Artificial intelligence is transforming our lives at home and at work. At home, already 1.8 million people use Amazon’s Alexa to control the lights and unlock their car and in total, Alexa is touted as having more than 3,000 skills and growing daily. This is just amazing. Along with it, in the workplace, artificial intelligence is evolving into an intelligent assistant to help us work smarter. Artificial intelligence is not the future of the workplace, it is the present and it’s happening today!
And just as marketers have discovered the power of chatbots to personalize a shopping experience, HR leaders are starting to pilot chatbots to transform the employee experience. In fact, investments in AI have accelerated from $282 million in 2011 to $2.4 billion in 2015, a 746% increase in five years. In 2016, this continued to increase with roughly another $1.5 billion being invested in more than 200 AI-focused companies in 2016. And this trend looks like is not going to stop anytime soon.
Why is everyone shifting towards AI?
Immediacy is one reason why a host of consumer brands are building AI into their products. More than 22% of millennials expect a response within 10 minutes of reaching out to a consumer brand. The solution: consumer brands are increasingly turning to chatbots to offer 24×7 service, rapidly engage with consumers and answer their questions. For example, Staples now uses machine learning to automate ordering and customer service, engaging customers in real time through their Facebook Messenger app.
And it’s not just millennials who expect instant answers. All of us have become digital consumers: according to Gartner, nearly $2 billion in online sales were performed exclusively through mobile digital assistants in 2016.
So, is AI already become essential? Will we consider it unthinkable not to use intelligent assistants to transform recruiting, HR service centers, and learning and development? It really looks like the answer is yes! HR leaders will need to begin experimenting with all facets of AI to deliver value to their organizations. As intelligent assistants become more widely used in our personal lives, we will expect to see similar usage in the workplace.
For employees, chatbots deliver an unmatched level of employee experience, from real time answers for HR questions to personalized learning and development. In addition, they are critically important to the 3.7 million workers, or 2.8% of the workforce, who work remotely at least half time and do not have easy access to an HR department.
For HR leaders, chatbots are well suited to improving talent acquisition and on-boarding processes by increasing speed and providing greater consistency in answering frequently asked HR questions, improving the talent acquisition process, and enhancing the online learning experience.
Chatbots Will Answer Frequently Asked Employee Questions
Let’s consider Jane, a chatbot created by Loka, in 2014. Jane provides real time answers to a range of HR questions, including, “Are we off on President’s Day?”. Jane is capable of answering any question and answer set that can be stored in a database. Another value of Jane is the opportunity to track employee issues using real time analytics and then apply sentiment analysis to address these issues. Let’s say that a majority of employees are asking questions about late payments for travel reimbursements. This data can indicate something in the system isn’t working correctly. Before things become a full blown issue, HR leaders can uncover the issue and communicate a solution.
Granted there will be questions Jane can not answer yet, but the opportunity is here to provide AI for all types of HR related questions that might be coming into your HR Service Center.
Chatbots Could Also Improve Talent Acquisition
Talent acquisition and new hire on-boarding are ripe areas where intelligent assistants can tap multiple data sources to develop candidate profiles, schedule interviews, and make decisions about prospective job candidates.
There are already chatbots designed to augment the HR processes that source job candidates: an intelligent assistant can be able to augment a mid level HR professionals’ job so he/she can focus on more strategic HR issues.
A chatbot would save many hours in recruiting and on-boarding new hires and would enhance the employee experience, and we all know that improving talent acquisition and new hire on-boarding is a priority for CHROs! Well, it looks like that for an HR professional, AI can really be of huge help.
Is your HR function ready for this transformation? What new skills will HR team members need to acquire to take advantage of using AI in HR?