AI could be the answer to empowering your HR teams

From self-service checkouts to online ordering, we’re becoming increasingly accustomed to doing everything ourselves these days. Workplace systems tend to lag behind consumer technologies, largely because we’re still not looking at our employees and internal stakeholders as customers. However, switching our mindset towards providing better user experiences for employees has a range of benefits, particularly for your HR teams.

One of the tasks that can easily be automated is leave entitlements and requests. Many organisations still rely on systems where HR teams and line managers are required to manually assess and approve leave requests. Automating this process allows employees to get instant answers to their queries and frees up valuable time for HR professionals for focusing on more strategic work.

Going one step further, AI chatbots can prove valuable if they’re employed in processes such as these. When an employee submits a leave request, a chatbot can run through a series of questions with the employee to ensure they’ve supplied all of the correct information and that they understand what they’re applying for specifically. Machine learning enables these systems to remember a specific employees preferences when entering their leave requests to save the employee time or to offer assistance when a discrepancy in information appears.

This process can be replicated across systems such as travel bookings, IT service and performance management. Like any application of AI, getting started can take some time as the systems need to be programmed with decision trees for frequently asked questions. Once these systems learn the user behaviour of your organisation, your HR teams only need to monitor the process through dashboard notifications for discrepancies and those queries above the capabilities of the chatbot.

The next step will be utilising AI for just-in-time learning and development programs. Imagine the possibilities of a training system that uses machine learning to tailor training modules for different departments, teams, and even individuals. These kinds of hyper-contextualised learning experiences would deliver the timely learning outcomes your people need to improve their performance and ultimately, drive your organisation forward.

While HR is tasked with driving engagement across an organisation, AI and automation could also play a role in monitoring productivity levels at certain times of the day, and days of the week, to see where people’s energy and enthusiasm levels are falling. Systems could then notify HR teams who can begin to use these insights to alter work schedules, create engaging events or send out positive company-related news to employees.

It might seem counterintuitive to rely on machines to drive engagement with people, but the fact is, manual processes are part of the reason people feel disengaged at work. If their queries about leave are delayed indefinitely, along with their requests for IT services or training opportunities, it’s only human nature for them to begin feeling detached and ignored. Where they’re now beginning to gain greater autonomy and control of their private lives through technology, we need to start looking at how we can do the same for them in the workplace.

This article was written by Presence of IT's Dean Gray on LinkedIn.