If you loved Siri, you may like Leena too. But wait. Siri was your sweet assistant. Leena is an HR entity, an autonomous conversational AI (artificial intelligence) platform that ostensibly helps firms better employee experience. Who loves HR folks anyway? "Leena is the Siri for employees," says Adit Jain, co-founder and CEO. Over three million employees across the globe use Leena AI, he says.
The company got a USD 30 million financing in September 2021. Does that mean there is a need for such platforms? HR needs to focus on solving crucial issues of employees, say helping them with commutes or work from home issues, and focus less on repetitive tasks like leave balance queries or attendance issues. This need to look at the bigger picture made the company create the platform.
"Answering employee queries is one of the most evident real-life issues that Leena AI resolves. Helping employees figure out their leave balance, providing them reading material to understand company policy and mission, sending them to the right department when they need to lodge a grievance of any sort, being a virtual guide for new hires, and being around for any queries they may have, and even booking a vaccination slot, are some of the other real-life everyday issues Leena AI helps resolve," says Jain.
Leena can handle most employee queries and knows exactly when to route queries to a human agent. Companies and organisations such as P&G, Bayer, Al Jazeera, HDFC Bank and Reserve Bank of India are some of their customers. Leena AI is compatible with 100-plus platforms, including SAP SuccessFactors, ADP, Oracle, Workday, Microsoft Office 365, etc.
With such bots at work, does the HR department have to feel apprehensive about their future? "With repetitive tasks such as employee documentation and employee query handling automated, HR departments will simply need to put their mind to more nuanced and human issues," Jain opines. This is where the real value addition of HR comes, he feels.
Where does Leena’s AI score over human intelligence and why? "To begin with, neither scores over the other, but both can work together to create wonders. The only place AI might score higher than human intelligence is that the former can remain more unbiased. Since machines don’t develop attachments to humans, an employee grievance is just that for AI regardless of who the complainant is," adds Jain.
(Note to self: In a few years, check if Leena has resolved human issues such as sexual harassment and gender bias at workplaces better than the HR department)