Reinventing Human Resources: What HR Leaders Need To Know About Workplace AI

Artificial intelligence has become a part of how people operate on a daily basis. More than two-thirds of consumers use AI today without even really noticing — usually in the form of navigation, virtual assistants and that annoying yet entertaining feature on your smartphone that auto-fills your text messages.

The benefits of AI from the business perspective are clear in the forms of increased efficiencies, robust data mining and analytics and improved customer relationship management. AI has reinvented what we do and how we get it done. Now, human resources leaders must reinvent HR functions to drive effective talent strategies and sustain results — and they will need AI to do it. We won’t have a seat at the table unless we do. Here’s why, along with some AI integration ideas for you to consider.

Talent Acquisition

Attracting and attaining talent is incredibly challenging today given low unemployment rates and intense competition. Recruiting AI screens resumes efficiently and sources passive candidates who have the skills and competencies you may be looking for in viable candidates for several different jobs.

Job seekers are consumers and approach the job search, application and interviewing process in an Amazon-inspired fashion. They want their experiences to be unique. They like a customized approach, and they want quick decisions and answers to questions. AI helps to meet job seekers’ expectations by providing online live chat, automated interview scheduling and interview feedback. And AI can match candidates to several jobs beyond the ones they applied for.

Companies that use AI in talent acquisition over a period of time see recruiting costs and employee turnover reduced, and individual employee performance and company revenues increased. AI helps to minimize the risk of bias, as it makes data-driven decisions free from emotion or personal experience.

Performance Management

AI takes the repetitiveness out of many performance improvement activities such as answering the same questions over and over again or providing the same data across multiple requests. In most companies, managers and employees contact HR for help with routine performance management issues, and the requests tend to be extremely similar.

AI in the form of chatbots can function as an FAQ, providing more timely and comprehensive information to employees than a phone conversation might. A chatbot can also proactively reach out to employees who may be looking for information online and ask to assist by collecting data on searches and site visits. The chatbot provides information when the employee needs it, versus when HR is available.

Succession And Workforce Planning

A study conducted using data on soccer players showed AI helped coaches better understand how their players performed during matches, thereby enhancing overall team performance. By collecting real-time data, AI informed coaches on who may need to come out of the game, how to sub players into games, and when and which players should deploy specific tactics. Even more exciting, AI was able to provide coaches the same analysis on the opposing teams’ players.

This AI can be applied to succession and workforce planning. Software can collect employee performance data and provide analysis that not only identifies team strengths and weaknesses, but also measures market value of employee skill sets and compares how effectively skills are being applied by individual employees. The study proves AI can be used to drive highly effective talent strategies.

HR Leader Considerations

AI is not regularly used in HR today, and surveys indicate HR executives have not widely embraced the technology for several reasons, including the downsizing of HR functions, budgetary concerns and lack of familiarity. In fact, over half of the survey respondents indicated they probably would not implement any kind of AI in their HR departments before 2025.

The willingness to embrace AI for HR by business executives differs quite a bit from HR executives. In a 2017 survey, two-thirds of respondents thought HR value would be significantly increased with the integration of AI.

HR leaders must get on board now and consider how to implement AI as part of their talent strategies. As you ponder AI for your company, consider taking the following steps:

1. Create a business case for an AI Recruiter: AI recruiters are becoming more common and can be considered a type of “entry into AI” for many HR departments. Typically affordable and easy to integrate with existing systems, the AI recruiter is likely to provide positive ROI in a relatively short period of time after implementation.

2. Build a bot for benefits: Open enrollment is coming, and it is usually draining because of the number of employee questions. Given the fact that, on average, companies spend 31% of employees’ salaries on benefits, investing in cost-effective support makes sense. HRIS-based chatbots relieve the burden of answering repetitive questions and allow HR leaders to deploy resources to other, more strategic activities. Again, a chatbot addition to an existing HRIS is not necessarily going to break the bank.

3. Collect performance management data: Software is now including crowdsourcing data to help provide a large volume of performance information. AI using crowdsourced data is revolutionizing performance management by collecting real-time performance feedback on employees from employees after specific events and/or at different intervals to measure individual effectiveness. Understanding crowdsourcing and having a strategy to account for it will position you well for the future.

4. Customize learning: AI can be used in development to deliver training tailored to individual learning preferences and styles. Learners can take assessments or surveys, and the AI system will deliver custom learning options. Picture Luminosity when you think of AI for learning, where the software tracks scads of data points about learners to deliver the best training options. Millennials and Gen Z want choices and efficient delivery of relevant training.

Reinventing HR means we have to do things differently. HR executives must come to the table now with technology integration strategies to change the way HR is practiced. This is the only way to ensure the people function meets candidate, employee and business expectations and keeps up with today’s rapid and continuous changes.


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