Artificial Intelligence Index 2017 Annual Report by Stanford University, the increase in the number of active U.S. startups developing AI systems is 14X since 2000. Clearly, AI is in the minds of businesses and they have been experimenting and innovating to gain competitive advantage.
On the other hand, we have a somewhat mixed response from HR professionals of these organisations:
- 50% of HR executives back this finding by saying that they recognize the power of cognitive computing as it can transform key dimensions of HR.
- 54% of them believe that cognitive computing will affect key roles in the HR organization.
- 36% believe their organization was too small to do so
- 28% said their senior leadership did not see the need for such technology.
So, if a business is likely to integrate AI with HR then where exactly are they willing to applying AI in their digital workforce? More importantly, what impact is it going to have on employee performance and overall business?
Personalised employee experience
Before an employee begins a new journey at work, the company must predefine it well enough for them to get started. For this, HR can effectively integrate AI with an employee’s onboarding program. It’ll be a warm welcome for them to make them comfortable in the new work environment. Further, a personalised employee experience includes getting to know the people the new employee is going to be working with, as well as employees from the other department. For example, if a person works in the Data team but later sometime faces an IT-related issue then the employee must know where to go. So, employees will get all the information on one single automated platform and not feel lost. In the end, companies must look to create an automated system where new and old employees both can look for information in no time.
Also, we know that the onboarding process includes training as well. So, an AI system will provide training suggestions and a POI, in case the employee has doubts or concerns. The AI integrated system will store all this information in one place.
Therefore, it must come under an organisation’s top strategies to maintain transparency for helping out new employees. There are multiple touchpoints to maintain the journey for new employees, both digital and physical, such that it’s easy for them to transition from new-to-settled. So, AI will determine how smoothly this transition takes place.
New employee journey similar to a new customer journey for a business
Large corporate leaders are mostly occupied with their own work. Therefore, an automated AI system in HR will critically evaluate its impact on the overall employee journey at each stage of the lifecycle by their existing touchpoints, specifically digital. This will further check for the efficiency in the AI system.
Better decision-making at the leadership level
There are mostly 2 kinds of decisions that leaders and managers have to make-
- Long-term decisions
- Day-to-day decisions
Irrespective of whether the decision will impact the company’s sales figures in 2020 or on the very next day, AI will help employees take intuitive decisions backed with data. While the team has time to ponder upon long-term decisions, AI will help take day-to-day decisions in a much better fashion-
- Leave approval: Usually, team members apply for their own individual leaves however, at times they tend to be cancelled because others might also want to apply for a leave around that time-period. So, an AI integrated HR system will let the employee know how likely their leaves are to get approval.
- Performance: A team member may conduct a meeting, onboarding session, demo, or some other important discussion. If the member receives regular feedback then it will help the member improve in the future. “Was I confident?”, “Did I sound too nervous?”, “Was I able to answer the client’s query in detail?”, “Should I focus on my tone?”, all sorts of questions pop up on our minds when we conduct meetings. Therefore, the AI system will ensure that we receive regular feedback.
- Training: An automated system will maintain a list of available training opportunities to choose from for the new employees. The team leads or reporting managers will be able to keep a track on the progress and measure results accordingly.
- Hiring: Maintaining and streamlining a hiring pipeline is very important for growing businesses. AI-integrated HR system will ensure that the concerned team members receive information regarding interview scheduling, feedback sharing, and other updates.
Automated tasks that offer low-value
HR professionals worry about becoming redundant with the coming of an AI integrated HR system. However, what they don’t realise is the fact that they will get an opportunity to perform higher-value tasks. They will learn new skills to upgrade their output and bring more value to the company, like employee engagement, retention, mentoring, etc.
Recruitment drives through AI
If you are a budding company looking for great talent to join your organisation then there are companies out there too, who are targeting the exact same great talent. How do you ensure that you customise an experience tailored to their needs?
- Offer a seamless platform for applicants to apply
- Allow them to choose the benefits of their choice
- Let them explore development opportunities to grow
- Automate interview scheduling through AI recruiters to save time and effort
- Provide regular feedback to engage them better
- Integrate an AI system that answers queries in real-time
Effective people analytics
Co-creation is a large part of the company culture. Popular belief is that a person must be selected for a particular position based on their previous experience. However, does that mean that the candidate isn’t cut out for some other role? How sure can we be that the candidate won’t be able to pull off a challenge that belongs to a different department? This is where AI helps the HR out to enable them to take intelligent decisions.
No doubt, companies have been collecting data to gain insights about employee behaviour and expectations but there’s a lot more work that needs to be done. HR can leverage the power of people analytics to track, analyse, manage and protect employee data to keep improving the employee experience. That’s how companies meet the candidate’s digital expectations and distinguish themselves from other companies.
No personal/emotional bias
In the survey by the Human Resources Professional Association, researchers found that even when employers strive to be inclusive, they may subconsciously lean toward candidates who are most like them. This is purely what we call ‘unconscious bias’. The interviewer and the candidate might-
- Share common interests
- Belong from the same city
- Have inclination towards the same art/artist, etc
Especially in a country like India, the huge diversity creeps in the possibility of even more unconscious bias.
AI is strictly data-driven and free from any sort of bias or gut feeling. It will ensure that the competency of the candidate is presented to the hiring manager.
Identification of employees who might quit
Identifying those employees who might quit is a highly advantageous process that comes under retention practice. IBM suggested that its HR AI system accurately predicts 95% of the time if people might want to leave the company.
“It has saved the company over $300 million!”, says the company’s CEO.
Some HR professionals have shared their concerns regarding ‘keeping a constant watch’ on individual employee behaviour and activity. It’s better to collect regular feedback from employees and discuss their day-to-day work. The whole point of introducing an AI system in HR is to automate manual surveys and give more time to the HR to talk to employees. Data and AI technology will do their work in identifying when an employee is planning to make an exit but only an HR manager will be able to have a one-to-one conversation and retain employees.
The combination of artificial intelligence and HR will have a promising impact on employee engagement. The process will be productive as long as HR finds out a way to balance between cognitive tech advances and human intervention. There can still be bias in decision-making; however, the percentage will considerably reduce when HR professionals have a clear understanding of the program that their company introduces. More than ensuring efficiency it is perhaps necessary to build some level of trust among employees and departments that the technology will work out. In the end, it all counts when you are able to clearly measure improvement.
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Read our blog on AI in HR | Part 3