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How HR can deliver more impact with less effort

June 12th, 2019

If you’ve spent any time working in a HR team, you’ll be familiar with the busy workloads, fast pace and resourcing pressures that these professionals live and breathe every day. The technology-led shift to the modern workplace has had a major impact on the day-to-day workload for HR teams across industries. In many organisations, employees are geographically dispersed, working flexibly, getting their work done online, and embracing new tools and technologies. And that’s presented a range of new challenges for HR staff.

Getting HR right in the modern workplace

While there’s no doubt that this shift has created real benefits for productivity and employee satisfaction, it’s forced many parts of the organisation to rethink how they do business.

Take HR teams, for example. Employee engagement looks pretty different when staff work flexibly or remotely. Without a predictable 9 to 5 workday, managers can’t take for granted that their staff will be in the office for a face-to-face conversation or team event.

Rather, HR representatives and line managers need to be equipped with strategies to engage staff irrespective of where or when they choose to work.

Organisations that are keeping up with the shift to the modern workplace are thriving. By adapting to the changing needs of an increasingly online and flexible workforce, modern organisations stand to benefit from higher staff retention, improved productivity and even higher revenue growth. For example, new research shows that organisations with effective collaboration strategies grow at a faster pace, regardless of where their staff are located.

For organisations that don’t adapt, the potential consequences are significant. Staff who aren’t made to feel welcome, connected to their peers and engaged with their organisation are a high flight risk, which affects the business from both a financial and productivity perspective. So, what does it take for a HR function to succeed in the modern workplace?

Embracing modern technology for a modern workforce

The workforce might look different, but the expectations on HR teams haven’t changed. Irrespective of where or how employees work, HR teams will continue to be tasked with:

  • Attracting and recruiting great candidates
  • Ensuring adequate and complete onboarding
  • Working with management to support the retention of staff over the long term, such as through employee engagement activities.

This can seem like a monumental task when employees work in different offices, cities and time zones. The good news: there’s a suite of AI tools making life easier for HR professionals.

Bots are a great example. A bot is a software application powered by artificial intelligence to perform automated tasks – think Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. Bots can be trained to handle certain kinds of requests and information, including in HR settings.

For HR teams using Office 365, it’s easy to integrate bots within Microsoft Teams and take some of the workload off of busy HR professionals.

How do bots help HR teams?

It’s not uncommon for the HR inbox to be brimming with questions from staff seeking information about policies, processes, payroll, performance, culture, entitlements and more. Your organisation may have dedicated staff to manage these enquiries, or maybe you share the load across the team. No matter how you currently manage this responsibility, bots can help.

HR bots can read questions from employees and draw on an existing knowledge base to provide timely, detailed and tailored responses. For simple queries, no human intervention is needed. Information can be provided instantaneously.

Importantly, if the bot can’t answer a question, it won’t give out misleading information. Instead, it will notify the appropriate HR representative so that the question doesn’t go unanswered. When a response it provided, the bot will feed it into the knowledge base so it can draw on the information if the same question arises in the future.

Bots provide a secure and reliable way of handling HR enquiries, whilst freeing up skilled HR staff to focus on strategic priorities.  

Getting started with bots

For organisations that are already using Microsoft Teams, the foundations are already in place to develop customised bots to support HR staff. To find out more about bots and their role in HR, download Cloud Collective’s latest white paper: AI-driven employee engagement: How to attract and retain talent in the modern workplace.