Conversational interfaces: The future of employee engagement
July 31, 2019
By marketing peoplestrong
Chat-bots and other interfaces are saving employees and HR heads time for more productive activities by providing information and replies to diverse queries or concerns.
A few years ago, business communication was driven by multiple faxes in a day and emails were the only quick mode of exchanging information. This information went through the organisation’s who’s who, while the others were mostly engaged in the daily rut of redundant activities, preventing them from directing their capabilities towards more productive areas. For instance, a normal working day for any HR professional then comprised dealing with never-ending queries of hassled employees and being drowned in the pressure of myriad administrative tasks.
A new dawn of disruption then transformed the very foundation of how businesses are conducted daily. A slew of technologies has altered workplace reality, replacing the older dynamics with a structure championing a more open, connected Workplace 4.0. It has succeeded in transcending circumscribing elements such as geographical boundaries, time and existing information silos. This metamorphosis is supported by the changing demands of a workforce seeking a more collaborative, virtually-abled work environment.
Companies need to reshape themselves to accommodate the requirements of this agile workforce- a task possible only when they simultaneously embrace both technological and cultural shifts, with the aim of establishing an open, cohesive workplace environment. Today, companies have access to Artificial Intelligence-based solutions with the ability to drive a more collaborative, interconnected workforce. Conversational platforms with advanced cognitive technologies are fostering the development of precise and customised automated dialogues efficiently catering to numerous employee-related processes.
Using these conversational interfaces , HR departments are successfully aligning themselves with the swiftly-changing organisational processes. These platforms represent people friendly technologies that keep employee experience at the centre, continuously evolving with them. Imagine having a personal smart work-life assistant at one’s beck and call that provides every employee with relevant, contextual human-like assistance. Employees no longer need to imagine such a utopian existence because this is the reality of Workplace 4.0.
These conversational platforms are transforming transactional interfaces to conversational interfaces with an inbuilt chatbot offering 24×7 support to employees from anywhere, anytime. Employees need not be physically present at their work premises to avail the bouquet of assistive services offered. These interfaces also enable completion of a range of everyday activities in a quick, hassle-free manner that otherwise took undue time and resources.
For instance, earlier an employee needed to personally approach the HR Manager or mail them to receive an answer to simple queries such as the number of leaves one can avail or if these are applicable to specific insurance benefits or not. Today, conversational interfaces using chatbots help the employee in instantly acquiring this information, thereby saving both the employee’s as well as the HR Manager’s time for more productive activities.
Consider the increasing prominence of chatbots in human resource management. The seamless experience they provide makes employees focus on activities that require critical abilities and strategic thinking. Besides enabling HR processes such as generating leave applications and reimbursement forms, the use of chatbots provides quick and smooth access to data from anywhere, anytime. These functions contribute to boosting employee productivity and also enhancing an employee’s experience in the organisation.
Conversational platforms are further empowering employees through their ability to securely connect them with peers and workgroups, transcending time and geographical boundaries. Information sharing is no longer a hierarchical process but instead characterised by peer-to-peer sharing, data exchange on-the-go and open conversations. An employee based out of Mumbai can experience and participate in a conversation happening in London, regardless of the disparity in functions, hierarchies and regions. There cannot be a better example of a workplace that is connected across global boundaries and cultural differences.
HR technologies are increasingly using advanced machine learning for measuring and analysing workforce engagement. Sentiment analysis is a unique way of gauging an employee’s disposition towards the organisation, providing valuable insights essential for improving productivity and predicting attrition rates.
In the long run, conversational interfaces exert a direct impact on the sustainability of enterprises because they contribute to increasing employee satisfaction. They also act as an endorsement for the organisation before younger talent since this group is increasingly searching for places offering them opportunities for greater collaboration and an open environment for innovation.
Every conversational platform needs to keep the employee experience at the centre of its agenda, making the processes more user-experience oriented. These platforms should be built with the aim of nurturing relationships between employees and the organisation. Accordingly, such interfaces can efficiently boost employee productivity as well as sustain engagement across the multi-generational workforce of the organisation, irrespective of distances and differences.