NTT DATA Business Solutions
Carita Poussa | September 13, 2022 | 3 min

Never underestimate the power of a smile – even if it is a virtual one


HR is undergoing its own digital transformation with advances in AI providing a natural step forward in this evolution, but how far can we go? And what forms will it take?
In this blog post, Carita Poussa, Managing Director at NTT DATA Business Solutions Finland, explores the benefits of having a digital human as an HR colleague.

Woman talking to a phone

I was not surprised to read that Gartner predicts 75% of all HR inquiries by 2023 will be initiated through conversational AI platforms. After all, like many in the industry, I’ve seen first-hand how over time the adoption of chatbots provided welcome relief to HR personnel by solving common day-to-day employment-related questions for the organization’s staff. HR is undergoing its own digital transformation with advances in AI providing a natural step forward in this evolution, but how far can we go? And what forms will it take 

Enter a new, intelligent, and friendly candidate: The digital human. 

Yes, I know it might sound more like Star Trek than office life, but digital humans are already employed in companies all around the world. For HR, I believe they offer a wealth of opportunities for us to streamline day-to-day operations while enhancing the employee experience. The question is, when do we need a human touch, and where would using a digital human add more value than, for example, a chatbot? 

As humans, receiving a smile from someone immediately makes us feel better, and we relax. In the absence of a real person, the digital human is the next best thing. Its ability to mimic human gestures and project its own personality while providing accurate guidance creates a highly intuitive user experience. It also ensures users feel welcome and reassured. The value of this cannot be overestimated.  

For instance, imagine you’ve received and somehow misplaced an email from HR setting out instructions for how to apply for annual vacation. You feel a bit stupid having to call HR, but then you remember you can walk by their digital representative on the way to lunch and have her email it to you again.  

This kind of interaction could be applied to many tasks like handling inquiries about registering taxation details, updating contact details etc. As well as being an easy, stress-free interaction for you, there’s also another benefit to this personalized service – increased and better interaction will have a positive effect on data quality.  

All the tasks that we can assign to a digital human, enables HR colleagues to spend that time on tasks that truly need a human touch.  

Digital colleagues – a natural step forward in HR’s evolution 

The possibilities are endless and there are no limits to what a digital HR colleague could potentially learn to do. Take job search engines on the websites of large corporations. These can sometimes be complicated and time-consuming for job seekers to use but, in the not-too-distant future, searching for their next position with the help of a digital human might be as easy as this:   

“Hi, are there any positions for mechanical engineers in our Helsinki facility?”
“Hi, Sarah. Let me see. Do you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree?”
“I have a bachelor’s degree.”
“OK, I can see there are two. I’ve just emailed you the application links.”
“Thank you!”

The scope for what can already be possible for HR operations with a digital human – and what may be possible in the future – is exciting and something I feel all of us can look forward to. I suspect that HR departments everywhere would embrace the opportunity to hand over at least their more mundane tasks to a digital human. I also think that staff, in general, would appreciate, and be reassured by, a more human touch rather than, for example, a chatbot.   

If you find the thought of some kind of digital assistance interesting, I recommend you look at your processes and assess what tasks you can automate and where a digital human would add value.  

Sometimes a smile, even a virtual one, makes the employee experience so much better.