Remote Working and AI-Based Virtual Assistants

The pandemic has changed not only consumer behavior, but also the concept of work. When it comes to the work and working environment, this change which makes the remote working not an exception but the new normal, is revolutionary. In this new era, the importance of artificial intelligence-based virtual assistance for employees is rapidly increasing. 

What has been changed with remote working?

  • – Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Uber, American Express, Airbnb announced their remote / flexible working policies one after another. Some of them announced hybrid models, while others made 100% remote work permenant. 
  • – In Turkey, many compaies especially Koç Holding, Sabancı Holding and some leading banks announced their plans for remote working. 

The remote working trend led by technology companies has become the  most important issue in the human resources management. Gartner predicts that by 2023 the number of people working remotely will double, reaching 2/3 of the total employees. A report by McKinsey, Future of Work After Covid estimates that around 20-25 percent of workers in advacened economies are able to most of their work remotely. This point has shaken all the existing strategies in this fields and strated a process of rethingking, redesigning recreating strategies for many companies.

Working remotely has increased the volume of IT investments to augment employees in the new environment. As our working environment has become more remote-focused, it became more challenging for HR managers to deal with these topics, some of which are mentioned below:  

  • Team management, motivation, performance management
  • Ensuring efficient communication of employees, rapid access to information, automating frequently repeated simple transactions
  • Requirement, onboarding and offboarding 
  • Training, talent management, talent acquisition
  • Building and sustaining corporate culture
  • Cyber security 

For a healthy remote working model, companies need to involve their employees at the highest level and provide all technical and psychological support for them to realize their jobs. At this point, it becomes so crucial for the employees being able to get answers to their questions on every topic to access the document they want instantly such as to reset their password, without wasting time, to be able to quickly perform simple HR operations like determining leave dates, payroll view, etc.

How will companies cope with this situation?

A survey by McKinsey in July 2020 shows that 68 percent of executives plan to use automation and artificial intelligence more as a soluiton to this new environment caused by Covid-19.

Virtual assistants for employees fulfil this need, which gains importance with remote working

CBOT supports companies to create remote working models with internal use virtual assistants for employees with its experience gained in creating virtual assistants for large corporations.

These virtual assistants have been developed through artificial intelligence technology and enable employees to work more efficiently. They prevent employees from wasting time by answering simple questions asked to the departments such as human resources, information technologies, legislation, compliance or by performing simple transactions. When employees are out of the company, quick access to information, not wasting time for simple transactions and efficiency gain more importance.

For example, instead of asking the question to a human resources staff, he/she chats with the virtual assistant and instantly gets the right information. There is no need to write an e-mail, wait for a response, make a phone call, wait in queque, or search for information from a menu. To create such an experience, CBOT builds these assistants via natural language processing and machine learning technologies on CBOT Platform.

This interface offered by corporations to their employees provides them with a simple and natural experience, at the same time, teams that answer questions (HR, IT, Legal, etc.) are freed from answering frequently repetitive questions and can turn to more sophisticated and high value-added jobs.

How are these virtual assistants created, how do they work?

CBOT offers its virtual assistants for internal use for corporations with large numbers of employees such as Ford, Mercedes Benz, Ziraat Bank, Turkey Industrial and Development Bank. The aim of these projects is to enable the company to provide a better experience to its employees while making human resources operations more efficient.

Such an assistant actually offers a two-sided efficiency potential: it allows both the HR employee and the company employee to work more effectively. It does this by creating a direct and fast communication environment between the institution and the employee, and by making the information transparent and accessible for all.

CBOT’s employee-targeting virtual assistants first go through an analysis process. The scope of the project and the topics to be included are determined as a result of the analysis by CBOT analysis teams and the project team in the institution. Then, after the training of AI in this context and the completion of the necessary channel and / or internal system integrations, the testing process is started. The bots, which were tested by the test teams of CBOT and the institution, are put into use after the test findings are reviewed and necessary improvements are completed.

Ford is the first institution that collaborated with CBOT on virtual assistant for employees. Ford HR Assistant, Fo’bot, created on the CBOT Platform, is also the first AI-based HR Virtual Assistant in Turkey to be offered to such a large employee base.

The difference of CBOT’s experience is that it has implemented virtual assistants for very large institutions and covering a very wide area. These assistants;

  • can answer questions or perform transactions that are both general and personal.
  • generally work in integration with digital tools used by employees such as SAP, Slack, Microsoft Teams. They can take place on the corporate intranet as well as in messaging tools such as WhatsApp that employees are used to in their daily lives.
  • can work based on text and voice.
  • serve for all blue and white collar employees, thus increasing efficiency in all areas.
  • The company makes information available to its employees anytime, anywhere.

For example, an HR Virtual Assistant can automate a wide range of areas, from the overtime process to the payroll process, from annual leaves to onboarding and offboarding processes.

What is next?

The rising trend of remote working after the pandemic makes it necessary for companies to increase their IT investments to support their employees, and to enable them to work more efficiently, especially when away from the company. Companies and public institutions will implement more virtual assistants that enable their employees to be more productive while working remotely and to access information instantly.

CBOT had implemented very important projects in this regard before the pandemic. With the widespread use of remote work in the upcoming period, the demand for internal virtual assitants will increase both in public institutions and in large and medium-sized companies. This is an important area of ​​automation that has started before the pandemic but has been accelerated by it, and probably will be permanent after the pandemic.

CBOT has become a pioneer in this field by presenting very successful examples of internal virtual assitants for the largest institutions. In the future, it will continue to meet the increasing demand for virtual assistants for employees for both small, medium and large companies as well as public institutions.