Q&A: How Artificial Intelligence is creating effective HR

The company Spoke has developed the first on-demand workplace – using artificial intelligence. Think of it like “Netflix for office” questions.

What makes its work different is the timing. Spoke says its solutions resolve long-term HR issues, like waiting for HR to respond, which can take time and resources and frustrate employees. This new technology delivers immediate access to knowledge and support, everything from how to use the copy machine to questions about health benefits at the company.

To date, Spoke has helped customers like StockX, Evernote and Brandless save time by using AI to track and automate workplace requests. Corp! magazine asked Spoke’s head of marketing Josh Anish for some insights on how HR departments can bridge what can be a gap between workers, human resources and the C-Suite.

Q: Why is it important for HR departments to connect in real ways with the employees and their executive teams?
A: It’s important for HR departments to connect in real ways because the issues and requests that come across their desks are important to real people. For example, our platform at Spoke showed that 25 percent of all HR tickets are about money — payroll, 401K, etc., and the peak time for HR tickets is Thursday afternoon as opposed to HR tickets which peak Monday morning. In other words, once the work week calms down people focus on what really matters and start writing HR requests. So while digital technologies proliferate, we’re still humans with very human needs. That focus will never change for HR. At Spoke, we call this the on-demand workplace.

Q: How is technology helping HR talk to workers more effectively?
Our latest report, The State of Employee Request in the On-Demand Workplace, showed that 49 percent of all HR requests are repetitive. Almost 15 percent of requests have been asked before, word for word. AI and machine learning can help answer these questions that people ask again and again. For example, Spoke automates the response to questions like, “What is the wi-fi password?” so HR teams aren’t wasting time answering them, thereby freeing teams up to connect with co-workers

Q: How can HR departments create more energy around knowing what they do day-to-day?
HR ticketing is not a layer of bureaucracy; it’s a step toward transparency. Employees can know the exact status of, for example, their promotion requests. On the other hand, HR departments can benefit from the entire organization seeing how busy they are. There’s also the difficult task of onboarding. HR teams are forever looking to streamline the process; multi-team workflows inside a ticketing platform in the on-demand workplace.

Q: What should executives do to better connect with their HR staff and employees?
Listen to them. Look at the data. Give them the best tools. Our report shows that when given the ability, employees write 70 percent of their tickets in Slack. Employees like Slack, so give them Slack. Executives can make employees happier by bringing the most user-friendly software platforms into the organization.

Q: What else do you want people to know about making HR better?
AI is not going to take human resources away from us humans. At least not any time soon. That said, HR teams can benefit from AI helping out with the repetitive stuff so they can have time to deal with human issues at a human level. The science of HR in the next decade will feature humans handing off the work they no longer want to do themselves. This is a good development.