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About This Paper

HR function continues to be re-defined in progressive organizations by transforming the HR role into a business partnership model. However, the HR teams in organizations that pioneered this model are still struggling to deliver value to the business.

This whitepaper talks about the HR business partnership model and how Artificial Intelligence can be used to foster successful implementation of this model by automating employee self-service (ESS) that could outsource the “customer service liaison” from the execution side of HR.


In the HR business partner model, the human resource department participates in strategic planning to help the business meet present and
future goals. Rather than concentrating solely on HR duties such as benefits, payroll and employee relations, HR departments should seek to add value to the company by influencing and driving talent initiatives that generate real business value.

If the HR department is already overworked with everyday employee relation issues, there may not be adequate time and personnel to devote to partnering with the business for additional functions. The business partner model requires HR to be involved in almost every aspect of the business, including production statistics, financial status and sales projections.

In their article titled The critical importance of the HR business partner, McKinsey has identified three critical factors that could help organizations to transform their HR function into a business partnership model:

  1. Remove operational responsibilities, like HR team members getting dragged into transactional and operational issues.
  2. Empower Talent Value Leaders to influence and drive talent initiatives that generate real business value.
  3. Establish a pipeline of Talent Value Leaders who blend talent, business and financial experience to be able to identify which talent levers can yield the most business value.

Employee self-service or ESS is an important tool that addresses McKinsey«s first critical factor i. e. remove operational responsibilities as noted above. ESS not only address everyday employee queries related to HR policies, but, also helps the HR team in delivering more value by transforming their roles to become Human Resource Business Partners (HRBPs).

With ESS tool, any employee can get their HR policy related queries addressed without depending on HR or other department personnel. ESS can help the organizations in reducing »non-value adding« labor hours and thereby, increases the productivity of employees.

A traditional ESS tool can solve only basic HR services that include attendance, leaves, payroll information, insurance benefits and work hours.

The Traditional Employee Self-Service (ESS) Portal

In the present scenario, the ESS tool is a software program which is a portal or part of enterprise Human Resource Management System (HRMS).

Drawbacks of »Traditional« Ess Portal
  • The traditional ESS portal’s biggest drawback is investing a lot of time in creating and implementing various ESS options that could address employees queries. And also, employee training is required to understand the complete functionality of the ESS portal.
  • The portal itself needs to updated as organizational policies change periodically.
  • ESS portal does not often provide automated notifications to employees on certain events like travel, continous absence against
    leave policy etc..
Using AI in Employee Self-Service (ESS)

Using AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants for employee self-service offers several advantages while overcoming the limitations as noted in the above traditional way of implementing ESS. Further, AI can facilitate smooth transformation of HR function into a business partnership model and thereby, deliver business value.

An AI-powered chatbot can provide real-time responses on any device and at any time In non-ESS organizations, employees need to depend on other departments for their queries to get addressed. They need to wait for the response from other departments for their queries. While ESS portal addresses this issue of dependence on others, it still cannot be accessed from any device, anywhere and anytime. An AI-powered chatbot or virtual assistant on the other hand, can provide real-time responses 24×7 from any device for the queries of employees. These AI chatbots or virtual assistants are available 24×7 for self-access, thereby eliminating the need for phone calls or emails and facilitate a hassle-free interaction with employees. AI chatbots or virtual assistants can also automate employee schedules like travel and other appointments intelligently.

Quality of AI-based employee self-service can be further enhanced with Machine Learning As more and more employees interact with the AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants, the AI-based ESS learns more about the individual employee needs and could be further used to provide targeted responses.

Reduced Total Cost of Ownership (Tco)

Maintaining a traditional ESS portal requires considerable investments in maintenance as the data has to be updated periodically. While the same updates are required for AI-based ESS, the process of updation is relatively simple and involves less time and costs.

How We Facilitate ESS

We can create and train scalable, budget-friendly AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants with data on HR policies or Quality
standards or other technical processes and procedures. Further, these chatbots and virtual assistants can be seamlessly deployed
either on the organization’s website or integrated into the organization’s Human Resource Management System (HRMS) of Oracle or Success
Factors of SAP (Service Center module) etc..