3 things to think about how your HR chatbot will work for you
You’re doing your research; seeing what functionality is on offer, what the price is and considering what impact an HR chatbot could make. It’s a lot to think about. We’ve had a hundred conversations about this and there are 3 things that we find people haven’t thought about. We’re going to tell you about them here so that you can get ahead, plan and make sure you’re not surprised.
1. How long will you keep chats for?
It sounds like a silly question, doesn't it? We’re so used to having our text, email, WhatsApp and messenger history available to us that your first response might be: ‘forever’ or ‘as long as people want to’.
But, stop and think for a moment and you’ll already know; it goes deeper than that. For starters, these are employees accessing a system for work. Everything in the bot is like your company email. Company-owned. Likely you may have an existing position on:
- emails and how employees can use the email system; and/or
- document retention, especially considering GDPR.
Depending on your answers to these two, it’s could already be written down somewhere how long you will keep bot chats for.
If you haven’t got a documented position on emails or document retention, where do you start? We find our customers have a range of answers:
Every variation is correct, as each organisation is different. You need to think about what works for your company.
In thinking about the retention of chats, you also need to think about a couple of other things:
a) If you’re retaining the chats for a period, can your employees also see them for that time? Historical data could be archived in a separate data store where it may not be accessible for employee users.
b) Whether you are or aren’t retaining the chats, what do you need to make people aware of in communications?
c) Does this impact any MI that you might get from the system? It’s a challenge to say ‘we’ve been asked about Holidays 5 times more than anything else’ if you don’t have any data history to confirm that.
We can’t tell you what the answers are, as each organisation we work with has different needs and drivers. It’s never too early though to start thinking through what having bot-chats means for you.
2. Are you prepared for issues that having a bot might raise?
This needs a bit of explaining. We see different ways that issues come up that have nothing to do with the bot itself but everything to do with having a bot.
The bot has no personality and no preferences. It has an answer for questions, and it provides them regardless of who has asked it. If there are employees who have been told something different by colleagues, managers or even HR, there will be no escaping the bot’s consistent answer. This may raise issues of inconsistent treatment and experiences which will need to be resolved. These issues have been there before the bot arrived; they are now unmasked. How you deal with these instances, will be influential in how people trust and use HR (and the bot) going forward.
People can interact with a bot in different ways. They’ll ask it about things it knows nothing about, seeking a funny answer or a different challenge. Yes at some point someone will ask the bot something they wouldn’t ask a colleague. It might be alternative topics: like politics or news. It could be a tone that they use that is rude. But, you should be prepared for a situation where someone asks the bot something suggestive, lewd or worse. How will you deal with it? The bot is not human, doesn’t have feelings and cannot be intimidated, threatened or propositioned. Does the employee’s behaviour reflect a wider attitude? If they are talking to the bot in this way, are they also talking to other colleagues this way too?
Like any potential disciplinary situation, you may need to investigate and find complete information (remember, we talked about saving those chats?). It may be that you can have a quick conversation with the employee or their manager and resolve. Having a clear view within your team (and consider them for part of your upfront communications on the bot) of how to deal with these situations, will enable you to act.
3. Where does the bot fit in your communication channels
Any HR team I’ve worked in or led has had contact options. You could turn up in the department in person, make a call or email. And now you have a bot.
The reason for needing a bot may vary and as a result, so can how you want employees to use it.
You may be bringing in a bot because you have a growing workload and are trying to free up team capacity. There is more value add activities for you to do and answering the same question 13 times a day eats into that availability.
You may be bringing in a bot to cover employee working times. As an HR team, you may only be available in person, on the phone or by email during the working day. But you have employees who work 24/7. Currently, they need to wait for an answer to come back when HR is available but that might mean waiting a day or longer for an answer.
Again, considering this against a spectrum may help:
Driving the bot as the first point of contact for answers, frees up more of your time but culturally may impact the view of HR (is it a barrier to talking to someone?). Encouraging people to use it as an alternative option, may mean that you don’t get users logging in and adopting it (meaning they would use it repeatedly as a channel).
All of these decisions influence your communications on the launch of the bot and thinking about them ahead of time allows you to define what you want and need. We’ve found these to be critical to the success of an HR chatbot implementation and embedding.
Is There a Perfect HR Chatbot for You?
By now, you’re wondering if you want a chatbot in your company. Of course, for your first line HR general questions and queries, we have our very own HaRi-Bot. We’d love to tell you about it and you can book a free demo.
We hope you found this information useful and wish you the best on your journey to find the right HR chatbot for your organisation. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and remember to check out our Blog or Knowledge Centre for more insights and visit us again.