Out of all the chatbot enquiries we get, the significant majority are about automating human resources.
There is something about a chatbot taking over menial HR tasks that instantly clicks with big businesses. Why? Probably because it is one of the easiest areas in which a company can imagine a robot taking over. Probably also because it is a company-facing chatbot which means it is a 'less risky' deployment for the brand than a consumer-facing bot.
We will not debate these reasons in this article. Instead, I want to go over three ways chatbots are helping the HR department. I will pull specific examples from our experience working with clients.
Who knows, maybe you'll find some inspiration?
1. Chatbots are automating employee policy requests
This is probably the number one chatbot automation we have deployed in massive HR departments. It is extremely easy to understand why once you look a tiny bit deeper at the typical policy request situations.
What typically happens is John in sales wonders about his paternity leave rights.
John shuffles through the employee handbook he received when he first joined the company, then notices it was written in 2012. Useless.
John ventures to the company's HR portal and goes...
Confused John from sales
So, John picks up the phone and calls his friendly HR department. Lucy picks up. He asks his question.
She sighs, tells him he has the right to two weeks of paid paternity leave, reminds me he can find all this information in the HR portal himself, hangs up.
Now, according to our research, interactions like these fill up to 50% of HR personel's time. Not only do these distract Lucy, they also anger her ('why can't these people just read!?'), and they annoy John ('why can't these people make it more obvious!?').
A chatbot can easily take these off HR's hands. Instead of calling, John could log into the intranet portal and ask his friendly HR chatbot about his paternity leave policy. Meanwhile, Lucy can focus on what she's good at, i.e. anything but parroting answers from the employee handbook.
2. Chatbots are freeing up HR's time
Like I said previously, our research showed HR reps spend 30 to 50% of their day answering menial questions.
Knowing they have one of the most important jobs in the business (you know, actually making sure everything is running smoothly, no biggie), what do you think they could do when they get the 30-50% of their time back? Yeah, a whole lot of stuff.
Automating HR tasks doesn't replace them. None of the HR reps we interviewed saw chatbots or AI as a threat to their job. Instead, they see chatbots as an opportunity to increase their productivity and focus on the tasks that matter to them.
3. Chatbots are supporting HR onboarding
Onboarding new employees is regarded as one of the most important HR tasks in any business. It is a pivotal moment for any newcomer and a good or bad experience will influence the employee forever.
The problem is HR reps don't seem to get much time to do this properly anymore. Recent research by TotalJobs showed, on average, HR spend only 1.1% of their time onboarding new employees - crazy!
Only 1.1% of HR's precious time is spent on onboarding employees. (source)
So, how can chatbots help?
A chatbot is an always-on helper. Although you don't want to completely remove the human aspect of onboarding new employees, you can set up a 'company discovery' chatbot or a 'company culture' chatbot.
These would help newcomers figure out who is who in the company, who they should report to, who they need to talk to about specific tasks, where to find meeting rooms, all that sort of stuff. That is all part of being onboarded in a new company.
Instead of having them rely on taking it all in only using 1% of your time, offer them the 24/7 support they need to get familiar with your company.
I hope these sparked some inspiration. There are endless tasks chatbots can help us automate, freeing up human time to do the things that matter.