Partner & Research Director, STL Partners
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the new buzz word among HR professionals. There is an increased awareness on AI and usage of Chatbots among several HR professionals.
Here I explain about artificial intelligence and Chatbots in simpler terms:
According to the father of Artificial Intelligence, John McCarthy, it is “The science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs”.
Artificial Intelligence is a way of making a computer, a computer-controlled robot, or a software think intelligently, in the similar manner the intelligent humans think.
AI is accomplished by studying how human brain thinks, and how humans learn, decide, and work while trying to solve a problem, and then using the outcomes of this study as a basis of developing intelligent software and systems.
Chatbots are nothing but an interactive application which automates and handle the repetitive tasks by eliminating manual intervention.
How Artificial Intelligence and chatbots can enable and transform HR?
Artificial intelligence and Chatbots can transform and increase efficiency of the HR department by taking over the repetitive tasks in the following areas:
Talent Acquisition: Attracting, engaging and hiring is the big task for any HR department. Artificial intelligence can be used in increasing candidate experience and candidate engagement – answering of FAQ’s on job, interview process and company policies; Pre-screening of candidates and give the best fit based on the job descriptions and a questionnaire; Interview scheduling made easy with calendar integration and conversing with candidates.
On-boarding: Converse and educate new hires on first day form filing, FAQ’s on company policies, procedures, benefits enrollment and provide information on various aspects of company.
HR operations: Interacting and providing answers on various aspects like leave, benefits availing, grievances on payroll, benefits and welfare schemes, help completing the self-assessment reviews.
Surveys: Interacting, guiding and collecting information through small surveys on various aspects of Organization like on employee satisfaction surveys or annual surveys.
Pros and cons of chatbots in HR
Lot of people think that HR chatbots will replace HR department, which is very absurd. These are used to streamline certain HR activities (which are repetitive) to enhance candidate / employee experience.
Always online: Chatbots are always available and operate 24/7.
Fast with data: The more the information is fed the more accurate it will become. Accurate data increases the fastness and efficiency in handling the FAQ of employees and candidates.
Handle repetitive tasks efficiently and save time: Handle various repetitive tasks effectively and efficiently leaving HR representatives focus on the high-end, complex and strategic tasks.
Collect and store data in patterns: Chatbots can collect, store and arrange data in required patterns with less of human intervention.
Just like any other aspect has pros, HR chatbots has cons as well.
No human touch and can never replace human involvement: Chatbots are not humans. Chatbots do not have emotions and can never replace human involvement.
Not all chatbots are equal: Chatbots are developed based on the algorithms written by software professionals and the accuracy of data provided by HR professionals. Each chatbot may or may not be equal to the other in terms of functioning, expertise and efficiency. Their effectiveness will probably improve over time.
Costly and time consuming: It takes more time and efforts depending on the lengthy and complexity of the process resulting in huge costs in developing and maintenance. And also depends on the number of activities we are trying to implement. Sometimes, it may cost more than a trained human in short-run but will provide better results over a long-run. These are not advisable for Organizations with less number of employees.
Information Security: Information stored to be secured and enough care to be taken by the Organizations themselves right from feeding, capturing data till user details. One has to adopt better deployment of servers whether it’s in-house, cloud or hybrid to avoid losing of information.
Loss of Service: We should mind that these are only algorithms and cannot function if something breaks, interrupts or if interface not online. We always should have enough back-up plan in place if there is a loss of service.
Retrieval of activity log: All activity log to be stored and arranged in patterns. HR administrators should know how to retrieve the activity log to mitigate risks.
Dislike by users: Not all users may like interacting with chatbots. This may become mundane and monotonous as there is no human touch in the conversation.