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The global workforce has, today, readily embraced the new normal of hybrid workplace models. Keeping up with expectations of flexibility at work, businesses are evolving rapidly with an eye toward post-pandemic life. The challenges and benefits of remote work coupled with the Great Resignation/Reshuffle have resulted in greater attention to the concerns of employee satisfaction.
An engaged workforce has numerous benefits for businesses. According to a Forrester survey, 77% of respondents state that employee experience (EX) initiatives have resulted in increased revenue, and another 50% say that the initiatives have helped them hit their growth targets. In fact, a recent HBS research roundtable affirmed that ensuring great EX is the cornerstone to delivering world-class customer experience (CX).
Conversational AI for better experiences
One of the ways organizations can improve both CX and EX is by adopting conversational AI solutions. By integrating data sources and intelligent functionality into customer service via conversational AI, businesses are already offloading redundant work from human agents while also scaling their reach across more platforms and channels that customers use.
But applications for AI-enabled automation don’t stop at just customer support and engagement. This technology offers massive value to automate internally across numerous people management activities.
Two prime areas for EX automation are human resources (HR) and IT services management (ITSM). According to Gartner, by 2023, 75% of all HR management queries will be initiated through a conversational platform to meet the needs of a hybrid workforce. Deploying dynamic AI agents or advanced virtual assistants in these functions can free up time for personnel and likely save a company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Based on our calculations, a company with a top line of $8 billion that deploys a dynamic AI agent for a period of three years can see potential savings of up to 65% on their HR costs.
In addition to financial benefits, conversational AI also provides for less tangible ROIs that contribute immensely when it comes to optimizing HR process proficiencies.
Streamlined and swift processes through AI automation
Large enterprises today strive to achieve their internal digital transformation goals by automating different functions using robotic process automation (RPA). However, deploying the right tool to make the right resource available at the right time is one key challenge they continue to face. This is where conversational AI solutions step in to bridge this gap through integration with existing RPA. The parent AI agent enables seamless orchestration between many other AI agents, each responsible for specific functions, to avoid ambiguity by aggregating information available across all channels into one single interface. Essentially, conversational AI solutions help in streamlining processes by converging an organization’s current tech suite, without the need to switch between multiple applications and portals.
Dynamic AI agents
Dynamic AI agents are similar to personal assistants in eliminating redundant and repetitive tasks for both the employee and employer. For instance, they take load-off through automated scheduling of meetings, scheduling reminders to keep employees updated with policies and provide them with all basic information on leave, compensation and payslip queries in a few simple texts, thereby enabling HR teams to focus on strategic and high-value tasks.
Let’s take an example. If an employee types in “Unable to login,” the AI agent understands the context and intent behind the query and triggers the workflow for raising an IT ticket in the system. This enables on-point access to everything an employee might need on a day-to-day basis, on demand. Deploying such solutions can result in a 70% reduction in ticket resolution time, leading to increased employee productivity by at least 30%.
Furthermore, organizations can leverage document cognition solutions for effective knowledge management for an integrated and systematic approach to identify, manage and share an enterprise’s information assets, such as HR policies and procedures, to the right people at the right time.
Document cognition, as a technology, enables employees to get instant and accurate answers to their diverse queries from both structured and unstructured data using natural language processing (NLP) and machine comprehension. For instance, our insights engine follows the three-step process of mapping, parsing and training to autogenerate FAQs by plugging in 10,000+ documents that are spread across different systems such as SharePoint and Google Drive. This enables one source of truth for both HR and employees alike where the insight engine is in sync with the source and auto-updates FAQs with no human intervention.
Enabling continuous on-the-job learning
Dynamic AI agents can support professional development by tracking career and personal goals for employee performance management. Each employee can even be provided personalized training paths to automatically notify them when relevant programs are launched. The system integrates with an organization’s learning management system (LMS) and allows employees to search and access training resources on-demand.
The Dynamic AI agent leverages the data captured through various interactive quizzes and feedback surveys to decode and understand which area each employee needs to build their skills in and provides personalized recommendations through bite-size learning content.
Taking a step further in enabling employees to achieve their professional goals, as and when an employee completes a prerequisite course/training required for a particular job role, the AI agent automatically suggests internal job applications that align with the employee’s interests and preferences. The same works the other way around. For instance, if an employee is interested in making an internal role shift and comes across an opening, they can leverage the AI agent to get a list of relevant courses to prepare for the interview, along with other details on the open position.
Understand employees better through always-on VOE
AI agents can be used to conduct conversational employee surveys, which have a 50% higher response rate than static forms. Through sentiment analysis, they analyze millions of conversations, irrespective of any language, to understand how every employee is feeling at the given time. This approach leverages machine learning techniques to train systems and uses algorithms to become more accurate in analyzing the sentiment.
For instance, when an employee asks the AI agent the status of their delayed monthly reimbursements and the conversation ends with a “Thank you so much! This is great,” the NLP engine determines that this is positive sentiment and the employee has been placated with the AI agent’s response. On the other hand, in the case of negative sentiment, the AI agent responds by either taking the employee’s feedback or giving them an option to connect with a representative for further attention.
Given the looming threat of recession, the always-on voice of employee (VOE) feature becomes crucial to understand the general sentiment among employees to effectively keep up the productivity and motivation levels. Leveraging this data and complex neural networks, the dynamic AI agent can identify trends and even recommend employees who may need special attention, helping ensure your teams are getting the support they need sooner and improving retention through data-driven insights.
Improve employer branding and candidate experience
The current workforce comprises Gen Z and Millennials who are digital natives and expect seamless and connected experiences right from the start — say, when they browse a company’s careers page. 76% of job seekers want to know how long it’s going to take to fill out an application before they start and they do not want to complete an application that will take longer than 20 minutes. The primary reason is that it provides a very incoherent experience to the candidates.
Today’s workforce understands how technology is evolving and expects organizations/brands to evolve at the same pace. They expect such application forms to not take more than a few seconds to complete. Deploying dynamic AI agents on a career website allows organizations to provide 24/7 support to candidates who are browsing through and wanting to know more about the role, application process and organization. The candidate can upload their resume in a click and the platform fetches the candidate’s details and routes them back to the internal system or other HCM solutions such as SuccessFactors/Workday.
Once the dynamic AI agent prescreens the candidate based on keyword filtering, the advanced system integrates seamlessly with existing collaboration tools such as Google Workspace and Microsoft Teams to be able to sync the hiring manager’s calendar and notify the candidate to pick and choose from the slots available, notifying the hiring manager to provide confirmation. This reduces the time taken in performing such processes manually and significantly improves the candidate experience with minimum hassles.
The hiring manager can leverage the same platform to launch interactive surveys to gauge the experience of the candidate through the journey and leverage analytics to keep improvising on the employer branding. Dynamic AI agents can streamline much of the application and interviewing process for job candidates, helping to reduce onboarding time by 20%, as per our data.
According to Forrester, 78% of HR leaders believe that EX will be the most definite driver in delivering business objectives. Improving employee engagement across the lifecycle contributes in shaping their total experience that aligns with employee expectations of growth and development, building a productive environment for both employees and business. Going further, EX’s relevance to CX and vice versa are integral to an organization’s total experience (TX) strategy, as internal and external communications do not live in vacuums but have real impact on each other and on a business overall.
Raghu Ravinutala is CEO & cofounder of Yellow.ai.