Chatbots are increasingly shaping the entire field of corporate communication. They have long since found their way into HR departments. Their field of application: the exchange between the HR department on the one hand and employees and applicants on the other. But how much potential do they have and what should you look out for when using them?
Chatbots in HR provide one thing above all: a reduction in the workload for HR staff. A survey by Haufe shows that the majority (78%) of respondents in HR departments feel their workload is high or even clearly too high. Chatbots can help here. Especially in the "war for talents", HR managers should put all available resources into attracting and retaining employees.
Jürgen Spegel, Head of Human Resources at the Haufe Group, has been using the HR bot 'HeRo' for just over half a year.
"The chatbot brings added value to our HR administration, as it takes over routine queries that would cost us a lot of time. HeRo quickly finds the right answers for employees, e.g. about holiday entitlement, offers from company health management or other benefits. And it does this around the clock."
In search of acceptance
On paper, the advantages are tempting, but the implementation is still a problem. The problem: without acceptance, there is no relief. In particular, enquiries about sensitive topics such as illness, pregnancy or salary can cause scepticism among employees. The question of whether communication is stored or whether the bot can access sensitive personnel data may also give rise to mistrust of the new technology.
In order to counteract this, one of the most important tasks when introducing an HR bot is to provide clarification: Which questions can a chatbot really answer in a high-quality manner and with which concerns should employees still contact their HR administrators?
For Jürgen Spegel, this question was quickly answered:
"We clearly communicated that a chatbot can only answer general questions - such as the date from which a certificate of incapacity for work must be submitted. For all personal and individual questions, the employees still come to us directly. As a result, the use of 'HeRo' has been very good from the beginning."
Chatbots push the employee experience
Continuously improving the employee experience has been high on the HR agenda for some time. In 45 per cent of the companies, it is a clearly formulated goal to make internal processes as pleasant as possible for employees. The contact between employees and HR departments, which in the past was often rather laborious, should become a positive experience and thus contribute to employee satisfaction and loyalty. Self-services can serve as a connecting element by strengthening the contact and relieving both sides through automated processes. This is also confirmed by the study: both HR (81 %) and non-HR (83 %) support the expansion of self-service offerings.
Practical tips for the introduction of an HR chatbot
Even though the benefits of using a chatbot are equally high for HR and employees, there are still some pitfalls that should be considered during the introduction in order to successfully start the era of digital HR employees.
These five tips will help to make the introduction of a chatbot successful:
1. The chatbot must be specifically adapted to the company
Every company has its own processes to which the bot must be adapted. Only if the answers of the bot are specific do they offer added value for the users.
2. Acceptance is the key
Important: A bot will only be used if acceptance is created for it. To achieve this, communication with employees must be sought. Only in this way can fears and reservations be reduced and concrete advantages of the bot be communicated.
3. All beginnings need not be difficult
If you start from scratch with a chatbot, you will be faced with time-consuming editorial work and an artificial intelligence that first needs to be trained. Chatbots that already have algorithms trained on HR topics already have a solid basis on which to build. This way, the start is quicker and the project duration is shorter.
4. The user experience is decisive
User feedback must always be taken into account. After all, the experience that employees have with the chatbot in practice is the central point for establishing acceptance, trust and a smooth user experience and boosting use.
5. Chatbots must always be kept up to date
Only if the bot is always kept up to date can it also provide legally compliant answers.
Low risk, much fun!
If companies are able to implement the tips outlined above, the return is immense. If used appropriately, filled with the right and reliable content and, above all, communicated correctly, chatbots are a legally secure source of information for employees and a sensible further development for HR departments in the direction of a digital and future-proof HR.
This article was first published by marconomy