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Morneau Shepell harnesses AI technology and big data to help organizations drive efficiency

VedaWork™ streamlines administration and offers data-driven predictive analytics to help identify and proactively manage rising people costs

TORONTO, Jan. 25, 2018 /CNW/ - Expectations of the human resources (HR) function are changing rapidly, requiring new solutions that address key business needs like simplification, cost management, workplace health and productivity. Through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), Morneau Shepell has developed Ava™, an intelligent, automated HR assistant, to help meet the need for simplification. Furthermore, when Ava's capabilities and the data it generates are combined with VedaWork™, a suite of solutions that accesses Morneau Shepell's large HR data sets, organizations benefit from predictive analytics and the ability to pinpoint specific existing and upcoming people issues, such as rising health and benefits costs and employee turnover, so that solutions can be implemented to tackle them. The combined effect is an HR department that operates more efficiently and strategically, while delivering better service to employees and decreasing costs.

"Given the business pressures many organizations are facing, it's more important than ever that HR professionals be able to offer key business insight rather than getting bogged down in administration," said Zahid Salman, executive vice president at Morneau Shepell. "VedaWork uses cognitive technologies and data-driven support to help them do so."

Ava is designed to meet employee needs
The comprehensive solution is based on three core components: Streamline, Predict and Resolve. At the heart of the Streamline component is Ava, which stands for automated virtual assistant, an AI-enabled HR assistant that both simplifies administration and improves the employee experience. "An ever-increasing number of employees are asking for a different type of interaction model," states Michael Lin, senior vice president and chief information officer at Morneau Shepell. "They are expecting answers on demand, through the web or their mobile device, rather than calling in with questions and waiting for someone to get back to them with a response. With Ava, they can ask a specific HR-related question and get an immediate, personalized answer. This service delivery model not only better meets employee expectations, it also relieves HR staff from some of their time-consuming tasks, enabling them to focus on value-added people solutions."

Ava is able to answer HR-related queries through interfaces into both Morneau Shepell's service platforms, and broader HR platforms used by its clients. Ava goes beyond question-and-answer capabilities and leverages AI to learn from the queries she receives. Ava proactively prompts employees to see if additional relevant information is of interest. In addition, Ava can conduct sentiment analysis on the questions received and uses pulse surveys to ask for feedback on satisfaction with programs and specific aspects of the employee experience to provide a real-time perspective on employee engagement levels.

Providing clients with data-driven insights
The Predict and Resolve components of the solution leverage the data Ava generates, along with other relevant data sets from across Morneau Shepell's various lines of business. "The real power of our comprehensive solution lies in its predictive analytics, the insights it can provide and the services we can deploy to address any concerning trends," said Salman. "While our initial focus will be on helping our clients predict and resolve health and benefits costs and turnover, we expect to expand VedaWork over time to include other key people cost areas."

For more information on VedaWork, please click here to download the overview sheet or watch the video.

About Morneau Shepell
Morneau Shepell is the only human resources consulting and technology company that takes an integrated approach to employee assistance, health, benefits and retirement needs. The Company is the leading provider of employee and family assistance programs, the largest administrator of retirement and benefits plans and the largest provider of integrated absence management solutions in Canada. As a leader in strategic HR consulting and innovative pension design, the Company helps clients solve complex workforce problems and provides integrated productivity, health and retirement solutions. Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves approximately 20,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations.  With more than 4,000 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit morneaushepell.com.

SOURCE Morneau Shepell Inc.

For further information: Heather MacDonald, Morneau Shepell, 416.390.2625, hmacdonald@morneaushepell.com