Digital Assistant for HR

Digital transformation is uniquely affecting every facet of HR operations, be it recruiting digital natives, offering digital services to employees or ensuring an engaged workforce and digital culture. What challenges do HR ops face in 2021 and how can a smart assistant help you master them? Let’s find out:

Challenge 1: Getting more ROI from employee experience

Gartner sees getting returns from investments in employee experiences a key priority for HR departments. Particularly since another survey found 46% of employees to feel largely dissatisfied.

Focusing on a great employee experience can be as important as the customer experience. HR departments at the likes of IBM see their mission as “creating a connected, transparent, mobile, personalized, searchable and 24×7 universe” by designing workplace tools that deliver on that.

Curiously enough however, with digital transformation introducing many applications and processes under the umbrella of innovation, employees are actually running at risk of becoming innovation fatigued and thus disengaged.

An IDC report has found a large source of frustration is the time employees spend hopping between applications in order to find and aggregate information. On average, employees spend 36% of their productive time doing that, and it is not just a money pit but something HR needs to tackle head-on by promoting the development of better workplace tools.

Why should HR be concerned with developing tools, isn’t that the job of IT? Partly this is true, but promoting a culture around a digital workplace shows employees that the company cares about them.
Their time is valuable to the business and providing them with a world-class digital employee experience, that’s integrated with every tool they use, is a paramount priority.

Integrating all applications into one searchable, cross-platform UX is one of the key features that allows Digital Assistant to drastically cut back wasted productivity. You can use our free estimator to see how much your organization can save.

Challenge 2: Dealing with low satisfaction

Traditional Intranets and SharePoints are unfortunately not very effective at helping with user satisfaction as Gartner found that 90% of Intranets fail. One reason for this unbroken record is that Intranets are not fully encompassing of all data in an organization, thus they’re not able to live up their mission of being the central portal for everything the employee needs.

Adopting a Digital Employee Experience approach would be an acknowledgement by HR departments that there is way more to do for the organization before a Digital Workplace is truly achieved. Taking such a frank approach is a recommended tactic by CMS Wire.

A Digital Employee Experience approach pulls focus away from the Intranet, and instead focuses on how to best integrate data from all applications in the organization, sometimes up to 500.

For Digital Assistant customers adopting an approach revolving around the Digital Employee Experience has been credited with improving workplace satisfaction by 17%.

Challenge 3: Creating enterprise chatbots that interface with existing applications

57% of employees report encountering significant barriers in their work, and removing those can be a low hanging fruit for chatbots. Many questions or structured processes can be consistently delivered to employees through chatbots which are a win-win; HR is relieved from administration and employees get the best possible answer to any question at any time and from any location.

For example by using chatbots to screen applicants for suitability the process can be made 4x quicker and result in a higher job application rate overall.

Digital Assistant customers see 72% of new hires feeling happier about having joined the company due to the organization’s modern and employee-centric approach which reflects a higher commitment to staff.

Wide range of AI chatbots’ possibilities

Other chatbot examples could be self-serve bots that deliver answers that are more personalized than your average FAQ pages on the HR section of the Intranet, for example for questions like:

  • How can I request leave?
  • Where is the first aid kit?
  • What is the pension policy?
  • Can I stay home from work if my child is sick?
  • How much charity leave do I get?
  • Where can we get sponsorship for the community?
  • When is the next blood donation drive?
  • What are the latest employee satisfaction survey results?
  • What training is available to me?
  • Do I need a sick note if I’m sick one day?
  • Is there a bike-to-work scheme?
  • What benefits and perks can I get?

Chatbots also have potential to create a more ethical workplace. For example, to report discrimination or misconduct in a secure manner. For example, one company thinks an anonymous bot can encourage reporting of sensitive information:

One of the many benefits of using an AI Bot to report discriminatory behavior is while employees want to report these events, they are reluctant to do so out of fear of retaliation. But reporting the incidence to a conversational bot results in a time stamped report of the information they can either send to their employer (anonymously) or hold on to for potential reporting at another time.

Jeff Rieb, Senior Director, People Operations & Innovation, DaVita

1. Request leave

Cloud-based HR platforms like Workday are proliferating, equipping HR departments with the power of APIs to export and submit data to/from such SaaS apps. A common first use case is the one of PTO allowance Card, that also allows the user to submit new PTO request right from the same Card.

PTO Status and Submission Cards from the Card Hub
PTO Status and Submission Card from the Card Hub

2. Help advertise recruitment opportunities

HR constantly balances recruitment and agency costs with keeping attrition rates low. Internal recruitment is therefore encouraged so that employees can plan their career inside the business, or in another location should their circumstances require it.

Especially with remote work being more common job boards are rife for Digital Transformation, where employees can set their own alerts and never miss an exciting opportunity.

In a recent survey Digital Assistant customers have reported lower attrition rates of, on average, $825 per employee.

Digital Assistant Card showing new matches for internal job postings
Example of an internal Job Postings Card showing new matches to filters set by the user

3. Remind users about their training and development

Training and LMS systems typically place a high cognitive load on employees as they use these platforms infrequently, unlike HR who depend on them day-to-day. Yet both sides can benefit from APIs available from such systems, for example to offer users direct booking capability via a chatbot.

Digital Assistant Card showing a list of available training courses to a user
A Training Card showing available on-line or physical training sessions

4. Help managers stay on top of performance appraisals

Every HR manager knows that regular performance appraisals are helping employees’ personal growth, retain talent and increase job satisfaction. But line managers can find it all too easy to push timeframes due to the administration involved with the reviews.

So making the process more seamless for every party involved can reduce friction in the process and help with getting performance reviews done on time.

Digital Assistant Card showing a reminder for upcoming performance appraisals, with actionable buttons
Example of a Performance Review reminder Card that offers line managers direct actions to send meeting invites and record results

5. Promote more workplace wellbeing and inclusivity

In times of Digital Transformation, the most successful companies have understood HR to be the department responsible for the digital well-being of their employees.

Example of PwC's intranet showing a 'Habit Bank' for healthy behaviours

PwC for example have created a “Habit Bank” for employees, that suggests and encourages helpful behaviours employees should consider adopting.

Suggestions are deliberately breaking with the orthodox management consultancy clicheés, i.e. encouraging “no-phones-during-lunch” or “device-free commutes”.

Such tips can, and should be, adopted by every organization which could then distribute them through their smart assistant platform.

Digital Assistant Card with suggestions for staying healthy at work
Card showing weekly, healthy workplace tips. This week: Three tips from the physical category.

6. Broadcast health and safety messages

One of the key benefits of a cross-channel, always available smart enterprise assistant, is that it can aide with distributing urgent communications, should the need arise.

For example, a Health and Safety Card could be a mandatory subscription for every user, alerting them on all devices to issues they have to be aware of.

Digital Assistant Card showing health and safety messages for employees
Example of a Health and Safety Card that can show warnings of different severities

Previously, such messages would be send via email, as a relatively safe way to ensure delivery. But with a smart assistant platform such messages will reach employees on their Alexas in the kitchen, their Google Assistants in the car or their phones in the gym – guaranteeing the fastest possible distribution of vital communications.

Digital Assistant's Cross Channel notifications can be displayed on desktops, in browsers, on mobile devices, inside collaboration tools and on smart devices
Cross Channel notifications that appear on desktops, as well as, any place away from the desk


We hope this gave you a glimpse in the opportunities Digital Assistant can hold to bring the digital transformation of your HR department to the next level.

Did we leave any issues out that are dear to your organization? Then let us know in the comments below.

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