a chatbot for HR makes a lot of sense.
Love thy employee
Our society is changing. The effect smartphones, lightning speed internet, and infinite access to knowledge have made us impatient.
The millennial generation wants everything now. Waiting is particularly not part of their vocabulary.
A millennial sending an email to HR with a question and having to wait three days for an answer? Forget about it. This results in staff feeling unloved and under appreciated.
The HR department is at the very core of all businesses. It is the engine that powers everything. Any company with over 10-15 employees could simply not function without an HR team.
Deploying an HR chatbot, therefore, makes sense because it is a way to reach every side of the business. If you were to bring chatbot technology to your company, doing so through your HR department is a surefire way to get everyone to adopt the idea of a chatbot, get accustomed to interacting with machines, before moving on to other departments.
An easy business case
Whatever company you work for, whichever department you are in, if you are looking to bring in a chatbot you are going to have to put a business case together (unless you are the CEO with direct access to the credit card, in which case we can get started now).
In one of the recent business cases we put together for the HR department of a large design agency, we calculated that by shaving off five minutes from each HR staff per week the company would save £70,418 per year. And that was phase one of our development plan, meaning we would then enter two more phases of improving the chatbot thus reducing even more time and saving even more cash.
It can't get much easier than this.
Company-facing chatbots are less risky
Chatbot technology is new. It frightens some, worries others. What if the chatbot starts going off on racist tangents? What if it starts sending the same message over and over again on loop to everyone who interacts with it?
Obviously, these are things a leading chatbot company shouldn't let happen. There should be systems in place that prevent these from happening.
My point here, however, is one we have mentioned quite a few times already. By deploying a company-facing chatbot, you can bypass all these potential issues. You are safe within the confined environment of your own business. You can even release access to the chatbot to specific teams, specific employees, specific tasks.
You are in control.
In phase two or three, you can maybe start releasing customer-facing features of your chatbots. At that point, you should be more confident in its abilities and the fact that it won't just go off doing random things.
How can chatbots help HR?
As you can imagine, we are confronted with lots of chatbot ideas every day. Since over half of the enquiries we get are HR-related, I thought I'd cherry pick of few of them for you. Hopefully, these will inspire you to implement something in your own company.
Candidate vetting tool
To some of the largest companies, putting a 'candidate wanted' ad out there is like opening floodgates. Enquiries about the position just keep on pouring. Over 80% of them are from people completely unqualified asking questions about the job offer.
I can give you a real-life example we have worked on. In this particular instance, we worked with a UK police department. Metropolitan police advertise jobs all the time and whenever they do get seriously overwhelmed with enquiries.
We worked on a solution that allows them to automate the better part of these enquiries. Questions like 'Do I need a diploma to apply?', 'When do applications close?', 'What is the offered salary?'.
Of course, the most common request we get is to build a chatbot capable of answering most company policy questions.
It is an effective way for a business to save a lot of time and money. When you know an average HR rep spends 30 to 50% of their time answering repetitive questions about the company's policies, answers the employees could read themselves, you can see the power of automating those.
Remember the business case point I made earlier? This is an easy place to apply this simple formula. Money invested in chatbots versus time saved.
I recently wrote an article about chatbots in education. In it, I posited that chatbots could be a tremendous learning tool to offer students. Aside from homework, a chatbot could be there to answer the students' questions, randomly quiz them, and help them move through the curriculum.
This is extremely valid for new recruits as well. New recruits need to learn about the job they are going to perform but also about the company they've just joined, its culture, and its people.
A chatbot could be the right aid to take a new recruit from knowing no one to finally familiarise themselves with the company.
Chatbots are helping businesses in all sorts of ways. To most, the HR department makes an obvious starting point.
A chatbot for HR ticks all the right boxes. It is internal (less risk), an instant help (perfect for millennials), and never wrong (consistently fed the latest policies).
It's extremely easy to figure out whether a chatbot makes sense or not for your HR team. What would you do with 50% of your HR team's time back? How much money would that save you? How would immediacy impact the happiness of your employees?