Unleash the power of the bot: Using AI in global mobility

Unleash the power of the bot: Using AI in global mobility

Hanneke Noort, Account Management Director, EMEA, Crown World Mobility, says ‘the machines’ may not have taken over – but they have made global mobility a much less daunting proposition.

AI was everywhere over the course of the last 12 months. After the initial concerns that ultra-intelligent robots would take over the planet subsided, we found way upon way of harnessing AI to help us do the heavy lifting in all kinds of different areas of our jobs, as a standard tool for process enhancement. It has the potential to streamline a lot of tasks, such as immigration and tax processes. And with their work on global mobility, one company in particular found that AI can be there for their colleagues – whenever the colleague needs it.

What’s your query?

The company implemented a chatbot in 2023, which employees could use to ask questions and receive answers about their relocations at a time that suited them. We’ve surely all been in the position upon leaving a meeting that, some hours later, we remember a question we meant to ask but forgot to.

The chatbot is a solution that is there 24/7/365 to answer any queries that an employee might have about their relocation, from language support for their spouse to the public holidays in their host location and everything in between.

This shift to a self-serve model, in line with recent organisational development, does not require human assistance nor involve a caller being passed between different departments in email chains or phone conversations. Simply put a query to the bot and it gives the user an answer.

The chatbot on its own does not contain the knowledge to draw upon and find an answer to the employee’s query. This is held by a wiki, similar to Wikipedia, which is an ecosystem that gives scalability and contains the policy documents which hold the answers to employee questions, in whichever way they might be asked.

The bot is the AI solution which navigates the wiki and finds the answer to the question. It streamlines the information contained within the wiki by leveraging ChatGPT models and the company’s own data system to provide quick and relevant answers to all queries about life within the company, not just those about mobility, using a platform which can be integrated anywhere.

A mobility programme is of course based on policies. The chatbot looks through the wiki to find the relevant policies and provide answers using the large language modelling of the database. When a policy is changed, the new and up-to-date policy is stored in the wiki so that the bot can always provide up-to-the-minute answers.

The wiki is constantly updated and evolving to reflect the different ways employees ask their questions. The company uses AI to quality-check and ensure an answer is not discoverable only by using technical jargon; it should be findable based on the language that an employee would use, so there is occasionally a need to rewrite commands to the bot. 

Continuous improvement of chatbots is vital to ensure they remain the number one choice for employee requests. This is why, once his chatbot has given an answer, it gives the user a simple choice of giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down response as to whether the answer satisfactorily resolved their query. This feedback then informs whether the bot needs to be fine-tuned and redefined to find what it is looking for in the wiki.

AI is not just about answering queries

Chatbot and AI technology is still very much in its infancy. As the technology becomes more sophisticated, its use on the vendor side could increase to encompass virtual home searches and orientation processes, though it does of course remain to be seen whether the true look and feel of a place can be communicated effectively by using virtual technology.

Choosing a home is not a task to be taken lightly and this may need to be done in-person by older assignees uncomfortable with making a commitment from a distance. Younger, more digitally savvy assignees may be the first generation to put their trust in the technology and settle on somewhere to live based on virtuality alone.

Talent mobility also has the potential to make use of AI solutions. Aligning talent with mobility is a discussion that has been underway for some time now, with many companies finding it hard to offer meaningful ways of joining the two departments together.

AI solutions can also be used to develop tools which assess a potential assignee’s suitability for assignment. It can take into account their intercultural intelligence, their adaptability and the core skills that are needed for the overseas role. AI can be used for workforce planning, as it can look where vacancies are arising around the world and then align these openings with an employee’s availability and their willingness to relocate.

Back to chat

The future has the potential to be very interesting, but back in the present, the chatbot is the start of the journey. It is a vital component within the company as it seeks to automate processes which can be. With its ‘always-on’ position, it places the global mobility assignee at the centre of the relocation process because it is the bot that answers their questions, not a colleague who might miss their query because of their long to-do list. It places the power to find answers to their concerns in their own hands.

While the machines haven’t taken over, they have certainly made global mobility a much less daunting proposition for colleagues at this particular company. AI may well continue being a trend for years to come as it evolves and its uptake continues.

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