AI-BASED CHATBOTS to automate HR processes, plan to provide cover for mental health, recognising social and financial well-being as an important aspect of work life while remaining committed to diversity make KPMG India stand out from the crowd.

One of the key initiatives this year has been an AI-based chatbot to answer policy and other queries of employees and nudge them to complete upcoming training and other compliances. “The project is close to my heart,” says Sunit Sinha, partner and head of People, Performance and Culture, KPMG in India. The pilot was done with 500 employees. The initiative will cover 22,000 employees in FY25.

“There are queries on insurance, etc. But many times people want self-service on the go. While chatbots have existed for a while, we are trying to make them more intelligent. They should be able to nudge and guide on things such as mandatory training or risk process coming up or completion of digital certification, which today happens through mails,” says Sinha. The company is enabling the bot through Microsoft teams on which employees work so that there is no need for a separate app. “Our vision is to scale it up as a virtual assistant. So, it is part HR support and part secretarial support,” says Sinha. “For an average analyst, aged 23 or 24, the bot brings ease of working, which should be so high that employees focus on work. Technology is allowing that empowerment,” says Sinha, adding that the company has almost halved the number of HR apps in last three years. “We brought down the number of HR applications from 47 to 21,” he says.

KPMG is also deploying AI in its unique offerings to clients. One such initiative is Kaleidoscope, a client innovation and experience centre in its Mumbai office. The company is planning one more centre in Bengaluru. “We have to find practical solutions for clients. At Kaleidoscope, we innovate with clients. A lot of it is co-created with clients in an immersive environment,” says Sinha.

The company is also planning to provide mental health cover to employees. “Pandemic prompted organisations to take well-being seriously. We’re trying to embed that in our practices. One of the things we’re exploring is covering mental health,” says Sinha. “There’s a little bit of hesitancy in India. Employees don’t want to declare they have a mental health issue. We involved the entire firm, recognising well-being as an important aspect of work life; we should not restricted it to physical and mental but also cover social and financial health,” he adds.

With women comprising 42% of workforce at present., KPMG accords high primacy to diversity. The target mix is 50:50. The diversity consciousness transcends to third gender, too; it sponsored a pride festival in Mumbai last year.

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