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What Is the Role of Chatbots in Onboarding New Employees?

April 12, 2022 • 3 minute read

Amplify the efficiency of your  human resource vertical with AI-enabled chatbots to streamline the recruiting process and save time as well as effort spent on onboarding new employees. Enterprises have to adopt advanced HR hiring practices and incorporate onboarding automation softwares in their resource kit to be future-ready.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at the emerging role of chatbots in HR hiring practices and how they can help deliver the new employee orientation packet for flawless onboarding.

How are chatbots useful in the HR onboarding process?

HR onboarding requires a significant amount of hand-holding of new hires in the initial period. HR professionals involved in the onboarding process are constantly required to respond to questions about the orientation, policies, compensation, benefits and many other queries. Anything from requisition for printed business cards to opening a bank account to filing documents can be the subject of these queries. 

The HR onboarding process is a pretty standardized workflow with well-defined and repetitive tasks. Much of these policies are standardized and already available in HR books for quick reference. Some items on the checklists remain the same for every new hire; this is true for policies, procedures, knowledge bases, orientation programs and beyond.

A chatbot is an ideal choice for answering all the mundane queries in an automated onboarding process. Let’s take a peek at the challenges that HR professionals as well as new hires face in the onboarding process and how chatbots can help resolve these challenges.

Employee onboarding challenges for the HR

For the new hire, the sole point of initial communication with the organization is the assigned HR associate. The HR personnel has to liaise with multiple teams like IT, payroll and admin to ensure the new hires are set up well on these subsystems. With a bunch of new hires interacting with multiple teams, the HR onboarding team is faced with a few challenges. Understanding these bottlenecks will help in better appreciating the benefits that conversational AI chatbots bring to the table.

1. Establishing the line of communication 

A typical hiring process takes upto 36 days, with top talent getting recruited within 10 days. A continuous and effective line of communication has to be established between the new hire and the company. Ineffective sporadic communication might result in the loss of the candidate to the competition.

This communication involves messaging appropriate updates on the status of the hiring, scheduling of interviews, communication of date of joining, documents required on onboarding day and so much more. Then there are human errors which are inevitable in these communications.

2. Streamlining documentation

Any HR professional can attest to the fact that the amount of paperwork involved in onboarding an employee is overwhelming. From credential certificates to educational qualifications proofs, from biometrics enrollment to insurance and banking details, the checklist is exhaustive.

Add to that, specific requirements of certain documents, the number of signatures and the spot where signatures are considered legal. To arrange this paperwork for a batch of new hires is a task fraught with potential errors and misses.

3. New-hire orientation

Although a shared responsibility between HR and the team management, the weight of organizing new-hire orientation is mostly on the HR professionals' shoulders. The new hire looks up to the HR professional to resolve all kinds of queries from company policies to employee benefits to in-hand pay and beyond. Apart from these, the HR professional also has to ensure the new hire is introduced well and settled in the team comfortably. 

Onboarding challenges for employees

The challenges any new hire faces are not as steep as the ones on the HR side; nonetheless, these challenges can demotivate a new hire easily, if not quickly addressed.

1. The long wait

88 percent of organizations are facing increased attrition, and then there is this great resignation wave that has opened up the job markets. You might yourself be able to recall those days of the yore when there was a long lull after the interview process.

The candidate has no clue about what is happening and is unsure of the offer. This is specifically crucial when you are at a career crossroad and have to decide your next step. A delay in an update from HR and the candidate is lost to competition.

2. Documents, documents and more documents

With so many documents to produce, it is easy for any human in the entire cycle to drop the ball. The requirement for some documents is never mentioned and the new hire has to get all those in order at the very last moment. Besides that, any skip in filing documentation can reflect in audit scores later for HR compliance.

3. Company policies

Every business has its own set of employee policies. A newbie will always be curious to know more about these policies and will chase their HR contact to know everything before they commit. In such situations, when the HR contact is not reachable or unresponsive, the new hire is bound to feel left in the lurch. 

These are some of the core challenges that plague HR onboarding. Now let’s see how these challenges can be overcome with the help of a conversational AI chatbot solution.

Role of chatbots in the HR onboarding process

HR onboarding processes and procedures were among the first to get automated when businesses started to look for automation opportunities in the HR space. The procedures involved in the onboarding process are rather predictable. Let’s look at the various roles chatbots can play in the employee onboarding process.

1. Handle pre-onboarding formalities

Pre-onboarding is the time frame from the moment employees accept and sign the offer letter until they start on their job. For roles in fields like software development, data science and data analytics where the competition is tough, this period demands total attention from the HR personnel involved. 

Any organizational slip-up or misunderstandings can result in losing the right candidate to external offers. With so much hiring underway, it becomes quite difficult for HR personnel to give individual attention to a multitude of queries.

Chatbots here can manage the interactions with new hires and direct them on various aspects of pre-onboarding like scheduling meetings, documentation details, roles and responsibilities, job description, information about the organization, career prospects, leave policy and more.

2. Guide new employees with onboarding paperwork

New hires will always have questions about the documents required, the exact spot to sign on a document, the number of times to sign on a document and more. Important documents like an employment contract, NDA, medical insurance and more paper trail can be quite overwhelming for a new hire. This confusion, along with a plethora of queries, flows quickly down to the HR personnel involved. 

A chatbot can relieve an HR personnel of all the hassle of the onboarding employee process by taking care of basic procedures like guiding the new hires through the documentation process in real-time, taking questions and providing accurate responses on relevant subjects, that too 24/7.

3. Provide important information about company rules 

New hires often look for support regarding the scope of work, roles and responsibilities, office facilities, recreational areas, team members, etc., in the new working environment. AI-enabled chatbots can help them with all these queries in the language that they are most comfortable with. 

New hires can look up team members, the scope of responsibilities, meeting schedules, facility walk-thru and more. The chatbot literally takes on the role of new hire orientation in that respect. A smartbot will assist a new hire with many things like checking the meeting calendar, getting introduced to the team, learning about the project, updating their details and more.

4. Facilitate quick feedback 

New hires, especially interns, are given tasks that need to be quickly evaluated and necessary feedback shared promptly. HR bots can take up the role of aggregating completed tasks and getting them assessed or evaluated by peers and managers. Incorporating automation shortens the time taken for feedback loops and helps in consistently improving new hire performance.

5. Answer FAQs

An intelligent AI-powered bot can answer all sorts of queries new hires tend to have. Questions about the business, workflow, expansion plans, work culture can all be left up to the chatbot to answer. It also further pushes the queries to HR or the reporting manager if there is no relevant answer available.

6. Facilitate compliance training

Compliance training, particularly at global enterprises, is a non-negotiable requirement and needs to be taken up within a defined time frame post joining the organization. Chatbots can guide the new hires on the full set of compliance training that they need to complete. Chatbots can regularly remind new hires of pending compliance training and escalate to a manager if training has been missed for any reason.

Conclusion

HR departments are embracing hiring automation software to automate and simplify HR hiring practices, including onboarding. It is important to critically evaluate various options available and adopt the one that can scale to your needs. 

Even if you decide on deferring onboarding hiring software, you should take the plunge when it comes to using chatbots to engage new hires during the onboarding process. They are an excellent resource to free up your HR personnel from mundane tasks and use their expertise to devise and implement HR policies or practices for better work culture.

Request a demo to learn more about how automation can streamline your HR processes.

Yellow.ai

Yellow.ai is a leading TX Automation Platform helping businesses to build chatbots and voice bots to automate support, sales, marketing, HR, ITSM, in 100+ languages, across 35+ channels

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