Artificial Intelligence In Human Resources – To AI or not to AI?

Artificial Intelligence In Human Resources – To AI or not to AI?

Every department in a company has its own challenges.

In the case of Human Resources, recruitment and onboarding processes, employee orientations, process paperwork, and background checks is a handful and many a time painstaking – mostly because of the repetitive and manual nature of the work. The most challenging of all is engaging with employees on human grounds to understand their needs.

As leaders today are observing the AI revolution across every process, Human resources is no exception: there has been a visible wave of AI disruption across HR functions. According to an IBM's survey from 2017, among 6000 executives, 66% of CEO's believe that cognitive computing can drive compelling value in HR while half of the HR personnel believe this may affect roles in the HR organization. The study clearly exhibits the apprehension of HR executives caused by the AI disruption in their field.

While one aspect of AI is creating uneasiness: the other is promising convenience. AI aims to empower the HR department with the right knowledge to optimize processes with less manual power and guarantees to mitigate errors.

So, what makes AI so attractive for Human Resources?

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the power of AI in real-time< Backlink->, including its shortcomings. At the crux of the AI evolution is the minimization of human labored processes. Sophisticated AI algorithms can analyze large amounts of data in no time and self-educate themselves to recognize and map patterns, which can come in handy for HR staffs to plan and operate strategically.

While a human can be biased, get bored and make unintended mistakes provoking inadequacy in productivity and efficiency, AI programs are unbiased and diligent, enabling more productivity and efficiency.

HR executives who perform tasks like applicant tracking, payroll, training, and job postings manually without automation, state that they spend 14 hours a week on an average on these tasks. Leveraging AI to automate these HR processes can be extremely pertinent for meeting the following key business requirements: First, save time and increase efficiency; Second, provide real-time responses and solutions that meet employee expectations.

As per a Mckinsey's study "AI will drastically change business regardless of the industry. AI could potentially deliver an additional economic output of around $13 trillion by 2030, boosting global GDP by about 1.2 percent a year."

Let's dive deeper to understand how AI can help sophisticate HR processes while not necessarily replacing human resource personnel.

1. Improved Employee Experience

Employees are the first customers for any organization. Hence employee experience is as important as customer experience.

As employee experience is becoming the next competitive edge for businesses, the coming days will be focused on providing personalized engagement and improving employee experience for human resources.

According to a Deloitte survey, 80% HR executives rate employee experience as important, while only 22% believe their organization excels at providing a differentiated employee experience.

Additionally, the advent of smart workplace has raised the bars of employees' expectations for work-space experience and engagement factors.

Jennifer Stroud, HR Evangelist & Transformation Leader at ServiceNow, says, "We have seen the need for chatbots, AI and machine learning in the workplace to drive more productivity as well as modern, consumerized employee experiences. These consumer technology solutions are exactly what employees want in the workplace."

Engaging AI can help the HR department provide personalized employee engagement experiences across the entire employee lifecycle, right from recruitment and onboarding to career pathing.

2. Empowering HR's to make Data-Driven decisions

In common, the data-to-decision workflow looks like the below figure for many people.

Source: jobsoffice
Source: jobsoffice

Many HR technologies still follow the above workflow and depend on manual methods to glean insights from data. This task grows tedious and creates a bottleneck for end-users (data analysts) to draw insights within the stipulated time leading to decision making on outdated data.

While frontier technologies like data analytics> are advancing to provide real-time data to make fast and fact-based decisions, AI can assist Human Resource professionals in harnessing this real-time data and making quick, consistent, and data-driven decisions. After all, the bottom line of HR agility is decision making.

3. Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation fuses automation with AI. This will enable machines to make human-like decisions by self-educating themselves. Apart from augmenting productivity and efficiency for repetitive manual processes, this can help remove human interventions deployed for automated process completely.

Popular AI use cases in Human Resources

1. More work in less time!

Crafting job descriptions for a particular role, filtering resumes and analyzing skillsets to find the apt talent is not only tiring and tedious, but also tricky for human resource professionals as a simple overlooked aspect can lead to a significant mistake, which may cost the company dearly in the long run. Well, AI can help HR staff overcome such scenarios by crafting bespoken job descriptions automatically and assist them in reading through thousands of resumes within a short time, thus effectively reducing the time and manual hard work put in by recruiters.

2. Identify the right talent without bias

HR personnel are humans and are likely to exhibit bias subconsciously. AI, on the other hand, is immune to human emotions which makes it the perfect fit to process candidate profiles based on required skillset without any disregard for candidate's age, race, gender, geographic areas or organizational relationship. An unbiased recruitment is a win-win for both HR staff and organization. Furthermore, AI can be instrumental in increasing retention rates and establishing cultural diversity.

Consider programs like Texito, they help recognize gender bias in ads enabling recruiters to embrace a neutral language.

3. Streamline employee onboarding

The first day of an employee in an organization is like the first day of a transferred student in a new school. Although employees are grown-ups and possess the cognitive intelligence to adapt easily to an environment, deep down they look for a guidance to help them settle down in a new environment. Fortunately, organizations have HR staff to do this job.  Employees generally have numerous queries on their first day regarding company policies, leaves, compensations, notice period, insurance claims, etc.  As intriguing as the questions may be for an employee, these queries may turn repetitive and exhausting for an HR personnel over the time. Engaging AI chatbots makes it simple to answer such repetitive questions and make more time for the HR staff to concentrate on other essential tasks.

4. Optimize employee engagement to build better relationships

Apart from recruitment and onboarding, AI can be used to streamline processes like scheduling meetings, training employees and other such business processes. AI's capabilities to recognize personas will help Human resources professionals understand the human aspect of every single employee in-depth and enable them to shape a friendly and exciting company culture to provide unique and personalized employee engagement experiences.

5. Manage employee churn

Understanding factors that cause and arrest employee churn is the toughest part of an HR's job.  People change jobs for various reasons like financial growth, career growth, shift in profiles, unsatisfied work environment, etc. Leveraging AI capabilities can help the HR department in continuously monitoring and evaluating employees' thoughts about the organization, work culture, the degree of satisfaction with their job, etc. Knowing what offends or drives an employee can help in underlining the employee churn factors precisely. AI can help HR executives in  performing this task more precisely.

 Should HR personnel be worried about losing their job?

All said and done, even though AI's capabilities would help reduce manual work and boost efficiency and productivity, artificial intelligence doesn't possess the emotional intelligence of humans.  AI also cannot compensate for the 'humane' connection that HR personnel form with employees and leverage to drive engagement and responsiveness.

Therefore, to answer the critical question that haunts HR executives 'Will AI be the reason why I might lose my job?' No. Not really. The whole idea of AI in HR is the integration of technology to automate the more monotonous HR related tasks and optimize processes to add value to human work in less time. In the AI era, new jobs will evolve that will have new skills requirements unleashing the evolution of the HR function in an AI-first world.

Author Detail:

Jency is a technology content writer with SG Analytics. She contributes to the company's advancements by writing creative and engaging for their website and blogs.  Her hobbies include music, reading, and trekking.

Company designation: Content Writer, SG Analytics

Location: Pune

Social media profile: LinkedIn –

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