Jaguar Land Rover's HRVA - a chatbot that works and saves 900 hours annually

How JLR's HRVA tool has saved hundreds of human hours annually while the Chatbot bounce back ensure a human is always in the loop when it matters...

With ‘People love’ as a core component of luxury car manufacturer JLR’s Reimagine strategy, the business was facing 2000 weekly HR queries from its 35,000 UK employees, with an average response time of five days.

The challenge was to save time, boost response windows and escalate more serious issues to the People team for a human intervention, as part of its mission to curate modern luxury experiences for its staff. HR Grapevine spoke with Dave Williams, Chief People Officer to find out how they delivered an AI-powered HR tool that actually works.

Dave Williams

Chief People Officer

“We started with the mantra that performance follows engagement,” says Williams who set about plotting a strategy to improve accessibility and efficiency.

In collaboration with external partner LivePerson, they developed and implemented their HR Virtual Assistant (HRVA). It was launched in June 2022, allowing employees to engage in immediate online chat conversations, beginning with just six topics, which enabled a soft launch.

“We didn’t restrict access to it but didn’t necessarily publicise that it was there either which gave us plenty of opportunity for testing,” says Williams. He explains that this incremental approach enabled queries to be road-tested that weren’t capable of being answered and gave the team under Katie Blewitt, Head of HR Direct, an opportunity to further refine the service with 8-week sprints.

This development was fed by analysing where the volume was coming from, and which questions were attracting the most queries. The topics scaled from the original six to 51 with plans to expand this further.

Williams refers to the HRVA as a ‘mixed model’ – highlighting that at its core the query is either satisfactorily answered or expediates to a human. “That was always super important to us,” he says. ‘Stop words’ relate to sensitive issues including mental health, menopause, and other serious queries which when entered, prompt an instant signposting to a member of the people team.

JLR’s HRVA evaluation metrics

“There are around 18,000 engagements (in the past fiscal year) with the system and a quarter of those queries have now been resolved entirely by the bot,” says Williams, who explains that in those instances there was no need for any human interaction whatsoever. That has led to a saving of over 900 human hours per year.

A further enhancement is the delivery of the service via an app. With many JLR employees being non-office based and working in the manufacturing side, building vehicles, it was important to bring the service to them in a more accessible manner.

Williams notes, “It has been a huge move for those employees that haven’t had direct access to company systems in the past.”

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