‘Chatbots’ can help provide instant online answers & free up time for HR

“Which holidays do we have off ?” … “How do I apply for a job there?” … “What’s the dental plan?”

Many of the questions coming into HR are routine questions that you’ve probably thought could be answered by a machine.

Increasingly, they are.

Whether it’s discussing vacation policies, enrolling workers in the benefits plan or conducting training, HR chatbots are assisting employees in all these transactions. HR is also using these artificial-intelligence tools in the recruiting process.

“Chatbots are the new HR managers,” says Beerud Sheth, co-founder of Gupshup, a tech firm that helps companies build AI chat tools into their websites and online services. “Chatbots can automate routine processes that take a lot of their time … and can help HR professionals by dramatically amplifying their capabilities.”

Among the popular uses of HR bots:

  • Company policies and FAQs: instant answers on company rules, and procedures.
  • Recruiting: screening candidates, scheduling interviews and managing the recruiting life cycle for candidates and hiring managers.
  • Onboarding and training: create a self-service process and allow new hires to interact with workforce management and training software.
  • Benefits enrollment: help workers navigate the process.

Several chatbot tools target the HR and admin world. Examples: RoboRecruiter has developed a chatbot for automating the end-to-end recruitment process. QuickWork has built chatbots that are creating online HR and related business processes.

Chatbots are already very popular with answering customer questions. A new Forrester survey estimates that within five years, 85% of customer interactions will be with software robots. And 87% of CEOs are looking to expand their AI workforce.

Bots, of course, have their limitations. While they can help provide quick answers to common questions, more complex queries should be escalated to a human for review and response.

Also, be cautious of the potential legal risks. For example, what if an employee submitted this question: “I have a heart condition. What’s the best health plan?” Providing specific answers could open big liability risks. Chatbots should only point to generic links that provide more information on all plans.