Providing Totally Integrated Solutions

Bots to the Rescue Advancing HR management systems in SMEs


September 2017

Source : Small Enterprise India

Cyber Managers Software Services ( CMSS) is the provider of "totally integrated solutions" in the areas of Software Products, Application Engineering and Professional Service. CMSS works on an Ancient Indian work-ethic of "Manasa>Vacha>Karmana", meaning "we commit only to those tasks, which we think we can accomplish and deliver upon our commitment".

The revolution in the human resource management is about to begin, as the HR Bots take over the many simple as well as complex functions of people management at an organization. The tasks range from a humble reminder of introducing a new recruit to a difficult one like issuing a termination letter, from managing leave calendars to encouraging team culture within workmates on a particular project. As the new technology swiftly replaces actual HR human force, the question remains are they as simple as it seems?

Let’s evaluate some real instances that usually takes place in the life of an employee at a typical SME.

Suresh is a mid-level employee working in Vam Energetics, a medium sized Indian company exporting health essentials globally. His boss treats him like family and his salary is higher than industry average. Now take this some Q and A to evaluate if Suresh is Happy or will he quit the company in the next 6 months.

Is Suresh Happy?

1. Suresh wants to apply for a home loan, but this requires a lot of to and fro with the HR department right from simple documents like salary breakup to queries on how will his HRA get affected once he gets one. Although, HR promptly responds to every query or document request within 24 hours, but the total procedure takes around a couple of weeks. Hence, by this time, the house which Suresh had liked; has been sold.
Is Suresh Happy?Yes/No

2. Suresh sees an extra deduction in his salary slip and calls up HR for clarification. This being a year-end, HR is busy with Statutory Tax Documentation of all employees and hence takes time to respond to individual queries.
Is Suresh Happy?Yes/No

3. Suresh wants to apply for a leave, but before that he wants to know his pending casual leaves. He has to apply to HR either on email or through a software interface. HR responds to him in a stipulated time.
Would Suresh be happier if he got the response instantly?Yes/No

4. Suresh wants to seek clarification if HRA is still applicable if he pays rent to his parents? In response to his query, HR sends him the policy document, which is an exhaustive document of numerous pages, covering each and every aspect of HR Policy from entry to exit. Suresh has to wade through the pool of information before he finds HRA Policy applicable to his level.
Is Suresh happy spending his working hours, hunting for policy information? Yes/No

5. Suresh's friend Tina is being harassed by her Boss and she wants to know what action she should take, but is afraid to confide in someone because anonymity might get compromised.
Would it make Suresh happy, if he could point her to a place where she can find out a course of action without having to confide in someone? Yes/No

6. Suresh wants to refer a friend for a job in his company but with current scenario, he has to refer the friend to HR and then the friend has to follow-up with HR for criteria, available positions, formalities, etc.
Would it make Suresh happier if he could tell his friend to chat with his HR on Facebook or Web Chat? Yes/No

The reality is that, as HR, do not know many employees who are in the same position and more importantly the same frame of mind as Suresh.

Fortunately, these gaps can be bridged by using bot and app plugins, which wrap around existing HCMs making them more friendly and engaging. The introduction of HR bots, basically interfaces which can allow employees to transact (apply leave, expense, muster,etc) and seek profiled based information from policy documents.

Here is what chatbots such as H# can do;

1). Aids Transaction: Apply leave, muster, expenses and approvals.

2). Profiled based information: Allow information to be shown from policy documents which is pertaining to the logged in user's profile.

3). Engagement activities: Automate or send manually notifications for employee engagement activities.

4). Event notifications: Send events like training invites, birthdays and much more.

5). Snap Surveys: Launch quick surveys for selected employees in department.

Few advantages that chatbots provide:

1). 24/7 Helpdesk Having HR helpdesk round the clock for handling HR queries may not be cost effective for SME's. Chatbots can automate responses of common queries that Helpdesk face. In the simplest of form could be reseting the password for a particular application. If at all there is out of the box question, this can surely be passed onto a live helpdesk agent / emailed to HR desk. Further, the Bot can be trained for such cases to be handled in an automated way.

2). Single point for all self-service transactions The same interface could be used to conduct various HR related transaction, irrespective of the backend workflows each are internally involved in.

3). Transaction to Engagement Let bot invoke notifications for actions / reminder so that users can act.

4). Simplification of Information Policy documents, in an effort to maintain clarity may involve lot of content to cover employee's grade / band wise information. Bots can simplify this information by showing / answering contents specific to user’s profile. It can be further configured to answer specific questions like "how many maximum PL am I eligible for in a year?"

5). Understanding employee expectations Due to its open ended conversation format, employees bound to seek information which bot might not be trained for. This helps HR team to identify what processes could be bot enabled Since User Interfaces (UI) and User Experience (UX) have undergone a sea-change in the last 5 years, especially after social networks have put the spotlight firmly on engaging with the "Human" component, it is expected that HCM should not be left far behind. The possibilities of how a chatbot can ease HR processes are endless and to sweeten the deal, chatbot are now available on Cloud.