The current pilot of the iTrent chatbot is the latest phase of an extensive digitisation programme undertaken by Stonewater in partnership with MHR to improve its internal processes with new digital functionality and to enhance the work experience of its people.
Stonewater, which employs over 750 people and supports over 65,000 customers living in 31,500 homes, went live with MHR’s market leading iTrent HR and Payroll system in 2016 as part of a project to replace multiple legacy systems which the company inherited following its creation through the merger of housing associations Raglan and Jephson.
The chatbot enables Stonewater’s employees to perform many routine transactions within iTrent, such as book holidays, check overtime / flexitime balances, submit expenses, view payslips, clock hours and manage their diary anytime, anywhere from their personal smartphones.
Jenny Sawyer, Director of People and Organisational Development at Stonewater says: “Since our formation the aim has been to move towards a ‘digital by default’ model and establish an ‘always on’ culture to help our people do their jobs better so we can deliver better service to our customers.
“The chatbot will be a key part of this. It enables our people to stay connected to our systems and each other while they’re out and about doing their job.
“Before we started trialling the iTrent chatbot, all employee transactions with HR had to be done via the desktop, which meant they had to be in the office. Now they have the flexibility and convenience to carry out tasks on the move, enabling them to strike a better balance between their home and work.
“Feedback from employees has been very positive. They love its functionality and the fact it replicates the user-friendliness of social media messaging apps like Whatsapp means it has fitted seamlessly into their lifestyle.”
As well as increasing employee engagement, the introduction of the iTrent chatbot has also delivered substantial benefits to Stonewater’s people services team.
Jenny Sawyer adds: “We are now more efficient. It has enabled us to look at removing the transactional element from many roles within the team and focus on developing the skills of our people so they can deliver more value-added services to the business, which will make a significant difference to our customers.”
Anton Roe, Chief Executive Officer at MHR comments: “We’re delighted to have supported Stonewater with the transformation of its HR and payroll processes as it continues on its journey to being a fully digital organisation.
“Stonewater’s successful adoption of the iTrent chatbot illustrates how artificial intelligence in the workplace isn’t something to fear. When introduced correctly it can deliver tangible benefits and help people perform their jobs much better.”