May

How will AI change the HR operations landscape?

Organisations are investing significantly in AI and it will continue to happen with AI becoming more of a catalyst for businesses.

We live in very exciting times. The artificial intelligence debate is intensifying. There is constant commentary on it from some of the finest brains of our times. Some are for it with gusto and some seek caution.

One thing is certain, AI has accelerated like no other technology in the past few decades. It is clear that AI will become much more pervasive and intertwined in our day-to-day life. It will change the way we live in fundamental ways.

AI is the ultimate frontier in technology. Organisations are investing significantly in AI and it will continue to happen with AI becoming more of a catalyst for businesses. Experts predict that technologies that underpin the fourth industrial revolution are all set to bring out the best in people.

If you think job disruption by artificial intelligence (AI) is limited to the marketing, finance, sales and customer service, think again: The AI dust is being sprinkled on the human resources function, too.

Although the field is projected to grow 9 percent by 2024, as companies grow and need more robust structures for supporting and empowering employees, the hype and expectations of AI in the HR sector are getting astronomical.

That’s indeed good news for the HR folks – isn’t it?

Certainly, the HR department is one of the most complex, handcrafted and data-dependent business processes within an organisation. AI has the potential to transform employee engagement with relevant, quick and in- depth analysis of various functions within HR.

AI provides the teams with the necessary budget space to be more effective and efficient than ever.

Many HR leaders have already begun experimenting with varied facets of AI to deliver maximum value to their organizations. Organisations with large employee bases are turning to AI to reduce the cost involved in managing operations, to improve employee engagement to drive bias-free decisions in employee screening and recruitment.

AI can also help HR shared service organisations to focus on strategic business initiatives and can enable them to streamline and modernise HR operations, especially in the following areas:

Reimagining HR operations with AI and machine learning technologies

  • Conversational Interfaces: These interfaces automate regular HR tasks and provide employees with insights about policies, training schedules, payroll, and compensation. With speech recognition and NLP infused, conversational AI platforms addresses the growing needs of digitally empowered employees with 24*7 assistance and helps organizations in driving productivity improvements.

  • Machine Learning (ML): ML skims people-related data to detect patterns and transforms program actions accordingly. The insights drawn makes suitable data available for HR practitioners to motivate and engage existing employees and to also hire new ones. Also, ML-powered recommendations use historical records to suggest the optimum solutions to resolve conflicts.

  • Predictive models: These models help HR departments reduce employee turnover, boost business performance, quickly identify areas of risk and potential performance issues, and improve workforce diversity. Organizations are building predictive models that would identify the key reasons contributing to employee attrition by simply analyzing a structured data file fed into it and generating a score for every employee based on the calculated probability of them leaving their jobs.

AI and non-transactional segments of HR

AI has the potential to take HR experience to a higher level by automating most of the non-transactional HR tasks. Let’s have a closer look at some of these tasks.

Recruitment: Hiring in thousands leads to scale issues for HR professionals, who most often grapple with the problem of resume overload. Robots with AI software designed for recruitment are helping HRs in the screening process by identifying hard-to-find candidates at scale, collecting potential employees’ information and performing background checks. Such tools help candidates select the right job thereby freeing head hunters from the mundane task of candidate screening.

On-boarding: Smart AI tools focus on making on-boarding a self-service process since these can connect directly with onsite employees, and collaborate with the workforce management team.

Video interviews:

Organisations are increasingly leveraging video conferencing tools for interviewing and assessing candidates. According to a recent research by Polycom, by the year 2020, 50 percent of conference rooms will be video-enabled.  AI tools can analyse these videos to assess candidates’ language, skills, educational credentials, even honesty and mood.

Sentiment analysis: Telecom, technology banking, and healthcare sectors are hard pressed with the challenge of employee retention. Several companies have already started using AI and ML solutions to capture employee feedback to get a better understanding of their sentiments in real time. The key reason that organizations dig into sentiment technology lies in its data. AI, a big game changer here, can spot and analyse intelligent patterns in the sentiment of employees through their geographic locations, emails, conversations, etc.

Can AI replace human empathy and intuition?

Over the last few years, AI has gradually seeped into a domain which was considered solely to be driven by humans – HR department. From the screening process to enhancing employee engagement and sentiment analysis, AI has literally revolutionised this critical business function. Earlier confined to only big enterprises, AI is now spreading to MSMEs (Medium Small Medium Enterprises) as well.

However, the entry of AI has got many HR professionals fearing that they could be replaced by technology. Although the same fears should have cropped up in the minds of employees during the time of computer revolution as well.

“Human vs. intelligent machines” is probably the second-best bogey after ‘God vs Lucifer’, a timeless battle. Some commentators belong to that school of thought believing that ‘tech is going to replace humans’ and that AI will trigger a tsunami of redundancies throughout the workforce, while other experts believe that AI and human intuition go hand in hand.

So, where do we stand now? Has the transformation begun?

AI is not the future anymore; it is the present already and making waves in one function in 2018: Human Resources. Often, this function is perceived to lag in digital transformation, but with AI now has emerged as a game changer, there is a great opportunity awaiting the HR world.

AI allows huge amounts of data to be amassed and processed that would be far beyond human capabilities. However, this data-crunching and analytical aspect of AI can certainly validate the human gut feel. Instead of replacing HR professionals, ground-breaking AI tools are complementing human skills and managing role tasks to avoid multiple HR roles, thus freeing up the valuable human capital to focus on more strategic or critical aspects of their jobs.

Many experts feel AI can never replace human empathy and intuition. A company’s HR department is likely to always need a human at the helm to handle interpersonal conflicts using non-cognitive and reasoning skills. AI is unlocking and amplifying human potential, not replacing it. People will be able to focus much more on value-added work and less on rote tasks unleashing their creative potential better.

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Supercharged Technical Support: Augmented Reality with CSS Corp’s KYRA

In a new social distancing world, most traditional face-to-face customer service tasks have had to digitize quickly. This trend is not new, but for some processes, it required the adoption of emerging technology and different operational models. A prime example is customer premise visits by engineers for equipment installations, parts replacement, and technical support. For several years, CX services vendors have worked on visual support and remote diagnostics, and are now looking to Augmented Reality (AR) to lift technical support to the next level. CSS Corp has already developed its proprietary technology in the space and is now working on AR deployments.

KYRA: AR-enabled CX & enterprise support

CSS Corp sees AR-enabled CX and support across three use cases:

Visual self-service, where the AR provides visual guidance to users on product features and interactive how-to user manuals
AR integrated virtual assistant, which automates the user engagement with intelligent bots using AR projections and overlay
Remote agent assistance to resolve user issues from a distance with AR markers and overlays.
The company has a pilot of AR visual self-service for a U.S. multinational telecom equipment manufacturer with products in the fixed, wireless, and IP technology space. The AR has step-by-step visual user guides and in-depth installation manuals, component descriptions, component usage instructions, and remote visual troubleshooting. The implementation has an integrated virtual assistant.

The user or field engineer scans a QR code on the packaging leading to the AR support web page downloading an app on their smartphone. She or he then asks the bot for a virtual user guide. The customer focuses their mobile camera on the equipment or error message, and the AR support interface identifies the product model and downloads the correct user guides and knowledge articles. It displays the components and narrates within the AR environment. The virtual assistant explains how to set up and use the components using animations and AR markers. In addition to the spoken and written instructions, it allows image scrolling and freezing and control with voice. The bot then reads the device screen to determine if the installation is successful and guides the user to enter configuration commands.

If the initial installation fails, the computer vision identifies the error message, and the bot starts interacting with the user via chat or messenger to troubleshoot the issue and guide the self-service steps within the AR. If the issue still cannot be resolved, the bot escalates to a live agent who initiates a secure AR session on the support app by sending a link. The transfer displays to the agent the transcript and completed steps and auto-creates a ticket and case history in the client CRM.

For the client, the initial results of the pilot in 2020 show 23% faster issue resolutions for AR supported interactions and 38% AHT reduction with the automation. For 20% of the volumes, the realized end-to-end automation efficiencies reached 94%.

Challenges to the spread of AR

Historically, AR adoption for remote collaboration stumbled due to a lack of high network bandwidth and speed. The proliferation of fiber optic broadband and the rollout of 5G will eventually resolve this challenge. In the meantime, CSS Corp’s KYRA uses cloud-based lightweight AR technology.

Another common concern for all two-way video chat remains security and privacy protection. CSS Corp addresses this issue by masking to the live agent all sensitive user information such as passwords and blurring outside objects. It also ensures that the tools are PCI DSS compliant.

Lastly, customers are often reluctant to download another app, and its usage sharply decreases after the initial setup. Here, CSS Corp works with clients to offer additional incentives and features in the app to drive regular user engagement. It also provides the SMS/email links to user, to start the remote assistance with the agent.

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Workplace Excellence Season Three – Episode 1

“This season of Workplace Excellence is focussed on showcasing those companies that are leaving no stone unturned to achieve workplace excellence. Featuring in this episode are two companies – CSS Corp and Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance.”

Broadcast 1 in association with Times Now brings forth Workplace Excellence Season 3 – an initiative aimed at giving an insight into the corporate cultures of successful companies that are leaving no stone unturned to keep innovating and progressing. In this episode, we showcase two companies – CSS Corp and Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance. Both the companies are driven by one great idea and that is to build a great workplace culture for its employees. These companies are focused on training future leaders and engaging employees for social skills, in order to achieve workplace excellence.

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#HRDay: This is how HR role has evolved amid pandemic

International HR Day is an opportunity to recognise all the hardworking HR professionals and their efforts. If we talk about the contribution of the HR managers and their team during the pandemic is truly incredible. While the HR department of today is one of the most tech-savvy and agile teams, their role has undergone a massive transformation in the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. The pandemic has given us plenty of reasons to celebrate HR professionals and their efforts during the crisis.

Sharmila Khan, Director HR, Micron India
All playbooks went out the window with the ambiguity and uncertainty that came with the pandemic. I learnt to trust my instincts, and lead with empathy and kindness, while I validated day-to-day operational decisions with a trusted group of peers within the organisation and a larger HR fraternity.

Hence, this day, on May 20, we must celebrate International HR Day to praise them as a profession and their positive contribution to individuals and organisations. With most employees working from home, the HR team is catering to a new set of responsibilities. Let’s put the light on some of them:

HR people’ made a significant contribution during the COVID-19 crisis
2021 is no less tough than the previous year, and with the second wave of COVID-19, It has already been a tough year for HR professionals. Without their never-ending efforts and expertise from the HR department, continuous motivation to employees, and their respective organisations. Without their efforts, we wouldn’t be seeing productivity and team cohesion thriving in a virtual workplace and ambiguous job market.

Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP, Head HR (Global) and Corporate Quality, CSS Corp
The pandemic has changed a lot in our day-to-day life, not least of which has been a seismic shift in work culture, as many of us have spent the past year working remotely. The primary thing that the HR function witnessed and learned is the liberation from the mindset that work can be accomplished when we are co-located (or physically in the office).

HR people have been quick responders
The early response from HR was really impressive, they were able to get a sense of employees’ worries and concerns even in the working from home environment. They put employees’ worries first, while also considering the various business impacts. It was their years of experience in doing this that enabled their responsiveness. HR professionals have demonstrated their strategic approach in the way they’ve responded to this crisis. Not only the HR community’s response to COVID-19 has been absolutely incredible, but they’ve kept their organisations working, they’ve focused on the mental health of employees and shone a light on that for the rest of the organisation.

Pavitra Singh, CHRO, PepsiCo India
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many valuable lessons and my biggest one has been to lead with compassion. I realised that softer skills of empathy, compassion and resilience are key differentiators in these challenging times. We, as leaders, need to be the torchbearers of hope and lead with our heart. We have to be more personal in our approach and find ways to connect in the new normal as there is no face to face interactions currently. Leaders should also ensure high-quality interactions and bring energy to every meeting.

 

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CSS Corp wins Best Use of Emerging Technologies award

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, recently bagged the SmartTech Award under the “Best Use of Emerging Technologies” category at IMC’s Digital Technology Awards.

The event was hosted by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry at St. Regis Marriott Hotel in Mumbai. The company was recognised for its innovative adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Customer Service Management.

CSS Corp’s home-grown customer experience solution helps simplify complex business processes and streamlines customer life cycle management. By using artificial intelligence, the solution leverages real-time data to effectively deliver personalised and context driven customer engagement. Additionally, in a customer support ecosystem, CSS Corp’s platform uses AI and analytics to identify issues, analyse the best course of action and guide customers through specific solutions.

“It is an honour to be recognized for our innovation in digital capabilities and excellence. This accolade strongly reaffirms our expertise and nimbleness in understanding our customers’ needs and delivering fulfilling experiences through cutting edge technologies. We will continue to invest in using emerging and agile technologies to further innovate, and empower businesses to achieve their business outcomes while delivering unparalleled customer satisfaction”, said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer.

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What lessons did HR leaders learn from the pandemic?

On the occasion of International Human Resources Day, we spoke to many HR leaders about their learnings from the pandemic in the last 1.5 years. Here are some insights from the leading HR professionals of India Inc.

What is the one lesson you learnt as an HR leader in the last 1.5 years, since the pandemic struck?

 

Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP, Head – HR (Global) and Corporate Quality, CSS Corp

“The primary thing that the HR function witnessed and learned is the liberation from the mindset that work can be accomplished when we are co-located (or physically in the office). Physical needs (Meeting rooms, logistics, time conflicts) have melted away with a positive acceptance of collaborative tools (Zoom, Teams, GoToMeeting, and many more). Also, the onslaught of the variants and waves have made even the most brave-hearted to be mentally fragile. An immense amount of support and efforts have to be made for positivity to flow continuously like oxygen.”

 

Akash Sangole, Head of Human Resource and General Administration, Panasonic Life Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.

“The pandemic has taught us many lessons. As organizations rallied to respond to the crisis, the biggest challenge for the HR function was how to keep the workforce safe, motivated & engaged. As an HR function, we could manage the situation by being authentic, empathetic, and resilient. The major takeaway for me was to be agile/quick and being resilient in every approach.”

 

Annoora Singh, Head – HR, Training and Admin, Organic India

“COVID-19 pandemic presented an unrivaled situation all over the world and there is no individual or organization that was not impacted in some or the other way. Employees who had never worked remotely found themselves working from home for the first time and this has urged HR function to re-think their strategy and plans.With WFH, the role of HR has become more critical than ever before as they now are essentially the bridge between the leadership teams and employees till the grass-roots level and ensure that all employees continue to work towards a common goal and move in the same direction.”

 

Arun Dinakar Rao, Chief People Officer, Birlasoft

“If there is one lesson I have learned in these 18 months, it is that “We should never forget our basics”. It has proven that empathy and care go a long way in dealing with challenges than what they were credited for. It has proven that adversity brings out the true character/resilience among people and that necessity is truly the mother of innovation. The pandemic has forced organizations to adopt and accelerate their digital journeys, dynamically altering the way organizations look at their technology roadmap and has shown a new way of building and engaging with ‘work-from-anywhere teams.”

 

Ashish Mittal, Head of People Function, Aviva India

“We witnessed a dramatic shift in the work culture and recognized early that we didn’t have all the answers. We realized that “learning as we go” was the best strategy of all. The one lesson that I have learned as a leader is to create a work culture that is humanitarian in approach. As leaders of a people-centric organization, we have built a strong foundation with empathy, humility, and strong bonds with our people.”

 

Bernard Martyris, Global Chief of Human Resources, VFS Global

“Forming deep and meaningful human connections with employees has become even more critical to companies and business leaders in these turbulent times. For me, the COVID-19 pandemic required working closely with remotely connected teams to ensure agility and address the 360-degree requirements of employees and equip them to work through such a crisis via an enhanced focus on Learning and Development. It was also imperative to care for mental and physical well-being through meaningful and empathetic two-way communication.”

 

Jayashubha K, Chief People Officer, TVS Credit Services Limited

“The pandemic has been a learning curve that has taught me to be adaptive and flexible in order to survive and succeed in this COVID era. As an HR leader for a large organization, the pandemic pushed us to break through all stereotypes. It encouraged us to move from traditional to remote working style, broaden our network, learn and relearn and find new ways to reconnect with people around us.”

 

Pavitra Singh, CHRO, PepsiCo India

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many valuable lessons and my biggest one has been to lead with compassion. I realized that softer skills of empathy, compassion, and resilience are key differentiators in these challenging times. We, as leaders, need to be the torchbearers of hope and lead with our hearts. We have to be more personal in our approach and find ways to connect in the new normal as there are no face-to-face interactions currently. Leaders should also ensure high-quality interactions and bring energy to every meeting.”

 

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Impact of RPA on the Existing Workforce and Workplace

Robotic process automation (RPA) is gradually making inroads into the IT industry; however, what is its impact on the existing workforce and workplace?

With current technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics being democratized in everyday applications, the IT industry has almost successfully transitioned into the Digital Era. When talking about digitization, one idea most industry leaders agree upon is that automation is the need of the hour. Along with other new age technologies, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) too has made a mark in the IT industry and according to Gartner 85 percent of big organizations will have deployed some form of RPA by the year 2022.

While RPA is meant to bring about efficiency and reduce errors made in mundane and tedious work done manually by humans, it does give rise to the question of will there be a loss of jobs in the IT industry due to democratization of RPA. Along the same lines, when various industry leaders were asked about what are the likely impacts of RPA on the existing workforce and work place, here is what they had to say:

Humans and Machines will Work in Tandem – Vivian Gomes, Vice President, Marketing, CSS Corp

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has opened up immense opportunities for organizations to streamline mundane and repetitive tasks while re-focussing human efforts on higher value tasks. Organizations today are increasingly embracing RPA to drive greater operational efficiencies, reduce cost and have closer connections with stakeholders; including employees and customers. It allows businesses to better leverage employee time into learning new tech or performing more intelligent tasks which eventually enables individuals to focus more on innovation and problem-solving. This not only results in the enhancement of business processes but the enhancement of customer experience as well. Additionally, quality and control can be achieved by implementing rules and guidelines to the automated processes thus ensuring error reduction and improvement in quality and compliance. As businesses are getting future ready, there has been an increase in hiring of digitally-enabled workforces and investment in developing newer applications of RPA to create a sustainable digital transformation. In order to ensure the maximum impact of RPA, businesses will have to create a shift in the mindset and culture of workplaces to provide a well-balanced digital workplace, where humans and machines work in tandem to achieve a common goal.

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#InternationalHRDay: Top lessons to learn from Tech HRs

Top lessons of the HRs of the IT industry that is trying to help the employees amid the second wave of the pandemic.

Pandemic has been very difficult on the employees and even more on the Human Resources that are giving their best. However, the tech industry faced a lot of impact amid the pandemic. But how the HRs have managed to help the IT professionals?

Here are the views of some top market leaders on how they survived COVID-19 and learnt from it.

Arun Dinakar Rao, Chief People Officer, Birlasoft said, “The pandemic has forced organizations to adopt and accelerate their digital journeys, dynamically altering the way organizations look at their technology roadmap and has shown a new way of building and engaging with ‘work-from-anywhere teams.”

“HR professionals were quickly able to get a sense of employees’ worries and concerns while also considering the various business impacts. HR professionals have led the way to keep employees and their workplaces safe and healthy. Thank you HR Professionals for all you do and for helping us create better workplaces!” – SJ Raj, Senior Vice President, HR Operations, Newgen Software

“The onslaught of the variants and waves have made even the most brave-hearted to be mentally fragile. An immense amount of support and efforts have to be made for positivity to flow continuously like oxygen. While HR traditionally plays this role, the enormity of the task is relatively high. But, as they say, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP, Head – HR (Global) and Corporate Quality, CSS Corp

 

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CSS Corp organises training programme

CSS Corp, a new-age IT service and technology support company, recently organized a ‘Computer Literacy Training programme’ for students of Jayam Special School.

The programme equipped autistic students with essential IT skills such as word processing and computer safety. To ensure students have ongoing access to IT equipment, CSS Corp also set up the school’s first computer lab.
The initiative was a part of CSS Corp’s ‘Digital Literacy’ CSR program, which aims to equip students with the computer skills necessary for modern life.
During the programme, CSS Corp employees also worked closely with the school authorities to conduct engaging training sessions to equip students with vital digital skills.
Highlights included introduction of computer literacy programme as part of the school curriculum. Students with speech impairments also learned to communicate with teachers using technology. They also participated in fun activities such as envelope and cover making and were invited to display their art skills at the CSS Corp facility, in Chennai.
The company organized IT training programs close to 2,200 students across various schools in Chennai, including a ‘Computer Literacy Program’ at a Government Girls Higher Secondary School in 2018. Students who attended these programs were trained in word processing, spreadsheets, internet safety, and also received career and development counseling.

CSS Corp to Appoint Sunil Mittal as its CEO

BANGALORE, India & SINGAPORE – May 26, 2021

CSS Corp, a global customer experience and technology consulting services provider, today announced that its board has unanimously chosen Sunil Mittal as the organization’s next Chief Executive Officer. Sunil Mittal, currently the Chief Operating Officer at CSS Corp will take up the new role effective July 1st succeeding Manish Tandon who is stepping down after engineering a successful turnaround and generating tremendous value for investors. In addition, Sunil will also join the company’s Board of Directors upon assuming his new role.

“After a well thought out and executed succession plan, we are pleased to have found the best individual to assume leadership of this world-class technology and customer experience services organization,” said Sanjay Chakrabarty, Chairman of CSS Corp’s Board of Directors and Managing Partner of Capital Square Partners, a Singapore based private equity fund manager and majority shareholder of the company. “In his current role as the COO and in his prior role as the company’s Chief Revenue Officer, Sunil has architected unprecedented revenue momentum and pipeline for the company. We are confident that he will be able to build upon this foundation and take the organization to the next level. Sunil’s strong business acumen and industry knowledge deeply connects with CSS Corp’s clientele and operations, and his leadership qualities make him best suited to lead CSS Corp successfully into the future.”

“We are extremely thankful to Manish Tandon, CEO for his contributions to CSS Corp. Under his dynamic leadership, CSS Corp made a successful turnaround over the past four and a half years and grew at 25% in the latest financial year ending 31-Mar-2021. Manish used innovation and technology as the underpinning of the turnaround strategy and created CSS Labs which is recognized as an innovator in this space. He also built a world-class management team and established strong data-driven processes leading to industry-leading profitability and scalability of the business.

“I’m honored and grateful to the board for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization of passionate, customer-centric and talented professionals,” said Sunil Mittal. “We are redefining traditional services through our unique intersection of industry-leading proprietary solutions,
resilient operations, and innovative business engagement models. We are well-positioned to continue our growth momentum with our compelling value propositions. I’m excited about this opportunity and look forward to collaborate closely with our clients and employees.”

Mittal has had an illustrious career of over 22 years in the technology services industry. He spent 18 years at Infosys across multiple geographies, managing large client accounts, incubating new business capabilities, and building C-level relationships. He joined CSS Corp over four and a half years back and managed global sales, marketing, presales, and account management. Recently, he took over as Chief Operating Officer where he assumed the responsibility of global client delivery and IT, in addition to his existing portfolio. He serves on several association boards, including the Partner Advisory Board of the Technology Services Industry Association, and is a member of the Forbes Business Council. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas.

Manish Tandon expressed his confidence in the board’s choice. “Sunil is a remarkable leader who has been one of the chief architects of our success over the years at CSS Corp. I’m very happy with how the organization has turned around and is well positioned for growth under his leadership. I carry with me, the goodwill and best wishes of almost 9,000 employees and the board. It has been a very rewarding journey for me and all stakeholders with CSS Corp over the last 5 years, and I wish Sunil the very best. ”

 

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