OCBC app puts HR answers in employees' pockets

OCBC staff can use HR In Your Pocket to apply for leave or check a colleague's contact details while on the go.
OCBC staff can use HR In Your Pocket to apply for leave or check a colleague's contact details while on the go. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

OCBC Bank has become the first lender here to launch a mobile app that deals with employees' human resource questions at a quick touch.

The HR In Your Pocket app has an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot - a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users - that can provide immediate responses when a question is typed or verbally asked by a user.

The chatbot, called Buddy, can also provide information specific to an employee, such as his annual leave balance, or the status of his expense claims.

OCBC staff can use HR In Your Pocket to apply for leave or check a colleague's contact details while on the go. Managers can use it to approve employees' leave applications.

Mr Jason Ho, OCBC head of group human resources, said suggestions from staff prompted the creation of the app.

"The internal feedback was that our apps for customers are innovative and useful, so we thought: 'Why not channel our bank's digital capabilities and technological expertise into developing intuitive and easy-to-use apps for our employees too?'"

The app and chatbot were developed in-house in just two months; chatbots on the market take about five months to develop.

Mr Praveen Raina, OCBC senior vice-president of group operations and technology, said: "The app helps to boost productivity as it frees up resources and time that could be used for other purposes."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'OCBC app puts HR answers in employees' pockets'. Print Edition | Subscribe