Employees can ask the chatbot, dubbed 'Buddy', HR-related questions based on their individual profiles - eg 'how much holiday do I have outstanding?' and 'what's happened to my expense claim?' - and get accurate responses immediately.
The app also enables staff to apply for holidays, track and submit expense reimbursement claims, browse internal job postings and access the bank's employee directory.
Queries can either be typed into a chat window or spoken. As with Apple’s virtual personal assistant, Siri, ‘Buddy’ has human-like conversational skills and natural language processing capabilities, and is able to interpret questions and answer them in plain English.
The app and integrated chatbot was developed in two months by a team of five developers using agile methodologies in conjuntion with the HR department and staff feedback.
Jason Ho, head of group human resources, OCBC Bank, says: “The internal feedback was that our apps for customers are innovative and useful, so we thought: ‘Why not channel our bank’s digital capabilities and technological expertise into developing intuitive and easy-to-use apps for our employees too?’ This is all the more apt as mobile phones have become an indispensable gadget for everyone, and the HR app readily complements this modern lifestyle.”
HR In Your Pocket is currently available on iOS devices only with access enabled via biometric Touch ID. An Android version is already in the works and future iterations include integration with the bank's learning management system to enable employees to view and apply for courses via their mobile.
OCBC Bank is putting HR in the pockets of its employees with a mobile app and chatbot integrated with the bank's human resources information system.