Vidahora wanted to empower HR functions using its innovative health and wellness app to spend less time answering administrative questions from employees and more time on talent development—but how?
Vidahora uses IBM Watson solutions connected to application databases in the IBM Cloud™ to deliver AI assistants in its mobile app, providing employees with fast answers to frequently asked questions.
40%average time-saving for HR functions by reducing administration workloads
EmpowersHR personnel to spend more time on value-added talent development
HelpsVidahora’s clients cultivate happier, healthier and more productive workplaces
Business challenge story
Shaping productive working environments
Instant connectivity on mobile devices is blurring the line between work and leisure time—and many businesses are looking for ways to help their people switch off after busy days in the office.
Vidahora, a Spain-based startup specializing in human resources (HR) solutions, knows that healthy eating, regular exercise and mindfulness techniques all play important roles in the overall health and wellbeing of a company’s employees.
Paula Martínez López, Co-Founder of Vidahora, begins: “A healthy, active lifestyle can help combat workplace stress and improve your mood. Supporting these kinds of choices makes a great deal of sense for HR functions, because it’s widely acknowledged that happy and healthy employees tend to be more engaged, satisfied and productive.”
Vidahora offers a comprehensive range of interactive solutions to help employees set, track and achieve lifestyle goals. Through a mobile app, employees can take part in gamified challenges with their colleagues to increase their number of daily steps, attend regular exercise classes and eat more healthily.
Francisco Jose Fernandez Moure, Co-Founder of Vidahora, continues: “After working with many businesses and their employees, we noticed that HR departments often spent large amounts of time on repetitive tasks, such as answering the same common questions, communicating company news and sending out information to new employees. We knew that our HR clients were keen to spend more time on developing and engaging their talent, but often there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to devote to those higher-value activities.”
To solve the challenge, Vidahora aimed to reduce its clients’ administrative workloads through automation. The company realized that if employees could pose common questions to a virtual assistant, it would free up valuable hours for HR teams and help them cultivate higher-quality working environments.
López adds: “We already offered social messaging capabilities on our app, and we knew that employees found the platform to be a natural way to communicate with their peers. We decided to build on the popularity of the feature by integrating AI assistants into our offering—and we looked for the capabilities to make our vision a reality.”
Freeing time for high-value tasks with AI
To drive its new service, Vidahora selected IBM Watson Assistant—a cloud-based application that enables businesses to create conversational AI solutions. The platform is connected to databases running in the IBM Cloud, and Vidahora utilizes IBM Watson Discovery to further train its AI assistants to understand clients’ unique industry and organizational vocabulary.
“We became interested in IBM’s AI offering through our involvement in the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program,” recalls Moure. “As a relatively young company, we are always looking for ways to accelerate our growth. IBM provided access to the solutions, platforms and best practices we needed to get our AI assistant concept off the drawing board and into production quickly.”
López comments: “We feel that IBM is a leader in the AI space, and we were extremely impressed with the capabilities of IBM Watson—particularly its ability to parse and understand human language effectively. And without a doubt, having a global technology brand like IBM backing our offering helps enhance our credibility in the marketplace.”
Working in a development environment in the IBM Cloud, Vidahora was ready to launch its new offering in just two months. Today, the company can design customized AI assistants that automatically provide answers to employees’ frequently asked questions. For example, if an employee wants to know more about their company’s procedure for requesting annual leave or ask about their health insurance coverage, they can simply type their question to the assistant and receive the information they need instantly.
“One of the things that we appreciate most about the entire platform is IBM Watson Discovery, because it enables us to train our AI quickly without writing code," explains Moure. "We work with clients across a wide range of industries, each with their own set of particular questions and interests. Using Watson Discovery we can upload documents containing company-specific rhetoric, and train the platform to find the most relevant materials to display to the user.”
Focusing on employee engagement
With AI assistants powered by IBM Watson and hosted in the IBM Cloud, Vidahora is helping its clients focus on making their workplaces happier, healthier and more productive.
“Our virtual assistants are specially designed for each client, and they can do far more than just surface answers to frequently asked questions,” explains López. “Some clients are using our AI assistants to distribute company news, promote upcoming events and even support new employees throughout their onboarding journey. As a result, these HR functions are reclaiming several hours per week which they can use to develop and engage their talent. In fact, on average, our clients are measuring a 40 percent reduction in the time they spend on repetitive administration tasks.”
Vidahora is also using virtual assistants to support and enhance other aspects of its health and wellness offering. Before Vidahora deploys its offering to a new group of employees, they complete a short digital questionnaire that asks about their current lifestyle, health and fitness goals and activity preferences. Based on this data, AI assistants create and guide employees through a customized three-month program. The virtual assistants suggest activities to take part in, provide motivation and advice, and ask employees how much they are enjoying their activities.
“When you’re running a race, having people cheering you on can give you the boost you need to get over the finish line—and our AI assistants are providing the same encouragement to employees who are embarking on one of our lifestyle challenges,” says Moure. “At the end of the three-month program, we ask the participants to answer the same questions that they did at the start of the process. On average, we see a 22 percent improvement in employees’ reported feelings of health and wellbeing—contributing to more engaged, satisfied and productive workforces for our clients.”
Looking ahead, Vidahora is interested in utilizing IBM Analytics solutions to dig deeper into the data its AI assistants are collecting and suggest more targeted ways to combat issues such as workplace stress.
“Our ultimate goal is to help businesses develop and retain their talent, and thanks to IBM Watson Assistant our clients have more time than ever to focus on those value-added activities,” says López. “We are already planning ways to build on our successes, such as using predictive analytics to identify potential challenges with stress, absences and attrition and suggest proactive ways to resolve them before they arise. Our collaboration with IBM will continue to be a key enabler of our growth, and we look forward to what the future holds.”
Headquartered in Vigo, Spain and founded in 2015, Vidahora is a specialist provider of HR solutions. By harnessing leading-edge AI technologies, Vidahora helps HR functions to gain deeper insights into the drivers of employee satisfaction and performance, to deliver effective workplace health and wellness programs and to streamline employee onboarding and communication.