Artificial Intelligence-led systems are actively addressing and eliminating procedural bottlenecks, hence making an organisation more efficient and financially secure.
By Dr Sindhu Joseph
As you make comparisons between top line and bottom line, there is something that is hidden from plain sight. How to consolidate your position and increase revenue has been a riddle that you’ve been trying to solve for quite some time now. But since neither cost-cutting measures, nor delaying the product rollout seems to be a viable option, you can find yourself in a quandary. However, amid those exhaustive numbers, financial reports, and market analysis, what you have managed to persistently overlook is a critical piece of information that could’ve easily solved your dilemma – increasing employee engagement.
It was revealed in a study conducted by Gallup Organisation on 1.4 million employees that enterprises with greater engagement register 22 percent higher productivity. They, moreover, experience lower attrition (which can cost about 213 percent of the salary of the employee walking out), thus attributing to 25 percent less attrition in the case of high-attrition companies and 65 percent less attrition for low-attrition companies. The cherry on the top is the fact that the increasing engagement also results in 41 percent less quality incidents or defects for high-scoring businesses. Increased productivity, decreased attrition, and improved quality… in other words, the advantages are considerably improved business efficiency, and that too, with the same set of resources.
The need for an HR makeover:
The role of the HR department has proved to be pivotal in holding together the tether of an entire organisation. From recruitment to establishment of a conducive work atmosphere, HR managers bear the mandate to ensure a smooth workflow and stimulate cross-departmental collaborations. They are also responsible for grievance redressal, addressing frequent employee-generated queries, resolving workflow-related concerns, as well as cross-referencing crucial information such as payslips, before disseminating them to employees.
HR managers, moreover, have to spearhead operations such as mergers and acquisitions as well as training and development of the employees. In-house functions such as yearly and quarterly appraisals also fall under the ambit of the HR department
However, considering across-the-board operations that the HR department has to deal with, the HR personnel often cannot look into specific matters, for instance, heaps of employee feedback forms, even if it is a customary HR practise. Such acts can increase employee dissatisfaction and can have negative repercussions on a business without it coming under the radar of the management.
According to Officevibe, a client engagement platform, 29% percent of employees believe that such employee surveys are pointless. And indeed they are, as the study also revealed that 52% of the managers admitted that they review employee feedback but do not take any action, while 27% of the managers never reviewed the employee surveys at all.
Also, simple queries, such as company policy, bundled leaves, list of holidays, and specific employee-centric initiatives are some of the primary engagements for the HR department which require standard responses. Nevertheless, reverting to these mails and elaborately attending to these queries is what most HR managers are fraught with throughout the day.
Artificial Intelligence, or simply an intelligent ‘Art’
The increased activity as well as scientific research with regards to artificial intelligence is gradually decreasing the burden of the HR department. AI-led HR analytics tools are now being deployed for numerous use cases. These analytics tools can ingest HR policies, enterprise documents, as well as can be linked to HR backend systems, which grant them access to vast enterprise data repositories and automate communications to employees, eliminating the need for human intervention. Specific HR-centric virtual assistant solutions such as ‘Ask HR’ can even leverage this data to automate exhaustive processes such as leave management, appraisals, and expense reimbursement – that too, without leaving any scope for error. Such systems, moreover, leverage NLP (Natural Language Processing) along with Machine Learning, which ensures that they learn and develop by themselves without external programming. The Machine Learning technology also ensures that the user experience enhances with time and generates the optimum result by maximizing employee engagement and satisfaction. CogniCor, an AI company that specializes in cognitive customer interaction automation, recently rolled out a virtual agent platform for automating IT support and process query resolution for employees. Such systems help a new joinee onboard quickly or get a seasoned employee bring up to terms with a new software rolled out within an organization.
Additionally, such systems provide actionable insights with regards to employees that are more likely to turn over, thus preparing the management to take preventive measures so that the workflow is not affected. These AI-driven systems decrease a lot of burden shared by the HR professional, enabling them to better utilise their time in framing evolved policies, rolling employee-centric programs, and addressing serious grievances of the employees.
This approach can also prove to be beneficial for client servicing and can process complex commands, encourage buying decisions, facilitate product comparison, and provide round-the-clock availability for help and support issues. They, furthermore, extend a consistent quality, which is not possible in human-driven systems. Such automated systems can easily gauge the user intent and can help in targeting the customer with the most optimal technique, hence paving the way for better customer on-boarding.
Artificial Intelligence-led systems have opened new dimensions for businesses to experience higher productivity through the same resources. They are actively addressing and eliminating procedural bottlenecks, hence making an organisation more efficient and financially secure.
(The author is CEO & Co-Founder, Cognicor, an AI-based platform that offers enterprise grade cognitive virtual assistant solutions)