Digitisation has rapidly picked up pace since the pandemic. Many small and big firms have automated their HR processes across industries. Manipal Hospitals has also taken steps in this direction. Very recently, this healthcare and hospital chain has implemented an AI chatbot, which it calls MiPAL Intelligent Bot.
MiPAL is the result of the Company’s intention to adopt a forward-looking approach to offering better employee experience. The Chatbot will help 12,000 on-roll employees of Manipal Hospitals to obtain answers and responses to all their HR-related queries, doubts or questions, including compensation, leaves, and mediclaim.
Talking to HRKatha, Partha Das, chief people officer, Manipal Hospitals, reveals some of the chatbot’s features and how the technology works.
“MiPAL is a one-stop solution for all HR-related queries for the employees. Now employees do not need to write a mail to the HR or reach out to them with their queries as such, which will save a lot of time,” shares Das.
“MiPAL is a one-stop solution for all HR-related queries for the employees. Now employees do not need to write a mail to the HR or reach out to them with their queries as such, which will save a lot of time,”
Partha Das, chief people officer, Manipal Hospitals
The chatbot comes with an application, which the employees can download on their smartphones and laptops. Using this app, employees can pose any query or question to the HR team and the bot will reply to it instantly. The application also has some internal features that can answer any further questions that the employees may have related to HR policies.
Though the integration of the chatbot technology into the already installed HRMS system at Manipal Hospitals started in mid 2021, the entire process took a while. Manipal Hospitals was finally able to roll out MiPal on December 24, 2021. Before launching the AI chatbot, the chain of hospitals also had to customise the technology as per the needs of the workforce. Some questions or queries needed to be answered a certain way, so specific algorithms had to be customised to create suitable responses as per varied needs.
In addition to answering the normal queries and doubts of the employees, MiPAL will also be used to conduct employee-engagement and satisfactory surveys. This will help the Company collect and generate authentic data and insights, since it will be directly collected by an internal system. “This will also help us save the expenditure otherwise incurred on conducting surveys through external vendors,” says Das.
He goes on to add, “Other than the surveys, significant real-time data and insights collected while interacting with the bot, will further help us create and curate strategic HR decisions”.
As per Das, earlier, the HR team at Manipal Hospitals spent a lot of time answering employees’ queries, which was more of a transactional task for the team. Now, with the implementation of MiPAL, the HR team will have more time to spend on the strategic aspect of HR and contribute significantly towards the Company’s growth. “Now, the HR will add more value to strategic decision- making in the Company,” explains Das.
Manipal Hospitals has about 6000 doctors on contractual basis, in addition to the 12,000 on-roll employees. Das shares with HRKatha that in the second phase of this project, the Company will further launch MiPAL for its doctors. “Though the doctors will mainly use the AI Chatbot more for operational purposes and less for HR-related queries, it will be beneficial for them too,” says Das.
It has only been a while since the implementation of MiPAL, but the employees at Manipal Hospitals have responded well to it. “Initial reaction from the employees has been decent. As of now, 52 per cent of our workforce has already downloaded the application and many have showed a positive intent,” asserts Das.