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Communication is key, especially when it comes to effectively managing a company’s workforce.

Yet establishing communication throughout the workplace has become a challenge for HR teams.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 38 percent of HR respondents said the primary challenge they face is “maintaining high levels of employee engagement.” It’s common for employees to engage with HR teams during the hiring, onboarding, and open enrollment processes, but communication tends to lack otherwise.

Bring in the bots

It’s been noted that 90 percent of the time we spend on mobile is on email and messaging platforms, which is why chatbots are becoming the next best thing since sliced bread.

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A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and artificial intelligence, which you interact with via a chat interface such as Slack, Facebook Messenger, or HipChat. Chatbots have actually been around for years, but these intelligent bots are making a comeback with the rise of A.I. (artificial intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things).

Some examples of chatbots include weather bots that tell you the daily forecast, news bots that keep you updated with current events, and chatbot friends that you simply talk to.

While most chatbots are being used to answer everyday questions (e.g., “What is the current outside temperature?”), these intelligent bots are also being applied by businesses looking to streamline processes, maximize efficiency, and create overall better forms of communication.

What if there were a chatbot for HR?

Bobby Mukherjee, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and CEO of Loka, is currently working on a chatbot called Jane, which is designed to help HR teams develop better forms of communication.

Through the use of A.I., Jane can answer employee questions in real time on the Slack messaging platform. For example, if an employee wants to know if they have Memorial Day off, they can simply type in their question, send it to Jane, and receive an immediate response.

Jane ultimately provides a solution for HR teams struggling with on-demand communication and employee engagement rates.

With this in mind, here are three ways in which a chatbot, such as Jane, can revolutionize the way HR teams communicate and engage with employees:

1. Employees can connect with HR via mobile devices

It’s common to see your coworkers sending messages on their phones during work hours. In fact, messaging apps have now surpassed social networks in terms of monthly active users.

It only makes sense to implement a chatbot that allows HR teams and employees to constantly be connected via their mobile devices. For example, just as you would send a friend a Facebook message, a chatbot for HR is able to receive an employee’s message and send an immediate response.

Chatbots are especially relevant for millennials, as this group relies heavily on mobile messaging platforms and new technology to stay connected. Chatbots are also extremely useful for the 3.7 million employees that work remotely and don’t have face-to-face access to HR. As a result, more talent will be retained due to better, faster, and easier forms of communication.

2. HR can respond in real time, resulting in faster employee decisions

We all know that HR teams can send out an overwhelming load of information, often during open enrollment. However, employees typically forget answers to important questions or throw away documents that are needed in the future.

Rather than trying to remember everything at once, a chatbot for HR will answer questions in real time, resulting in faster decision making for employees. A chatbot for HR teams creates an effective approach to answering crucial questions such as “When do we get paid?” or “How can I switch dental providers?”

“An A.I. chatbot such as Jane becomes smarter over time and will learn to answers questions that are frequently being asked by employees. There will be questions that Jane won’t immediately be able to answer. Yet the HR team can train the bot to recognize common questions being asked, allowing HR to respond to fewer questions over time. This frees up the HR team to work on more strategic issues,” said Mukherjee.

3. Chatbots can collect employee data to create more efficient processes

A chatbot for HR can be used for more than just answering questions. There is also the opportunity to use these bots to gather employee data to make informed decisions and create more efficient processes.

For example, a chatbot such as Jane can collect real-time analytics to see what kind of questions employees are frequently asking. Let’s say that a majority of employees are asking questions about dental reimbursement delays. This data could indicate that something in the system isn’t working correctly. Before things get out of hand, an HR executive could detect the issue and let employees know that a solution is being implemented. HR teams could also look at employee data being collected via a chatbot to run sentiment analysis to understand employee satisfaction rates.

Another data-related use case would be chatbots asking for small pieces of data to complete an employee form. Rather than presenting employees with a form that could take an hour to complete, a chatbot could send out a daily push notification asking for a piece of information required for the form. Each question would take about a minute to complete, and the entire form could be finished in less than a month.

The rise of the bots

Don’t be surprised if the HR person at your next job is actually a bot. Chatbots, such as Jane, provide scalable access to organizational information in real time, which is what businesses require to remain efficient during this era of digital transformation. A chatbot for HR ultimately helps bridge the communication gap between employees by allowing them immediate access to crucial information at all times, a concept that is sure to gain momentum as chatbots rise in popularity.

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