A carefree worker interacting with an internal chatbot on a laptop to schedule some vacation time

5 Ways Chatbots Can Help Increase Employee Retention

March 17, 2021 Employee Experience
Kaya Ismail
By Kaya Ismail

Everyone knows that it is challenging to find and retain the right talent. The lack of skilled workers is a major problem in many different industries, which can also be considered as one of the main challenges for business owners.

According to the Harvard Business Review, only about 30% of employees are engaged in their work. This is a problem for companies with high turnover rates and where new hires don't stay long enough to become productive or acclimate to the company culture. For example, it can cost up to $15,000 when an employee quits during onboarding, according to the same article. 

Over the past years, businesses have been turning towards bots to help them improve various parts of their operations. However, this is not the only reason why they are doing so. The other reason is employee retention.

According to Gartner research, by 2022 70% of white-collar workers will interact with conversational platforms on a daily basis. In the current business environment, where remote work has become the norm, retention is increasingly important.

"Remote work allows us to work from any location and apply for positions outside of our hometowns. For many companies, that means finding new creative ways to retain their top talent and keep their employees motivated," said Susan Norton, senior HR director at New York-based LiveCareer. "Chatbots can be a great support tool to achieve it."

The Benefits of Workplace Chatbots

Since most of the questions that HR professionals get are informational, they can be handled by an automated response system. For HR leaders, a chatbot can help employees get information quickly and effectively without having to interact directly with the HR department. That way, employees can feel taken care of and secure while at the same time the HR team has their hands free to tackle more pressing issues. 

Another often-unsung benefit of consistent support using chatbots is the ability for both internal and external resources to automate their processes around enterprise automation, spawning even more automation. Leveraging chatbots and applying machine learning and AI to support infrastructure is not just a good idea. It's practically mandatory to keep up with the pace of the industry.

Related Article: 5 Ways Chatbots Improve Employee Experience

How Can Chatbots Improve Employee Retention?

Receive Feedback from Employees: Evaluation and self-evaluation are the starting points in the improvement of human resources and the work experience. "Chatbots are a practical tool for receiving feedback from employees since they allow the dissemination of surveys or questionnaires to employees, giving managers a more global vision of how they feel about themselves in the workplace," said Tom Winter, HR tech recruitment advisor at Warsaw, Poland-based DevSkiller.

Manage Learning and Development Modules: In-company learning opportunities are an excellent way to retain employees. By automating potential learning opportunities, HR professionals can improve retention as a chatbot can provide more personalized training while on the job, helping them to grow and stay motivated to achieve company goals. Stefan Smulders, founder at Eindhoven, Netherlands-based Expandi considers chatbots to be a big part of the digitization of HR services. "If you have learning and development modules for the employee, they can easily be accessed and more effectively utilized by the employees," he said.

Provide Consistent Engagement: Consistent company-wide communication is often overlooked, which results in employees feeling less engaged and not cared for. "Chatbots can be used to provide consistent engagement and give people a voice," said Paris Petgrave, CEO at London-based We Love Work. "Often, organizations' initiatives to make change fail because of the leaders' momentum and engagement behind it." Chatbots support employee engagement and experience — it enables companies to provide a consistency that may not have been possible with human interventions.

Change Management: Digital transformation makes change management a necessity. However, employees tend to quit because of the uncertainty that comes with change. Chatbots can help employees cope with change and guide them to stay in the company. According to Martyn Cuthbert, people director at Gateshead, UK-based Nutshell Apps, chatbots are also "useful during phases of business change management, when a clear line of communication throughout the entire workforce is crucial. If this isn't upheld it can result in festering issues and unhappiness, which is detrimental to a team. Chatbots allow for each employee to be heard and interacted with."

Assistance With Hiring: Bad hiring decisions are one of the biggest causes of employee turnover. Sometimes, HR professionals hire the best candidates but fail to foresee the cultural differences or don't offer thorough information about the position and its responsibilities. Chatbots can help hire and onboard new employees and assist HR professionals by giving them a detailed walkthrough.  

It's clear that automating HR processes can deliver benefits to the HR department and its workers, reducing the uncertainty that comes with a new job and giving HR leaders the tools to spot bad hires in real time. That's not to mention the benefits they bring to the management of an increasingly distributed workforce.

"Chatbots should definitely be part of the HR function's future plans as they provide that easily accessible interaction in a time when many will remain working from home," Cuthbert said. 

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