How AI and NLP bots can help redefine HR functions

Technology can totally reform the way HR teams operate and how employees or prospective hires interact with the company. 

Animesh Samuel Mar 26th 2019 A-A+
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Humans are socially intelligent beings and it is in our nature to adapt with creativity. We are now at the cusp of another industrial revolution and it is expected that we continue to adapt, given the disruptions that come into play across industries and business functions within.

One such important function is that of human resources (HR). People are and will continue to remain integral to businesses and no amount of automation would render us redundant - provided we continue to evolve and upskill ourselves in tandem with technological advancements.

... AI-based tools do not replace a department or people from their designated jobs but rather enable them to function better and more efficiently. These tools are designed to offload routine tasks and allow HR teams to focus on more strategic priorities thus enabling them to better serve business objectives.
Animesh Samuel
Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist, Light Information Systems

HR functions have a crucial task of employing, skilling, upskilling, re-skilling and retaining talent for a business. At each of these stages, technology can now bring in a level of sophistication and agility that was lacking traditionally and can totally reform the way HR teams operate and how employees or prospective hires interact with the company. 

There are four critical processes that can be dramatically improved by leveraging the right technology:

Recruitment – According to the 2019 Recruiting Automation Trends Report, 75 percent of recruiters said technology will play a larger role in their companies’ hiring process in 2019. From identifying the need-gap, sifting through piles of resumes and matching candidate capabilities to business requirement, emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence have made promising strides to reduce the manual effort that goes into this process.

AI/NLP based HR assistants can now semantically understand job descriptions and match them with relevant candidates across job portals. They can also conduct a preliminary screening by engaging and pre-qualifying candidates as per requirement. 

Interestingly, in order to understand if the candidate fits the company’s culture and to test their soft skills, during video interviews they can also map on to non-verbal cues to generate valuable insights about the candidate that helps HR teams enhance the screening process.

Learning and Development – Millennials expect a more engaging and personalized approach to learning and in order to meet these evolving needs, HR needs to adapt various learning technologies. In a study titled, Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workforce, 35 percent of the respondents feel negatively towards constant role shifting that requires learning new skills quickly.

HR teams can step in here to ensure that each employee has a carefully crafted, upward-focused learning and development programme that is mapped as per their individual, team and organizational goals. Multiple HRM software available can be used and centrally integrated so that the HR team can view, add and edit modules as per employee and manager feedback.

Query Resolution – For potential hires, not knowing the status of their application can be thoroughly frustrating. An AI assistant deployed here can promptly respond to all incoming candidate queries and share the exact status of their applications at any given point in time. 

Once they come onboard as employees, the AI assistant can manage queries across the overall employee base and promptly resolve questions around HR policies and benefits, manage payroll transactions, leave applications, reimbursements, claims, etc. 

Collectively, all these menial requests add up to hours of mundane, transactional interactions that can now be automated so that HR teams can focus on qualitative interactions with employees.

Employee Happiness/Well-being – Employees sometimes need to perform certain tasks that are not core to their line of work; these include leave applications and approvals, downloading salary slips, application status and can extend to non-HR functions like claims, tech support etc. 

This can now be performed by AI or NLP assistants, thereby reducing HR resource utilization and improving overall employee performance and happiness. Further, by conducting regular surveys to gauge employee satisfaction, AI assistants can help collate feedback received and prepare a report to apprise HR teams of the employee sentiment within the organization. This would help reduce escalations, curb attrition and increase the organizations overall responsiveness in communicating with employees. 

Without technology, this would be a rather cumbersome process that would consume copious amounts of man hours that can be easily channelled towards planning engagements and activities to boost employee morale.

The 2019 Recruiting Automation report also suggests that 22 percent of hiring agencies will invest heavily in AI and ML driven solutions. AI-based tools do not replace a department or people from their designated jobs but rather enable them to function better and more efficiently. These tools are designed to offload routine tasks and allow HR teams to focus on more strategic priorities thus enabling them to better serve business objectives.

The time is therefore right for HR teams across the country to start exploring and evaluating these solutions to understand what would work best for their company and its business goals. 

Animesh Samuel is Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist, Light Information Systems

Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).