Last week, I had an opportunity to meet with LeAnn Jeter, PHR and SHRM-CP, to discuss technology’s role within Human Resource and how generational changes will impact the use of technology within organizations.
LeAnn has over 20 years of Human Resources experience in all aspects of HR (Benefits, Compensation, Employee Relations, and Organizational Development) as an HR Generalist to VP of HR leadership positions.
In 2008, she co-founded the Strategic Human Resource Forum (SHRF) to provide a platform for HR professionals to collaborate and share information on strategic initiatives, resources, talents, innovative ideas, and progressive concepts. SHRF’s goal is to promote the HR profession by demonstrating the HR department as a profit center, building forward-thinking teams to transform and modernize HR practices to deliver strategic resources to members.
During the SHRF monthly meetings, HR practitioners can share ideas about challenges they have in their organization within a supportive and confidential community of peers. Over the past 10 years, SHRF has discussed the impact of technology on the role of HR within the organization.
LeAnn and I had a candid conversation about the transformational aspects of leveraging chatbot solutions and artificial intelligence technology within HR’s technology infrastructure.
Beth: Do chatbot solutions take the Human out of HR?
LeAnn: No, the Human in HR is not about the textbook answers to questions. Those questions can be automated providing answers to employees anytime and anywhere. HR is there for guidance and help with more complex issues employees incur on a daily basis. And that’s where the humans should be…as consultants regarding human resource issues, developing and retaining talent, growing leadership, fostering a productive work environment and serving as a strategic partner with senior management. Chatbots do not threaten HR leadership as it’s driven by content created by HR for employees. Employees are best served by having this content available at their fingertips with automated responses while HR focuses on providing more value to the organization.
Beth: What do you see as the key benefits of chatbots and AI in HR?
LeAnn: The ability to provide employees answers 24/7 is a huge benefit. The everyday questions employees have may not always come up during working hours. The chatbot is the perfect solution giving employees access to HR at any time. Chatbots can also be helpful to employees who may be uncomfortable asking more personal questions directly to HR. The chatbot not only provides immediate information and resources, but it also directs employees to contact HR for complex issues that cannot be automated.
Beth: Why should HR implement chatbots now?
LeAnn: Everyone, regardless of generation, has become much more accustomed to getting his or her questions answered instantly - right here and right now. No one wants to flip through a company's entire handbook to get an answer. Millennials are a fast-growing segment of the workforce. They grew up having technology readily available and really don’t think of calling people…instead they text or use a messaging tool. My kids text, my friends and I text each other…it is the future of communication. Employees expect their employers and HR teams to be innovators, especially in a time when unemployment is low and attracting and retaining talent is a key initiative of HR.
Beth: What were your thoughts after you saw the demo of MeBeBot’s HR TalkBot?
LeAnn: When I saw the demo of the HR TalkBot solution, I thought, “This is genius…why didn’t I think of this?” I was so excited at the potential to use chatbots to help both employees and HR that I sent an email out to a group of my HR colleagues to tell them about it. The HR profession attracts so many talented and strategic professionals who get stuck in administrative tasks. Strategic HR leaders can easily see how this type of solution is not an expense, but a Return on Investment (ROI) driver.