One of the best ways to help HR professionals utilize their time effectively is to automate as many simple, manual processes and repeatable tasks as possible. HR software such as chatbots can act as a virtual HR assistant and help employees easily access HR and organizational information.
What Is an HR Chatbot?
An HR chatbot is software with a conversational interface that uses natural language processing, a branch of artificial intelligence, to simulate a conversation between a human resource team member and an employee or candidate. These chatbots are specifically programmed to automate routine and simple workflows related to the human resource function. By incorporating machine learning capabilities, chatbots can add new workflows for employees based on previous conversations it’s conducted.
In an earlier article on how AI is used in HR, we spoke briefly about chatbots. In this post, we’ll dive a little deeper by discussing some of the ways HR chatbots are being used in the real world and give you ideas on how you can utilize them effectively.
Using HR Chatbots for Talent Acquisition
One of the biggest advantages to using HR chatbots for recruiting teams is that the software can work with multiple candidates simultaneously. An individual person from HR may find it cumbersome to handle five or six candidates asking questions all at once and on different platforms. But a chatbot could be deployed on your website, career sites and via email, SMS or social media channels like LinkedIn or Facebook to assist multiple candidates with job applications and answer frequently asked questions.
Using Chatbots for Candidate Screening
Once a job seeker submits their resume or applies for a job, an HR chatbot can help screen the candidate. The chatbot would review the data collected or read over the resume looking for specific keywords and cross-checking for the job requirements. If basic requirements are met, the chatbot could then ask additional questions as part of the pre-screening process. The answers to these questions would be saved in an applicant tracking software and can be easily accessed to be used later in the recruiting process.
Using HR Chatbots to Schedule Interviews
After the candidate has successfully completed pre-screening, the next step might be to schedule an interview. A chatbot can be programmed to know who is responsible to interview a candidate based on the job and can access the company’s calendar to determine the time that works best for both the candidate and the necessary employees. If the candidate has questions about the interview process, the chatbot can answer commonly asked questions.
Using Chatbots to Keep Candidates Engaged
When you post a job and it gets hundreds of candidates, keeping up with each applicant is often too much to handle for an HR team. Chatbots can reduce the workload on your recruiting team – and improve the candidate experience – by keeping your organization in contact with candidates. A study conducted by iCIMS in 2020 noted that 52% of job hunters named “a lack of response from employers” as their biggest frustration.
Chatbots can immediately notify candidates that their application or resume has been received and thank them for their interest. As mentioned before, a chatbot can set up interviews but can also provide reminders and additional information as the interview approaches. If an applicant returns to the chatbot, it can give the candidate a status update on their application and notify the candidate when a next step has been reached.
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Using Chatbots to Facilitate the Onboarding Process
You’ve hired an amazing employee. Now it’s time to get them onboarded and off to a great start with your company. Using a chatbot during the onboarding process can help create a smooth transition into their new role and help prevent any bottlenecks that may arise.
After the new hire has accepted the offer letter and before their first day, they will undoubtedly have questions. An HR chatbot can assist the new hire with pre-hire paperwork and answer any questions they may have including things like “Where do I park?”, “Who do I meet with when I first come into the office?” or “How often do I get paid?”.
A predefined workflow within the chatbot can help new hires with tax forms, setting up direct deposit and designating emergency contacts. The chatbot can also schedule meetings with the new hire’s team members for formal introductions and can guide your new hire through their onboarding.
As a sustained line of communication, your chatbot helps new hires feel less overwhelmed and can quickly give answers to their common questions. The chatbot can help retain new hires by asking how things are going, which in turn helps the team address any concerns the new hire has before they escalate. This feedback can be invaluable to your business as it can uncover areas where you can improve the onboarding process and ensure new hires feel welcomed.
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Utilizing HR Chatbots to Assist Existing Employees
When you use chatbots as a virtual assistant, your HR team can tackle other functions that require a human touch and their specific expertise.
A great way to use chatbots in human resources is to answer frequently asked questions current employees have, any time they have them.
Even at 8 p.m., your HR chatbot can do things like fulfill time-off requests, share company policies and procedures, retrieve copies of pay stubs, and assist in changing benefits. That means that employees can get timely answers to their everyday questions without having to wait on a reply from an HR team member. This can eliminate much of the frustration on the employee’s end and help reduce the time your HR team spends on repetitive tasks.
HR Chatbots for Employee Engagement
An often-overlooked feature of HR chatbots is that they can help increase employee engagement. Employee engagement means that your employees actually care about the company and its goals, not just that they are overall satisfied with their jobs.
It’s important to know if an employee is excited about coming to work but it’s maybe even more valuable to know if the company’s vision and values inspire them. Chatbots can help determine employee engagement, satisfaction and sentiment over time by asking a myriad of questions in a given time frame. This allows HR to see how sentiment can change over time, how engaged each employee is and how happy they are with their jobs.
Some questions a chatbot could ask during an employee engagement survey include:
- “Do you feel your manager is invested in your success?”
- “Do you feel that leadership is invested in and contributes to the company’s overall culture initiatives?”
- “Do you see yourself working here in a year?”
- “Do you see a clear path for career advancement?”
Using Chatbots to Boost Employee Learning & Development
Chatbots can be programmed to ask follow-up questions based on responses during surveys. Take the last question from the previous section, “Do you see a clear path for career advancement?”. If the employee answers “no”, the chatbot could show them a career progression chart, what qualifications they would need to have for that role and incorporate a workflow that would assist the employee in obtaining those requirements.
As employees move up in their careers, new managers will go through specific training to help them become better leaders. Chatbots can check in with these new managers and see how well they are doing with both the training regimen and adjustment to the new role.
Chatbots can also help users navigate the company’s existing Learning Management System and help with specific training. If the employee has a question about a specific topic in a training, the chatbot can provide additional resources and guidance to help the employee better understand the material. The chatbot can make recommendations about the next training the employee should tackle and provide historical scores and goal tracking. The possibilities are endless.
Want to Learn More About Chatbots and Other HR Technology?
Human resources automation tools such as chatbots can be game changers for companies of all sizes. They help reduce time spent on repetitive tasks and help increase overall employee and candidate experiences. If you want to know more about chatbots and other HR software that can help your business thrive, plan on attending the next HR Technology Conference & Exposition.