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Virtual assistant for
Norilsk Nickel
We've created a virtual assistant — an intelligent chatbot Nika, who lives in the messengers of Norilsk Nickel employees.

Norilsk Nickel is the world's biggest producer of non-ferrous metals and Russian leader in mining and metallurgical industry.

in the world

in the production of nickel and palladium

1

in the world

in the production of platinum and rhodium

4

thousand

employees

70

industrial sites

in Russia

4

What has happened?

In 2015 Nornickel accepted a digital transformation program. It affected all sectors of the company including HR. At that time, 70% of the HR department’s work consisted of routine operations and administration. The corporation planned to change this ratio in favor of the strategic tasks’ solution by the beginning of 2019.

In order to increase the effectiveness of HR department's work, it was decided to deploy an HR self-service system based on SAP HCM. With the help of it, the employees got an opportunity to request the necessary information independently.
What was made?

With the implementation of SAP HCM, unified business processes were built in every HR department. After that personnel administration, task tracking, payroll, organization management and office work became fully automated.

Automatization made it possible to build a self-service system for employees. It was assumed that employees would receive HR services independently.

Self-services were implemented in three formats:

Personal accounts in the corporate portals

19 services
Self-service terminals in the production sites
5 сервисов
Information via SMS
auto requests and info messages
How did it work?

After the implementation of this system, the company recorded less than 25 thousand appeals to the self-service personnel a month with a headcount of 70 thousand people. Thus, the implementation of self-services did not meet the project expectations: employees did not begin to use them extensively.

At the same time, the need for information and administrative services from HR did not go away, and the digital transformation strategy assumed the transfer of routine tasks to an automatic format, as well as the deepening of employees’ involvement.
What went wrong?

A study of the employees' experience revealed a weak link: direct communication with the employee had not worked.
More than 60% of employees do not work with computers

Employees could use the corporate portal only if they had a personal account and a computer. At the same time, the work of many employees does not involve the use of a computer.

Self-service terminals are inconvenient

Terminals are often limited in capacity. They also need to be installed and maintained, which is both time and cost-intensive. Despite the reliability, anti-vandal keyboards are inconvenient for entering a large amount of text. Also one device can serve only one employee, and it causes long queues.

The functionality of SMS services is limited

SMS services assumed personal expenses. They also were able to process just a few simple auto requests — for example, short messages about the readiness of documents.


In addition, these solutions did not allow the company to interact with employees: they assumed only one-way communication for the employee to receive standardized information.

Meanwhile, building a positive employee experience has become a strategic HR-challenge for the Norilsk Nickel. In order to increase employee engagement, a solution was needed.
New tasks

HR team needed to find a solution with a new set of characteristics:
The most simple, fast and intuitive access to self services
Simplicity for employees
Can be extended to all employees regardless of the industry
Scalability
Access for 70 thousand employees without preliminary training
Easy to access
Interaction with every employee
Help in communication
Development of positive employee experience
Employee experience
Minimal cost of use
Cost reduction
Solution
A solution for new tasks was proposed by the Personik team and its main idea was found literally in the pocket — it is all about messengers for smartphones.

Why messengers?

Today it is difficult to find a person who doesn’t have a smartphone, and the concept of messengers is familiar and understandable to most people. A significant plus of messengers is that they are free and easily accessible to absolutely everyone.

On the other hand, modern messengers have amazing possibilities for automating the communication process by the implementation of chatbots — assistant robots that act according to given scenarios. They also are able to learn. The most important thing in the work of a chatbot is to work out the scenarios of interaction between the company and the employee.

In addition, messengers help to be interactive in the communication with employees, which is necessary for any organization. It is easy to contact the employee through the messenger and just as easy to get feedback from him.

Thus, the use of messengers meets all the company’s objectives: availability, simplicity, functionality and cost of the solution.
Nika: intelligent chatbot and virtual assistant

Our team has developed a virtual assistant for Norilsk Nikel — an intelligent chatbot, which communicates with employees through the Viber messenger. An assistant was called Nika.

Nika was made on the Personik technology platform. The platform correctly configured all the necessary functions of the virtual assistant, integrated it with the corporate informational systems and brought custom functions into messengers.

How we created Nika

deployed the platform on the company's services
agreed and configured the integration with internal systems — SAP HCM and ServiceNow
implemented the functionality of natural language processing
developed the custom scripts
agreed and connected the platform to Viber and Telegram through the API
What do we get?

Today Nika operates through two messengers: Viber and Telegram.
1
In the first step Nika was learned to support familiar HR administration services. She provided the information about salaries and vacations, generated certificates and documents.

The first version of Nika started its work 12 months after the launch of the project.
2
In the second step virtual assistant started to offer organization sevices: provide information about voluntary medical insurance, seniority and KPI cards. Nika also started to help with passport and visa support, shift planning, organization of business trips, ordering of meeting rooms and business cards. With the help of newsletters, organization of feedback and basic services for the initial adaptation of personnel, the first steps in the development of the employee experience were taken.

In addition, Nika helps managers in coordinating and receiving tasks, responding to employees’ requests.

Now Nika understands various options of commands and queries, including slang options. Her Russian is getting better every day.
3
Next Nika will develope employee experience and increase opportunities for employee engagement. She will learn to work with the company’s knowledge base and help the employees to find the information they need. She will also get an ability to connect the employees with competent managers and respond to the operational needs of the corporation.

By the end of 2020, Nika provides about 40 services



Salary
information and accrual
tasks
planning, coordination and control
business trips
planning and coordination
kpi cards

information and reconciliation

informing
mailing
vacation
information
business cards
ordering
meeting rooms
booking
watch
planning
medical services
information about health insurance and selection of a medical institution
documents
certificates, documents for visas and travelling
work experience
information
Results and effectiveness

Informational systems of Nornickel began to receive about 100 thousand requests monthly only in the first months after Nika’s launch into mass operation. The assistant is intuitive in use and accessible from both mobile devices and personal computers.

Now Nika is actively used by 70% of Nornickel employees, the implementation costs were paid off in 4 months. Nika received high marks from employees and managers and organically merged into the company’s business processes.
Alexander Dmitriev
Personik Master of Operations
The chatbot turned out to be a more understandable and in-demand tool compared to traditional IT-solutions. With its implementation the company has significantly increased the employees’ involvement into HR processes, which previously could not be covered with other automation tools. Majority of employees liked Nika and started to use it en masse. The chatbot is available to absolutely everyone and Nika easily fits into the everyday life of the company.

According to our estimates, the total time savings from the switching to self-services via the chatbot are up to 1500 days of non-productive labor per month, which saves the company millions of roubles. In addition to a very specific economic effect, the virtual assistant saves the time and effort of all employees on solving routine issues, which ultimately affects the employees’ quality of work and life, allowing them to focus on really important tasks. Nika will save a lot of useful time for both the company and employees due to prompt end-to-end access to corporate information and tasks. It always increases the efficiency of the working process and positively affects the results.

All this ultimately gives not only an economic effect, but also forms a unique employee experience and positively affects the HR-brand of Nornickel.

Let us know, how we can help!



Kate
Platform Architect
Edward
Software Craftsman
Alexander
Founder and CEO
Alexander
Master of Operations