Artificial intelligence is no longer just a sci-fi concept but is in fact a reality in today's workplace


Artificial intelligence and voice technology has come a long way in recent years, almost mirroring Stanley Kubrick’s HAL 9000 (with less terrifying outcomes). Sales for the Amazon Alexa have reached over 10 million (CIRP,2017), with consumers mostly using Alexa in their home to control their central heating or even order a pizza, all by voice command. With all this in mind could the virtual assistant also have a place in the modern workplace?

Large companies have already began introducing chatbots as the first point of contact for new starters to receive their payroll, annual leave and other HR related topics instead of delegating this to the already overloaded HR professionals. the creators of chatbots believe they make internal communications between employees more efficient, easier and also save money.

The demand for new technologies in the HR and Reward space lies predominantly in the fact that a considerable amount of the workforce is now made up of millennials who exist in a world of instant gratification and this also needs to translate to the communications they receive from their Human Resources team.  

BrightHR have adapted the Alexa virtual assistant for the office environment by considering the everyday needs of employers and HR professionals. The integration of BrightHR with Alexa will mean that absence related queries such as “'Alexa, ask BrightHR who is out today?' and 'Alexa, ask BrightHR who is out of the office on October 23rd?' can easily be answered once the system is merged with the company’s database.

Alastair Brown, chief technical officer, BrightHR, comments: “Using cutting-edge technology like this is great for start-ups and small businesses that don’t have an in-house HR function or professional in their workplace to deal with absence related issues. For businesses that do have HR professionals, a virtual assistant can bring relief and improve mundane HR tasks such as absence management by increasing speed and providing greater consistency in answering frequently asked HR questions. As a result, this frees up time to focus on what HR do best: nurturing and working with talent.”

“There’s also no need to switch to browsers or open an app either. People can keep working while they ask Alexa a question. At the heart of this is the drive to reduce people workloads. Voice is a much more natural way to interact and if voice technologies continue to develop further this is likely to transform the way businesses interact.”

There is great interest in the ways technology can ease the workloads, particularly for HR professionals and with technological changes happening in the ever evolving and fast paced world of business it is exciting to see where this technology could take us.

“At BrightHR HQ on top of keeping up to date with who’s out of the office, Alexa is also being used as a brew roulette where it decides who’s turn it is to make teas and coffees for their team, this is decided by simply saying “Alexa, ask BrightHR brew-lette.” Brown adds