While devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home are used daily in many households, voice search technology has yet to make a real impact in the workplace. However, as AI and machine learning continue to improve, so will the capabilities of voice technology. The question is, what benefits does it offer to HR professionals as well as the wider world of work? And what should organisations consider in order to successfully implement it in the workplace?
Unlocking information and freeing up time
As with the expansion of all workplace technology, questions about how it impacts different sectors arise. For HR specifically, voice technology might be able to answer questions around company benefits, where to find something at work, or the rules and regulations of an organisation which are often fielded to HR departments. Not only would this provide employees with an instant and accessible method for retrieving information, it would also free up time for HR professionals to use their skills elsewhere in more valuable areas. This might include moving towards more strategic activity such as planning and implementing cultural change or reward systems, which will always require a human approach.
Benefits for the wider workforce
Other than promising benefits for HR departments, business leaders should consider bringing this technology into the workplace to explore whether it has benefits for their wider organisation. The AI in voice technology could be used to alleviate time-consuming and repetitive tasks from employees, ultimately freeing up workers’ time and allowing them to focus their skills where the human touch will continue to be invaluable.
Voice technology may also be able to support candidates or employees with the job searching or career development process across different sectors. For example, a candidate or employee might use a voice assistant to run through common interview techniques, or recite mock interview questions to which they can listen and respond to. By enabling the user to quickly assess how they manage answering questions on the spot and what they sound like speaking aloud, voice search technology can provide valuable interview practice on a wide scale.
Implement carefully to ensure success
While organisations are encouraged to embrace new technology in the workplace, there are considerations which should be made. Professor Chris Ivory, Director of the Innovative Management Practice Research Centre at Anglia Ruskin University, explains how the AI embedded in voice search technology works best in areas of HR that are rule-bound. This way, organisations can ensure compliance with the law and optimise the benefits of this technology.
In addition to its suitability for different aspects in the sector, how it will be received by the workforce should be considered also. It’s possible that age and length of service at an organisation may have a bearing on how well this technology is embraced, so its implementation may need to be gradual or tailored to different age demographics for it to be successfully integrated.
About Barney Ely
Barney Ely, Director of Hays Human Resources
Barney joined Hays in 1993 as a business graduate and is now Director for Hays Human Resources. Barney also has operational responsibility for Hays offices across the South of England, placing professionals in over 20 industry sectors covering everything from accountancy and finance to construction, IT education and healthcare.