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Ever wish you could have a personal assistant to help keep up with all the details involved in running a restaurant? Now you can. Meet Siri — one of the most talked about apps out there. As an integrated part of Apple's iOS 5, Siri is currently only available on the iPhone 4S. She's the latest in personal assistants, and makes it possible to verbally ask your phone to send messages to employees, put interviews on your schedule, remind you to run payroll and more.
Where Siri Could Go
Siri is currently in beta and is continually being developed. She's plugged into Wolfram Alpha, a two-year-old "computational knowledge engine," that allows her to answer a surprising range of inquiries. This knowledge base will only continue to improve and expand over time.
Siri also learns on the go. For instance, she has the ability to recognize dialects and accents with ease — from Brooklyn and Texas to France and Germany. In 2012, Siri's picking up Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian and Spanish, as well.
At the moment, one of Siri's biggest limitations is what services she can and can't access. While she's quick to transcribe and send a text, make a call or pull up any information you request ... as of yet, Siri cannot open apps. However, there is already buzz about app developers working on voice activation and operation. Apple is also rumored to be developing Siri integration in its other product lines — from the iPod, to a speech-powered TV, to the OS X desktop.
So what are some ways Siri could transform HR?
Siri in Hiring
Since Siri knows your current location and other locations like "home" and "work," she can give reminders when you depart or arrive. For example, she could list the open positions you need to focus on when you leave the house, and remind you about the references you wanted to call when you get to the office.
VoiceOver, the screen reader in iOS, can 'read' anything Siri 'writes' on your iPhone's screen. As more programs are developed to be voice interactive, it's possible that Siri will one day be capable of interactively pre-screening applicants. Today you can do online screening with a talent management system. Imagine the possibilities if Siri was integrated and could ask the questions. The potential is limitless as Siri's capabilities expand. She could ask candidates pre-screening questions, hone in on questions that might red-flag the candidate, possibly provide an assessment rating and a verbatim transcript for your review. It's not possible yet, but Siri's interactivity and personality is growing by leaps and bounds.
Siri in Training
If you notice that your new waiter clearly doesn't understand the order-taking process, ask Siri to remind you to set up some training for him when things slow down around 3 p.m. That's something Siri can already do for you. When Siri is developed to work with other applications, she could automatically send that employee an email with the training content attached, or work with your talent management system to assign the training material.
Siri in Scheduling
The same goes for scheduling. Siri already knows what's in your address book and calendar. She can easily inform you about your day or add to existing appointments. Just tell Siri when to schedule an interview and, if you need a reminder, she will automatically add it to your calendar. So how could this improve in the future? Imagine if Siri could recite your shifts for the week or tell you who is working overtime and who is available to fill shifts. These are data points a good talent management system already tracks; Siri would simply need to be compatible with the database.
Siri in Engagement
Employee engagement addresses the interaction and involvement of your employees with your restaurant. Siri can't really make your team be more engaged, but she could help you manage employee performance and feedback. Rather than scribbling a note down on how helpful someone is, have Siri transcribe a quick message and save it. Siri could also remind you when review time rolls around.
The future is yet to unfold. But the opportunities to integrate with new apps like Siri are limitless. Just think, Siri has the potential to be the first foodservice automated personal assistant with all your workforce solutions.