Automating Data Input for Better HR Output

It’s astounding how fast service preferences change. Barely a decade after Apple’s iPhone kickstarted the mobile app industry, many are announcing the imminent “death” of mobile apps.5 Tellingly, in just a few short years, chatbots have become the preferred method of customer service interaction.6 With all users expecting an immediate response to a text or voice command—no matter from which data sources the answer comes—AI has become the new UI, even for recruiting.


By 2020, candidates applying to jobs at 20% of large global enterprises will also interact with chatbots before recruiters.”7


This is good news for businesses. It’s estimated that by 2022, chatbots will save over $8 billion in cost savings (up from a mere $20 million last year), while over one-third of business executives say that the time freed up from using digital assistants allows them to focus on deep thinking and creating.8,9

AI can make many HR-relevant processes more programmatic for increased department efficiency, including:

  1. Application Filtering – Enable chatbots to correspond with online applicants to compare experience levels with desired requisition profiles, ensuring only qualified candidates reach your desk. Also, use AI technology to scan resumés for the right skills.
  2. Expense Reports – Use visual capture technology to extract relevant information from a receipt scan and input it into a web form, for faster processing and approval (which can also be automated).
  3. Payroll and Benefits Queries – Replace an underused FAQ portal with chatbots to answer the most common, time-consuming questions about vacation time or healthcare options, whether it’s open enrollment time or not.
  4. Quality Assurance – With robust anomaly detection, you can be alerted to countless HR concerns, from an erroneous overpayment in payroll to unusual system access that may indicate a security breach, regulatory ignorance, or other problems.
  5. Administration – Enable a “virtual assistant” via ambient AI (think Amazon’s Alexa) to receive, sort, and appropriately file or schedule communication from email and voicemail (and later remind you about and prepare you for associated events).

Many HR professionals would certainly be happy to completely hand over repetitive, time-consuming, non-value-added activities in favor of strategic duties that highlight one’s ingenuity. Consider a parallel paradigm shift in the age of cloud computing: How many IT professionals are reminiscing fondly about the old days of maintaining server racks?

The data needed to always adapt.

Like any business intelligence initiative, the integrity of data is paramount when it comes to AI in human resources. With the inevitable increase of humans’ reliance on AI-enabled insights, it’s critical to ensure that accuracy doesn’t suffer for the promise of productivity.11

Leaders understand that AI is much more than just tuning an algorithm, so you have got to be gathering the data that is relevant to your problem.”12

Chris Nicholson,co-founder and CEO, Skymind

For HR professionals, the definition of “the right data” has in recent years expanded to include information from other systems. Specifically, this means ERP for financial data; CRM for sales, marketing and service information; and SCM for procurement, inventory, warehouse, 3PL, IoT, and other data. By deploying a unified data platform in the cloud, companies can enable employees to further optimize processes. For instance, an HR department could:

  • Use voice or chat to simultaneously proceed with a job requisition while verifying and securing budget in the enterprise resource planning system.

  • Have recommended training courses automatically assigned to a struggling rep, based on A) sales performance in his or her territory, as seen in the customer relationship management system, and B) his or her projected career path, as seen in the human capital management system.


Despite the excitement over AI’s transformative power, companies are facing implementation challenges, with “lack of appropriate skills and talent within the organization” being the top one at 64%.13 This dilemma appears to be the norm in a landscape where adaptability to still-unknown environments is becoming a criterion for candidates.

It’s no secret that technology is changing at an exponential rate, requiring us to learn faster than humans have ever had to before…Our ‘adaptability quotient’ (AQ) will soon become the primary predictor of success, with general intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ) both taking a back seat.”14

Fast Company

It’s only natural, then, that a new school of thought has rechristened the acronym AI “adaptive intelligence,” to denote a highly advanced machine-learning system that continually learns to become more refined and insightful over time. Since humans must always be ready to adapt, shouldn’t an HR software system do the same?

Figure 2: Benefits of automation for HR.15

Automation benefits HR transactional processes in the following key ways:

  • Detects poor data integrity
  • Utilizes advanced analytics to anticipate and resolve issues
  • Monitors system stats and starts troubleshooting efforts
  • Enables scheduled maintenance and interface checks
  • Monitors regulatory environments to ensure compliance with latest statutory and regulatory reporting requirements
  • Reduces fraud
  • Minimizes security, compliance, and governance risk
  • Performs policy updates
  • Maintains record of tasks completed for compliance record keeping
  • Reduces human error rate resulting in greater performance, consistency, and accuracy of processes
  • Reduces manual employee data entry
  • Detects HR transaction and approval exceptions
  • Provides platform for continuous improvement
  • Increases visibility and transparency of HR processes
  • Improves service delivery model
  • Enables standardization of processes across entities
  • Reduces cycle time (e.g. Recruitment)
  • Performs tasks 365 days a year at 24/7 availability
  • Accelerates completion of tasks compared to human labor
  • Enables ability to scale up rapidly for increases in transaction volume (e.g. Benefit enrollment)
  • Provides faster reporting of KPI’s and SLA’s
  • Reduces FTE’s resulting in significant cost reductions
  • Automations rules-based processes enabling resources to focus on more value-add activities
  • Decreases need for training due to lack of employee turnover
  • Provides greater return and efficiency than outsourcing and offshoring resources (e.g. for HR shared services)