A chatbot for employees: what are the uses?

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More and more companies are implementing conversational robots to make their employees’ daily lives easier. These robots primarily answer questions about human resources, but not only! Bots focusing on office automation or legal support are also on the rise.

They provide employees with general answers about the company, or personalised information relating to their individual status. If an answer requires further explanation, the robot can refer employees to electronic documents, explanatory guides or even a specific intranet page. Actions such as requesting leave can also be carried out via the bot, since it is connected to the company’s IS.

Chatbots can be deployed on all of a company’s internal communication channels; intranet, SharePoint space, mobile apps or messaging platforms such as Slack, Skype, Messenger, etc. No longer exclusively reserved for large companies, chatbots are attracting more and more small to medium businesses too.

Why implement an internal bot?

In order to improve employee efficiency, a company may decide to set up a chatbot to answer their most frequently asked questions 24/7. This also allows to optimise support functions’ costs since the chatbot relieves them of the repetitive aspects of their work. Covering 20% of the most frequently asked questions helps to avoid 80% of requests. A chatbot does not therefore need to answer everything in order to be efficient; in some cases, a hundred knowledge articles is enough.

Chatbots for internal use present a number of advantages for both the employee and company implementing them:

  • Increase in employee productivity thanks to immediate access to information at any time of day
  • Relief for support functions resulting in improved efficiency on important issues
  • Empowered employees performing tasks with added value, thereby reducing turnover (by up to 28% according to the HR practical guide ParlonsRH)
  • A positive and innovative company image, attracting new talent and building employee loyalty

The rest of this article will focus on the most frequent chatbot use cases.

A bot for Human Resources

Recruitment

Recruitment chatbots simplify a HR department’s work by performing an initial automated filter on the hundreds or even thousands of applications received. Analysing each one, they can determine a candidate’s level of compatibility with the company and position to be filled. Chatbots are more objective than humans in their analysis; they only take skills and experience into account, and not the criteria considered discriminatory. Randy, the recruitment group Randstad’s virtual assistant, is the perfect example of a successful recruitment chatbot, voted chatbot of the year at the “Grand Prix du Social Média” in 2018.

Chatbots can also perform personality, skill or motivation tests by interacting with applicants. Others help the selected applicants to prepare for their interviews, such as the BNP Paribas chatbot “Dr Job”.

Onboarding

When starting a new job, many employees do not dare ask questions. Chatbots facilitate onboarding by indexing all the information that employee may require; administrative assistance, practical information, rules and regulations, company policy, etc. The bot can even send notifications to remind new employees to fill in a form or complete a task.

Administrative management

A HR bot’s role is to make employee lives easier by answering their most frequently asked questions and automating simple actions. Employees can obtain information about their rights (remote working, internal mobility, company agreements, training courses, etc.), as well as personal information linked to their own status within the company. Connected to the company’s HRIS, the bot can retrieve information from various systems and provide each employee with their leave balance or last payslip for example.

Lots of tasks can be performed via a chatbot; request leave, report sick leave, amend personal information, request training, issue an expenses report… A single entry point for users and a considerable time saving tool for HR!

Practical services

To make your employees’ lives easier, there are also “concierge” chatbots, providing a wealth of practical information; how to reserve a parking space or hire a vehicle, when to drop washing off at the drycleaners, company childcare opening hours, etc.

According to a study carried out by Olfeo in 2016, French employees spend one hour per day dealing with personal issues at work. By handling personal requests such as booking a taxi or meal deliveries, concierge chatbots can truly assist employees. As well as saving time, and therefore efficiency, chatbots are an excellent way to develop a company’s employer brand.

Change management

Implementing a conversational assistant can prove to be particularly useful when a company is undergoing any major changes, such as the implementation of a new agreement, the deployment of regulation such as GDPR or the introduction of tax deducted at source. This helps to smooth out any peaks in requests and avoid feelings of frustration amongst employees.

Total for example implemented a new chatbot, Hector, to support employees during the implementation of a new seniority agreement. The bot provides information about the agreement’s conditions and employment records.  It can also calculate the employee’s eligibility depending on their age and quarterly contributions.

HR bots meet a number of different needs. As such, their use cases can be varied. If you would like to know more about Human Resource Managers’ perceptions of bots, look at our HR Chatbot Observatory survey.

A bot for IT

IT services and helpdesks are often overloaded and struggle to respond quickly to all IT support requests. Long waiting times and overly technical explanations can sometimes be a source of tension amongst departments. Implementing an IT chatbot can significantly reduce the number of incoming tickets and improve the request management process. The bot answers first and second level questions related to IT and desktop applications; password management, software assistance, hardware orders, account management, etc. And when human intervention is necessary, you can directly create and follow a ticket via the bot!

IT chatbots are even more useful in the sense that IT requests are often urgent, leaving employees stuck and unable to continue working. In addition to immediate responses, the 24/7 assistance provided by the tool is a genuine asset, particularly for people working staggered hours. The virtual assistant makes users more autonomous with regards to simple tasks, by capitalising on existing company documentation; product tutorials, problem solving guides, step by step instructions, etc.

Implementing a chatbot covering IT and helpdesks considerably reduces the number of tickets created, sometimes by up to -25%. Just like a HR bot, an IT bot is very useful in the event of major changes within a company such as an IT system migration. A lot of companies have supported their employees during a migration to Office 365 by implementing a dedicated chatbot, for example.

A bot for the legal department

“Legalbots”, the latest internal chatbots to appear, are on the rise, relieving legal departments of time consuming tasks. The chatbot answers the most frequent legal questions and provides practitioners with the documents in force to carry out their work, such as the framework for a confidentiality contract. This applies to a variety of areas; social law, criminal law, commercial law, contract law, VAT, corporate tax, GDPR, intellectual property, competition law, etc.

The legal chatbot implemented by EDF in 2017 is a great example. It covers all areas of corporate law and generates customised contractual frameworks, confidentiality agreements adapted to different situations and transactional protocols. As well as freeing up time for legal practitioners, the bot allows to homogenise answers and make them easy to understand for all employees. EDF won an award for legal innovation,  le prix de l’innovation des directions juridiques in 2018 with this chatbot.

Conversational robots can also address other use cases. The Société Générale’s chatbot deals with finance, communication and compliance for example. Bots providing technical assistance are also widespread in building or energy companies, such as EDF and Engie who have implemented internal chatbots relating to the photovoltaic field. To go one step further, please feel free to download the ADP Group interview about their implementation of IT, HR and legal chatbots.