Artificial intelligence(AI) is here. Is HR prepared for it?

AI in HR
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Introduction to AI in HR

To start with, Artificial Intelligence has been around since the 1960s. The greater innovation in AI has only come to be in the 21st century. Starting with the launch of social platforms like LinkedIn(2003), Facebook(2004), YouTube(2005), and Twitter(2006) people started to contribute and refer to the internet for information. Till this point, the internet revolution was confined to computers. 

With the launch of Apple’s iPhone in 2007, there was a paradigm shift in the perception of the internet and all that can be done using it. This gave rise to app-based platforms of service. If you think about just 15 years ago, none of today’s mainstream, app-based services existed. This shows the speed with which new people-centric technology caught on and opened up new avenues for engagement for better serving consumers.

However, coming to the current scenario, technology is making long strides in all areas. We have algorithms that can present you with options tailored for you, be it movies on Netflix, music on Spotify or shopping on Amazon. AI has helped build an experience-based consumer market, in other words, consumer data is collected, analysed and being learned by using algorithms developed for this specific purpose. 

So, how does one use AI in HR?

In the current job market, talent and learnability are given more importance. It has become imperative to create elaborate employee engagement strategies for organisations to have a productive workforce. The use of AI is very simple, straight-forward and clear to understand. It can help in streamlining key HR functions, allow employers to collect feedback and make modifications to their engagement strategies to be more productive.  

Impact of AI in HR

If you think AI is something complex and can only be properly used by people with technical skills, you might be wrong. AI is almost everywhere now, on phones, websites, chatbots, almost everywhere you look. AI works in the back to give you insights that can help you make better decisions.

For example, if you buy a new phone, you don’t necessarily know how the internal circuitry if the phone works, you just need to know only how the interface works. Similarly, with AI, it is alright if you do not have a technical background. As long as you can define what you want, set metrics for measurement, you can use AI to make informed decisions.

AI is going to impact HR in these four areas most-

  • Experience building
  • Streamlining Recruitment
  • Learning and development
  • People Analytics

Experience Building

The era of personalisation is here and it has changed our expectations from technology. Since most of the data that employees interact with daily is customised to them, they expect the same (unconsciously) at work too. They expect employers to understand their routines and activities that interest them to craft the experiences they will enjoy.

Now, with the proper use of AI, all the required data can be collected using polls, surveys and a host of other tools. We can craft employee and candidate experiences that feel personalised for them and drive your employer brand, both inside as well as outside the workplace.

Streamlining Recruitment

Recruitment is a process with a multitude of touchpoints and the process can be more productive by using AI technology. It can help smooth the entire process whether it is in screening, selection, assessment or following up with candidates.

The use of AI-powered HR chatbots has helped in keeping candidates engaged throughout the recruitment process by providing relevant updates and timely information to them.

Here’s our blog on how AI is influencing the future of recruitment.

Learning and development

Just like with Netflix, the content we access on a regular basis helps the AI to understand employee needs and preferences. This helps to provide the right learning sources, development resources and guides them towards being more productive. It helps by providing job-specific upskilling suggestions to employees depending upon their skill-level and performance. An AI can automatically furnish a list of trainings that are relevant for every employee and help them to improve performance and close any skill gaps.

People Analytics

People Analytics is perhaps the area of HR that will benefit most from AI-automation tech. HR generates data from employees continually using new-age platforms and tools. Analysing this data using AI and predictive modeling generates insights that can enhance employee performance. It can also help alert HR by identifying potential retention risks based on the data collected from employee’s work patterns and performance.

The implementing of AI can shed light on many underlying issues in talent management. So, by defining the right metrics, one can observe these trends and understand how it influences their strategy. It helps in making necessary changes to create a better strategy and reach optimal performance goals.

How to prepare HR for AI integration?

Well, there is really only one way to prepare HR professionals for a future where HR and AI work together- upskilling! We say this because only 1 in every 10 HR professionals feel they have AI-related knowledge. Believing that AI is only for ‘tech-people’ is one of the gravest mistakes HR professionals can make. Early adopters have an advantage with HR automation, they have now moved ahead to restructure some traditional jobs to include AI tech, right in the job description! Here’s what we are talking about:

Vice President, Data, AI and Offering strategy- IBM

This new position in IBM leverages the benefits of AI and use data to proactively retain IBMers. They use factors like location, pay, skills and job type as data sets to inform retention decisions. The team consists of professionals from different backgrounds working together to execute the vision of delivering irresistible employee experiences. The team comprises of data scientists, people analytics practitioners, and engineers who leverage data to create employee experiences.

Senior Vice President, Global HR, Performance and IT- Kraft Hienz

Kraft Hienz is the 5th largest food and beverages company in the world. They are disrupting HR by creating new roles in people analytics and data analytics which are traditionally in IT. This helps them to craft an engaging employee experience by using AI.

Senior Vice President, Employee Well Being and Benefits- Sun Trust

The financial well-being of employees is one of the aspects Sun Trust is paying attention to currently. It aims to create a great experience for their employees. They are doing this in addition to creating new technical roles in people analytics and data science. So, to provide better financial well-being for their employees, a new HR role was created. It oversees the employee financial wellness program set into motion by them.

Conclusion

There are a lot of benefits from the integration of AI in HR. Many of the industry leaders embraced the trend and became early adopters. This allowed them to invest, implement and integrate AI into their day to day functions. The future of work has scope for AI and other integrations into HR, are you ready for it?