The Pandemic’s unexpected toll on HR Teams

Among many Industries that COVID19 affected negatively, there seem to be only a few that escaped unscathed. Retail has emerged with its 3X growth stories with their customers swiftly moving online from in-store shopping. This has meant a lot of “Hurrah” from management teams in the industry but also meant an unforeseeable problem for one department in particular. The HR department. Their job became 24/7 and started from before teams went into the mass WFH models, ensuring employees always had the right information, always ready to answer their queries. Within weeks, HR teams were struggling to cope with a deluge of queries and requests, often from across time zones. Forward-thinking companies have turned to chatbots to ease the pressure.

In a call with an HR Manager last month from one of the UK’s biggest grocery chain, we asked the question,

“So, how many of these questions that your employees are asking can be answered from inside the FAQs?”

The HR Manager didn’t hesitate a second before responding.

“At least 70%”

Build a business case

The technology underpinning chatbots can create 2 distinct types of solutions, often best used as Stage 1 and Stage 2 in sequential order. The first one, an easy, quick chatbot that answers all the questions answers to which already exist in the organization’s knowledge base, FAQs, policies, information about COVID, etc. This frees up teams to tackle more complex questions and keeps information up to date. The latter is extremely important in a pandemic where information and advice are changing fast.

The second is breed is sophisticated chatbots that mine data that they are fed to provide dynamic responses. These chatbots connected to an organization’s backend HR software systems like Oracle Human Capital Management( HCM) or Workday, PeopleSoft whether on-premises or on the cloud. They provide a truly “intelligent” support: understanding employees’ intentions, fetching data from the backend, and giving the right answers.

Starting small

When an organization has not tried the chatbot technology before, it is imperative to start small and build a business case and get all stakeholders on the same page. This is why an FAQ bot is the best place to start.

It easily automates all questions like:

When can I come to the office again?
Where is my payslip for August?
How many leaves do I have left?

These FAQ bots however simple, act as a mighty 1st line of support digital agents. They respond to employee queries 24/7 and give a sense of immediate resolution.

Grow and scale

The next step is to give a real brain to your bot by connecting it to your systems. Here is where the real fun happens. The bot can personalize conversations, understand and measure employee engagement, morale, and give the HR Team insights into the exact areas to work upon.

Regardless of breed, chatbots have proved their worth during the pandemic. They have enabled the HR department to engage with employees to avoid lengthy wait times for straightforward queries.

Chatbots are here to stay, and we will see smarter, more responsive chatbots appearing, exploiting more sophisticated AI in the near future.

So where can you actually use an HR chatbot?

With entire workforces away from offices and working from home, technology like chatbots helps HR Managers stay connected to their employees. In the post-pandemic world, chatbots can help HR departments in the recruitment and on-boarding processes.

Recruitment Bots

Recruitment bots are almost like a 24/7 assistant to a Hiring Manager. They can help candidates in the Hiring process by guiding them through it.

All those emails and calls about “Wanted to check my application status” can be fully automated and handled by chatbots in a personalized way on-demand.

Onboarding Chatbots

Onboarding bots can engage with candidates and prepare them better for a career at the organization.

They can simplify processes like finding vacancies, sending reminders to candidates, and ensuring a good candidate is never misses a relevant vacancy.

Of course, chatbots will not replace the human touch in HR. On the contrary. They will enable HR teams to focus far more on complex resourcing issues in companies and better assist employees in their career paths.

BotSupply is hosting a series of Webinars focusing on the solutions that chatbots can provide to HR Teams within the Retail Industry.

Join us in the conversation and register for “The Future of HR Series”


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