While Amazon.com Inc. has Alexa and Apple Inc. has Siri, Morneau Shepell Ltd. is introducing a new virtual assistant designed to help employees with their human resources needs.

Ava, which stands for automated virtual assistant, uses artificial intelligence to answer human resources questions through platforms used by both Morneau Shepell and its employer clients.

“An ever-increasing number of employees are asking for a different type of interaction model,” said Michael Lin, senior vice-president and chief information officer at Morneau Shepell, in a news release. “They are expecting answers on demand, through the web or their mobile device, rather than calling in with questions and waiting for someone to get back to them with a response.

Read: Does artificial intelligence have a place in human resources?

“With Ava, they can ask a specific HR-related question and get an immediate, personalized answer. This service delivery model not only better meets employee expectations, it also relieves HR staff from some of their time-consuming tasks, enabling them to focus on value-added people solutions.”

Ava uses its artificial intelligence capabilities to learn from the questions asked of it, according to Morneau Shepell. It also proactively prompts employees with additional relevant information and is able to conduct analysis and surveys to provide real-time views on levels of employee engagement.

Also, the data generated by Ava aims to help employers identify ongoing workplace issues, such as rising health and benefits costs and employee turnover. Its predictive analytics aim to help organizations look ahead to see how those issues will play into the future, notes Morneau Shepell. 

Read: Manulife rolls out group benefits option through Amazon’s Alexa service

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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