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11 ways to use AI for a better employee experience

AI can improve the employee experience by enhancing employee skills, eliminating repetitive tasks, and more. Our AI for employee experience guide explains how.

By Hannah Wren, Staff Writer

Last updated February 12, 2024

What is AI for employee experience?

AI for employee experience means leveraging artificial intelligence technology to improve all aspects of the employee journey, including onboarding, performance, development, support from internal service teams, and access to information to perform daily tasks.

The key to running a successful business is creating an environment that fosters an exceptional employee experience (EX). When employees are happy, customers get better service, which improves customer satisfaction (CSAT) and, ultimately, your bottom line.

But when employees struggle to find relevant, reliable, and updated information, it makes it challenging for them to go about their day. They may also get bogged down with repetitive, time-consuming tasks that take time away from high-value work. All of this increases the risk of burnout and higher employee turnover.

Introducing AI into the workplace can modernize the employee experience by simplifying processes and automating workflows—creating an efficient work environment that boosts employee satisfaction and turns them into brand champions. Learn how to leverage AI for EX and start reaping the benefits.

More in this guide:

11 ways to use AI to improve the employee experience

You can’t deliver an excellent customer experience (CX) without an equally excellent employee experience. After all, everything starts with the people building your products and delivering your services. Here’s how you can make the employee experience better by using AI.

1. Enhance agents’ skills

Remember the scene in The Matrix where Neo plugs into the combat training program and excitedly learns different kinds of fighting styles? That’s what it’s like when you provide your agents with AI-powered tools.

Graphic stating that 52% of employees believe that software related to employee experience is dated and difficult to use

By implementing AI with your IT help desk and HR help desk solutions, you can supercharge your agents’ skill sets. Here are a few examples of tools that help employees excel.

  • AI-powered insights and recommendations help support agents understand employee needs and resolve issues faster.
  • Generative AI enables agents to deliver empathetic, personalized replies while saving time, thanks to features that summarize tickets and adjust the tone of written responses.
  • Similar tickets give agents contextual information so they can deliver quicker resolutions and more consistent service.

Additionally, customer service chatbots can deflect tickets by addressing basic queries and eliminating repetitive tasks, freeing up agents to handle issues where they can use their expertise. This empowers agents to become expert problem solvers so they can focus on the most high-value tasks.

How it works with Zendesk: Zendesk offers an AI-powered feature called Intelligence in the context panel. It’s an agent-facing sidebar that acts like a copilot, providing insights that show customer language, intent, and sentiment (positive, negative, neutral). It offers suggestions on how to effectively handle issues and even uses generative AI to assist with phrasing responses.

This feature also provides the agent with prewritten responses for faster replies and surfaces personalized article recommendations to share with customers at the right time in the conversation.

2. Manage more requests without adding headcount

When teams are struggling to keep up with customer requests, AI can help them manage them more effectively. Enhancing your IT or HR help desk software with advanced bots allows you to provide 24/7 employee support and empower employees to help themselves.

Advanced bots are pre-trained to understand employee intents and common issues, so they can resolve problems with natural, conversational support—often without involving an agent. That means AI handles a portion of requests and deflects tickets with self-service options, making queues more manageable.

3. Streamline workflows with intelligent routing

Routing tickets quickly and efficiently puts issues in the hands of the right agents for faster resolutions. Intelligent routing and triage—a feature that automatically categorizes incoming conversations based on customer intent, sentiment, and language—reduces manual sorting and prioritization of requests from across channels. AI includes important context with the conversation, too, so IT or HR support understands how to approach the interaction.

How it works with Zendesk: Premium department store retailer Liberty implemented Zendesk AI with intelligent routing to help sort and classify ticket requests. The time saved by AI allowed Liberty to focus more resources on quality service, coaching, logistics, and internal incentive programs.

4. Onboard new agents faster

Businesses can streamline employee onboarding by integrating AI into the process. AI chatbots guide new hires through routine customer service training programs and provide answers to frequently asked questions in real time. They can even create personalized training paths for new employees, accelerating their learning so they can start serving customers faster.

HR teams can also use AI to assess the progress and performance of new employees throughout their training. This helps management identify training gaps and refine the process.

5. Improve operational efficiency

AI can monitor and analyze processes and data to identify patterns and trends, make predictions, and suggest improvements to streamline operations. This deep reporting and analytics data allows decision-makers to provide better tools for employees that eliminate bottlenecks and make their jobs easier.

For example, AI reporting software can analyze historical data and highlight gaps in existing macros (prewritten responses). It can then suggest new or improved macros that admins can implement so agents can reply more quickly and effectively.

6. Surface internal knowledge and resources for easy employee access

Enhance your knowledge base with AI-powered systems that surface internal information and resources to employees. This improves efficiency and assists with decision-making.

Whether your employee wants HR documents or your IT agents need to access standard operating procedures, conversational AI bots can use natural language processing to deliver the relevant information. The bot uses machine learning to learn with each interaction, improving over time and increasingly offering personalized experiences.

7. Collect feedback and boost employee engagement

Regularly connecting with your employees and collecting feedback can help you keep a pulse on employee sentiment. With AI, you can analyze how employees are feeling through surveys, chat and messaging interactions, and other types of feedback to identify areas for improvement.

During and after onboarding, you can use AI to check in on trainees and gather insights on the training process, their interactions with coworkers, and their sentiments about the overall experience.

Graphic stating that 87% of EX professionals believe that personalization increases employee satisfaction

You can also use AI to create personalized training plans and career development recommendations. This enables businesses to invest in their employees and creates a positive company culture that celebrates employee value.

8. Manage and track team performance

AI-powered reporting and analytics can provide real-time data on agent performance, helping management identify strengths and improvement areas.

Use AI to gain a deeper understanding of how different teams interact with each other and identify data spread across different systems. This allows you to break down data silos, improve collaboration across departments, and better understand what you need to refine your internal customer service.

AI can also provide coaching to employees if they are underperforming or give proactive tips on boosting efficiency. Automating the process can help employees and managers avoid uncomfortable interactions and empower employees to proactively work on improving their metrics.

How it works with Zendesk: Zendesk integrates with communication tools like Slack to meet employees where they are with AI-powered self-service experiences.

With the Zendesk Bot for Slack integration, employees can get instant answers pulled directly from internal knowledge bases in the form of article recommendations or a response formulated with generative AI.

Learn more about how Slack and Zendesk are partnering to deliver AI-powered solutions to improve productivity.

9. Use predictive analysis to provide proactive support

Preventing agent burnout benefits employees and your business by reducing employee turnover. With predictive analytics, HR can use AI to identify early signs of agent burnout, address the issue with proactive support, and increase employee retention.

Just like you can use AI to understand when a customer is stuck on your website and may need assistance, you can use AI to determine when an employee needs support from your internal help desk, which can then proactively reach out with problem-solving resources to squash issues at the root.

10. Collaborate with AI-powered tools

Siloed data makes it challenging—if not impossible—for teams to provide consistent and effective support. AI-powered collaboration tools consolidate data and make it easier for teams to share knowledge and communicate with one another. These tools include virtual assistants that help schedule meetings, manage calendars, and coordinate projects.

Graphic stating that 56% of EX professionals say that siloed data across departments makes it difficult to use AI and bots in more advanced ways

11. Accelerate content creation

With the popularity of generative AI technology like ChatGPT, businesses are finding new ways to develop content. Generative AI can streamline the creation of new content and identify gaps in your knowledge base.

AI-powered content generators can assist HR in creating employee handbooks, training materials, and company policies. Additionally, you can use natural language generation tools for report automation and documentation.

Types of AI-powered tools that boost the employee experience

We’re only at the dawn of discovering AI’s benefits for businesses. While you may be aware of ways to use AI for customer service, you might be overlooking AI for EX. Here are a few types of AI-powered tools for employee experience.

Graphic that lists the types of AI for EX

Advanced bots

Unlike standard bots that require manual programming and training, advanced bots come pre-trained on intents (the reasons customers request support) and industry-specific topics. They can provide intelligent, automated internal customer service to enhance EX. By leveraging the most extensive database of intents specific to internal services, like HR and IT, bots can offer around-the-clock personalized support and accurate responses to employees.

AI-powered insights

AI can analyze large amounts of historical data, including employee interactions and feedback. This allows employee experience management teams to identify patterns and trends, pain points, or areas that need improvement, such as:

  • Recurring issues with processes

  • Complaints or tickets about tools

  • Difficulty accessing relevant data or information

For example, AI might detect a recurring IT issue or specific HR questions that agents frequently handle.

Plus, AI-powered sentiment analysis tools can assess the emotional tone of employee interactions in real time. Agents can receive immediate feedback on whether an employee is satisfied, frustrated, or needing additional assistance. This enables agents to adapt their approach during the conversation to improve the employee’s experience.

Intelligent routing and triage

AI-powered routing and triage tools can automatically categorize and prioritize incoming employee requests based on intent, sentiment, and language. Skills-based routing automatically sends the request to the right agent based on workload, expertise, and availability.

Intelligent routing and triage offers these benefits:

  • Reduces ticket handling time by 30 to 60 seconds
  • Automates workflows

  • Sends automated responses to customers

  • Provides deeper reporting insights

Intelligent routing and triage also eliminate manual work and its associated costs. By removing mundane, time-consuming tasks, agents can focus their efforts on assignments that require their expertise.

AI-powered knowledge bases

AI can suggest and surface relevant knowledge base articles based on employee search queries, so they can readily access important documents and information. AI can also help agents find existing content in your knowledge base, allowing them to resolve employee issues faster. Additionally, it can identify gaps in content and flag and route a request for content experts to address.

Advanced, AI-powered knowledge management tools make it easier for users to create and update content, allowing teams to scale their help centers. For example, Zendesk has a feature that allows agents to plug in a few bullet points and generative AI can create a full article.

How it works with Zendesk: Zendesk offers Content Cues, an AI-powered feature that identifies which content best serves employees and suggests content to remove or improve in your knowledge base. It also uses AI to provide article recommendations inside tickets, flag outdated content, and generate new help center articles.

Generative AI

Generative AI can help boost the employee experience by producing and enhancing content, automating tasks, and assisting agents with daily activities.

Generative AI can also save employees time by crafting high-quality content, such as knowledge base articles, predictive reports, training materials, standard operating procedure (SOP) documents, and more. It can also tailor communications and recommendations to specific employees, creating an engaging and personalized employee experience.

Get AI for a better EX

The future of work is already here. See how organizations are retooling their tech stacks with AI to increase employee productivity and satisfaction.

Pros and cons of introducing AI to employees

According to the Zendesk Employee Experience Trends Report 2023, 66 percent of EX professionals say AI and bot usage has evolved past simple deflection, which means AI is doing more to make employees’ jobs easier.

Although there are a lot of advantages to implementing AI, there are also a few challenges. Here are the pros and cons of AI in the workplace.

Graphic that lists the pros and cons of AI for employee experience

Pros of employee experience AI

Let’s start with the good stuff. Implementing AI in the workplace offers a wealth of benefits for employees and customers alike. Here are just a few:

  • Makes ticket queues manageable during peak times with reliable, automatic answers

  • Enables agents to use their expertise on more complex tasks

  • Scales self-service for convenient, around-the-clock support

  • Allows for more natural conversations with employees

  • Levels up agent intelligence and skill sets, boosting efficiency and productivity

Cons of AI for employee experience

When implementing new technology, businesses need to consider the challenges it may bring, too. Employees may be wary because AI is new, and there’s still a lot to learn and understand. Here are some common concerns:

  • Fear of job displacement

  • Resistant to change

  • Ethical concerns

  • Privacy concerns

  • Complex implementation

Reassuring employees that AI adds to their workplace experience and makes their jobs easier is important. AI is not there to replace employees but to make them more efficient with less effort. Once employees get used to AI in the workplace, they’ll wonder how they ever performed without it.

Frequently asked questions

Start with providing the right tools for EX

With the right AI tools, you can help your teams do more with less. Though we’re still in the infancy of the AI revolution, businesses already understand how the technology benefits employees and workplace culture.

Learn how businesses are implementing the best employee experience software and preparing for the launch of Zendesk AI for EX so they can refine their IT and HR employee experience.

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