Is it time for your company to invest in a chatbot?
According to a recently published survey, 87% of CEOs are seeking to expand their artificial intelligence (AI) workforce. And, increasingly, this means chatbots.
For those less tech-savvy among us, according to Wikipedia: “A chatbot is a computer programme or an AI which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. Such programmes are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test.”
Some of the advantages of chatbots include a reduction in costs, streamlining interactions, (arguably) improve the customer experience, and saving time on repetitive tasks – something that would undoubtedly be welcomed by HR.
But is a chatbot right for your organisation? Depending on the quality of the chatbot selected – and the technology is improving all the time – it could improve your customers’ experiences or leave them feeling very frustrated. We’ve all dealt with automated voice systems that are comically inadequate.
But in defence of the humble chatbot, here are a few of the pluses:
Chatbots provide a quick and accurate response
This benefit is particularly applicable to human resources. Improvements in natural language processing mean that chatbots are now able to communicate convincingly with people in human language, including both your customers and employees.
Previously, when faced with a question, employees had to send emails to their HR department and wait for a response. HR bots have access to centralised databases containing all the necessary information regarding company policies and can provide instant and relevant answers.
Chatbots take the stress out of recruitment
Hiring can be a stressful process for HR. In a time-strapped work environment, a significant recruitment drive can mean hundreds of CVs and LinkedIn profiles to sift through.
This could be especially handy for small and medium-sized businesses not wishing to invest in dedicated software. Chatbots can help streamline the screening process, perform basic background checks and potentially eliminate any unconscious bias related to gender, race or age – helping to whittle down a shortlist of candidates quickly and efficiently.
Chatbots can smooth the onboarding process
Especially when your organisation is rolling out new tools or workflows that require extensive employee training, onboarding can be time-consuming, expensive and repetitive. Involving not only a lot of paperwork and compliance, onboarding also forms a big part of a newly hired employee’s first impression of your organisation. Chatbots can help streamline the process.
This article was first published in Human Resources and is reproduced with permission.
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Employees leave. No matter how much time and effort you invest in retention strategies, you simply cannot keep them all. While it can be hard to accept the resignation of a valuable employee, it can also offer a great opportunity to learn about their employee experience.
Although they won’t want to burn any bridges, outgoing staff are likely to be willing to have an honest conversation about your strengths and weaknesses as an employer.
In fact, an OfficeTeam survey among 307 human resources managers in the US found that 63% of HR managers said their company often acts on information gathered during exit interviews, for example by updating job descriptions, discussing feedback regarding management, or making changing to the work environment/culture.
To make sure you too can make the most of this opportunity, OfficeTeam has compiled a list of 12 essential questions to ask your exiting employee.
What circumstances prompted you to start looking for another job?
Under what circumstances, if any, would you consider returning to the company?
Do you think management adequately recognised employee contributions? If not, how do you think recognition could be improved?
Were there any company policies you found difficult to understand? How can the firm make them clearer?
Do you feel your job description changed since you were hired, and if so, in what ways?
Did you feel you had the tools, resources and working conditions to be successful in your role? If not, which areas could be improved and how?
Do you feel you had the necessary training to be successful in your role? If not, how could it have been better?
What was the best part of your job here?
What can the organisation improve on?
Do you have any suggestions for improving employee morale?
Do you have any concerns about the company you’d like to share?
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
While exit interviews are a great occasion to get some honest employee feedback, it can be a case of too little too late. Instead of waiting until the last moment, use the questions above as a guideline to check in with staff on a regular basis. Ultimately, you want your employees to raise any concerns as and when they arrive – not after they’ve already decided to move on.
A better employee experience boosts employer branding: study
According to this recently released white paper, Enriching the employee experience, Hong Kong’s positive jobs outlook means the challenge to source and keep talent remains ever present.
And providing the best possible employee experience is a good way to win the battle. It can also have the added benefit of improving your employer brand.
“The employee experience is the sum of perceptions employees have based on their interactions with the organisation. A positive employee experience encompasses all of the various touch-points throughout the employee’s life cycle,” said Natellie Sun, managing director of Randstad Hong Kong, which published the white paper.
“A positive employee experience holds unlimited potential to strengthen your employer brand. This, at the same time, improves workforce productivity, employee attraction and retention.
“That’s why the employee experience is crucial to any meaningful conversation about employer branding.”
Perceptions around an organisation’s brand matter. Employees are increasingly willing to speak their mind and websites such as Glassdoor are making it easier for these opinions to be widely known.
According to iCIMS’s “Modern Job Search Report”, almost 33% of potential candidates have refused a job offer due to negative online reviews.
Even companies such as Uber, Amazon, Google and Microsoft have suffered damage to their brands as employees – current or former – have publicly voiced their dissatisfaction, either online or via the media.
HR has now been propelled into the age of digital disruption – with the rise of social media and artificial intelligence and data analytics. It can be a double-edged sword, but clearly it’s better to embrace the change than be daunted by it.
The brave new digital world allows us to achieve much with a simple tap or swipe. As a result, employees expect their job to parallel the seamless brand experience they enjoy outside of working hours.
Companies must embrace this challenge or risk losing their best and brightest to their rivals.
Organisations share similar milestones that can enhance the employee experience such as candidate attraction, recruitment, onboarding, employee development, management, employee departures and alumni.
How well each stage is mapped out and executed says a lot about your company’s brand. And, in turn, what your employees say about your company.
“We know from research that having a positive employee experience will lead to higher advocacy, higher empowerment and stronger buy-in – all proven to lead to better business results,” Sun said.
Hiring top talent is no walk in the park.
According to Robert Half’s new survey of more than 2,800 senior managers based in the United States, companies face a number of challenges throughout the hiring process.
The top three being generating interest from qualified candidates (35%), asking the right interview questions (20%), and developing compensation packages and negotiating salaries (19%).
The most common reason prospective hires decide not to join their company is compensation, according to three in 10 senior managers. An equal number also reported that applicants declined to accept another position or counteroffer.
The research also found the biggest stumbling blocks for senior managers when writing job descriptions were separating essential from preferred qualifications (29%) and identifying the necessary interpersonal and soft skills (24%).
Then there’s the problem of failed hires which, 30% of senior managers attributed to mismatched skill sets, apart from poor performance.
Additionally, unclear performance expectations (26%) and personality conflicts (23%) together accounted for nearly half of hiring mistakes.
Among the 28 U.S. cities in the survey, Indianapolis, Nashville, Cleveland, Sacramento and Minneapolis have the most employers who said capturing candidates’ interest is their top hiring obstacle.