What Role Will Chatbots Play in Employee Retraining and Development?

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Seamus RoddyContent Developer for Clutch

Friday, June 19, 2020

Although retraining is a major challenge for employers, chatbots can provide additional support that will help your employees thrive.

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Last month, Amazon announced a plan to pump $700 million into retraining one-third of its American workforce. The unprecedented retraining program is designed to prepare workers for technology-focused tasks. By 2025, as many as 100,000 Amazon employees are expected to be reassigned to new roles within the company.

Most employees believe companies should follow Amazon’s lead and assume responsibility for retraining. In fact, more than 70% of workers say it’s important for employers to help them develop the skills they’ll need to advance to a new role or secure a new job.

Amazon’s retraining program is also part of a larger pattern in the American workforce. As artificial intelligence and robotics advance, workers will need new skills to survive. For companies tackling the challenge of retraining, the same technology that is reshaping employees’ old jobs might be able to prepare them for new ones.

You can use this article to learn how chatbots can help retraining programs succeed and improve your company’s bottom line.

Chatbots create efficient employee onboarding

Whether you’re a recent graduate or a veteran of the workforce, onboarding into a new role requires communication, patience, and teaching. Even when employees remain within the same company, moving between departments or changing roles can feel like starting from square one.

For example, a warehouse worker who joins the corporate office’s IT department will likely encounter a learning curve. They might have questions about who to notify before taking a sick day or how to download an app their team uses frequently.

Chatbots can help reduce the strain onboarding puts on other staff members. HR departments are already demonstrating the promise of chatbots.

“[They] quickly get employees the answers they are looking for, making them more productive and ultimately more satisfied.” - Chatbots Magazine.

 

If companies don’t use chatbots as a resource, they risk overburdening their management teams. Instead of relying on human workers to fill out onboarding forms, a chatbot can guide new employees through a series of questions to gather data. This significantly reduces the burden of manual data entry.

Chatbots can also be trained to handle simple, repetitive questions that arise when an employee starts a new role. This can ensure that retraining leaves employees feeling supported – not alienated.

Chatbots help employees master new tools

Just as employees bring the same questions about benefits or vacation policies to HR departments, new software and technology tools will also elicit a wave of repetitive questions.

In the past, companies might have tried solutions such as detailed videos that explain each step in using an unfamiliar tool. However, these are imperfect solutions. Employees who have small questions may not want to halt their entire workflow to track down 30 seconds of a video clip that can clear up their query.

Worst of all, employees who are unable to find the answers they need might feel embarrassed and avoid asking for help. This is especially true for workers who have been retrained and reassigned from other departments.

“Bots in the Human Resources department have access and can sort through the database of a specific employee’s information much faster than a human on the other end.” - Chatbots Life

 

Similarly, bots can easily query databases of common questions related to new software or technology tools. They can also respond to natural language, such as “How do I add a new field?” or “How can I duplicate a file?”

Final thoughts: effective chatbots avoid “trainer’s bias”

While chatbots can help companies seamlessly retrain employees, companies should avoid common pitfalls. The most important thing to avoid is “trainer’s bias,” or the tendency for experts to design bots that overlook real users’ questions.

For example, when training someone to use CRM software, an expert might want to teach users about segmenting audience lists, but new users might have simpler questions such as how to access their dashboard.

Fortunately, the solution to most chatbot issues is simple: allow employees to help train new chatbots. In addition to including and engaging employees, this will ensure that your chatbots are genuinely helpful as your retraining program unfolds.

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Seamus Roddy

Content Developer for Clutch

https://clutch.co/

Seamus Roddy is a Content Developer for Clutch, an Inc. 1000 recognized B2B research, ratings, and reviews firm in Washington, D.C. He primarily researches HR and workplace topics.

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