Virtual HR - already a reality
Businesses are using virtual HR assistants – often in the form of ‘bots’ such as Amazon’s Alexa or IPSoft’s Amelia – to augment their self-service offer to employees. Regarding employee benefits, for example, these assistants can respond to simple queries around pension contributions or tax codes, and learn from each transaction to become progressively more intuitive and efficient.
This echoes what is happening in the consumer-facing world, where technologies such as IBM’s Watson, which uses natural language processing to understand complex questions, are beginning to play a role in customer service. Banks and insurance companies are trialling virtual assistants for
first-line support in contact centres – and HR is a natural extension of this.
Employees already access self-service platforms to perform a range of tasks, from booking holidays to filing appraisal forms. Pushed to the next level, intelligent algorithms could raise a request to hire someone, or communicate with candidates during the recruitment process.
There are numerous benefits to a more automated model of HR, not least the associated cost savings in terms of delivering results with a reduced headcount. Leading HR systems providers are now integrating ‘virtual assistant’ technology into their products to augment self-service.
These emerging tools boast open interfaces that allow processes to be more seamlessly integrated. The data they produce can be turned into evidence-based, useable insights that can add real value to the business.