The Big Question – Can AI Outsmart Humanity from HR?

Artificial Intelligence or AI as we call it, is no more the future, but the crude present that has already started transforming lives. With the growing dependence of humans on artificial intelligence, it won’t be wrong to foresee the loss of human factor from several fields in future enterprises. However, that’s not the end of the story!!

While AI is making an impact in several varied sectors, one sector feeling especially overwhelmed is the people-centric sector – Human Resource (HR). In fact, machine learning and predictive algorithms are fast emerging as a dependable, reliable and accelerated tool for identifying the best candidates from an overwhelming candidate pool. A major reason for this growing dependency on the evolving intelligence of human-made machines is the fact that, AI can be used for handling a major chunk of the HR procedures like:

Screening & Recruitment – Screening of thousands of applications can be an overwhelming and highly monotonous work for HR professionals. At such times, an AI tool can simplify the work by commencing the first line of screening through engagement with candidates before and after they apply for a job position. This can include designing an AI algorithm that asks most relevant and commonly asked questions about the role to candidates, thereby helping HRs assess and shortlist the candidates for the next level of screening. With most of the laborious work being handled by the AI tool, this approach can accelerate the vetting process helping HRs find the most appropriate fit for a position at the earliest.

Candidate Engagement & Re-engagement – With most major companies depending on job/career portals for receiving applications, it takes a while before a productive communication can occur between applicant and HR. This often leaves the applicant clueless of the status of their application leading to impatience and loss of interest. An AI tool can prove useful here for sending out automated emails and messages that instigate human conversations with candidates for a personalized experience while reducing the dependence on actual humans.

Often times, the unsolicited applications lose their way in old files and folders once the position is closed. AI tools can however pave the way for re-engagement with such rejected applicants by updating individual records for reconsideration, saving HRs a considerable amount of time and efforts otherwise needed to make a fresh start.

Employee Onboarding – Considering the fact that 90% of the employees forget the information shared with them during the first meeting or conference call, a more impactful orientation of the new hire becomes a necessity. AI could be the solution to this by providing employees with a more interactive orientation of company culture, values, policies and expectations, giving an experience that would remain imbibed in their minds for a longer duration of time.

Employee Training & Development For employees to grow and develop in sync with the vision and expectations of the company, there is a constant need to provide them with the necessary tailored trainings. Most often, bosses and team leads are pre-occupied to deliver this kind of training to employees, developing a communication gap between expectations and employee performance. AI can help fill in this gap by providing each employee with the desired career development programs and trainings by taking up the role of a mentor.

Employee Relationship Management – The key to a productive company culture and growth ratio is transparency and easy flow of communication between employees and management. Often time, employees seek answers to common queries relating to policies and benefits that remain unanswered and unresolved, creating a sense of mistrust in the minds of employees. AI can be processed to serve as a virtual chat room for answering such common questions and for passing only the complex queries for HR intervention.

Employee Retention – As employees begin to acquire greater skill sets and start growing in experience as well as hierarchy, they become valuable assets for the company but are also the ones potentially looking to move to greener pastures. Retaining such promising employees with invaluable experience can be a tough job for HR.

There are several AI-based solutions available that can accurately detect such potential employees looking to shift jobs. This also makes it easier for the company employing them to adjudge if it would be in best interest to retain and promote the leaving employee or look for a replacement, knowing pretty well that the leaving employee would skip the offer.

Performance Management – There is a constant debate on favoritism when it comes to performance management. AI can help eliminate such manual and controversial assessment of people’s performance by making assessments and recommendation on the basis of factual data instead of gut feelings and emotional preferences. Thus, AI can help managers and HRs big time in making more informed and less biased performance-based decisions.

Analytics – AI can be used as a powerful tool for surfacing company as well as team-specific predictions made on the basis of data including employee performance reports, employee feedbacks, engagement levels, retention rate, etc. Such predictions and analytics can in turn be used to identify and segregate the most promising group of employees from those at risk of turnover. This kind of predictive intelligence can also help HRs to be more strategic and proactive in investing their efforts on the right group of employees and in planning tailored programs.

The power of predictive intelligence can also be used to suggest instant and impactful solutions to predicted and pre-identified problems that may otherwise take longer to resolve.

Compliance – With the growing concerns on compliance management faced by most major companies, it’s not enough to set up large audit teams to review every piece of information for making instant decisions. The need is to accelerate the compliance violation detection process by helping teams break through the “rudimentary checks” and proactively detect compliance violations.

AI can dramatically improve and accelerate this violation detection process by automating the process of human review, assessment and decision making. With few strategic algorithms, AI has the power to improve the effectiveness of compliance management while reducing overhead costs and maintaining operational efficiency.

Thus, there are plenty of ways in which AI-based solutions can help HR procedures like recruitment, onboarding, engagement, retention, etc. These solutions considerably reduce and refine the recruiting processes and increase the chance for an employee to have a happier and satisfactory career with the company.

However, one cannot overlook the fact that a machine can do only things that it has been programmed to do and thus, the results can often be biased. The recruiting software usually depend on keyword matching and so for instance, it has been programmed to consider only resumes with XYZ skills for a particular job and a resume contains synonymous skills, the software might simply skip it!

Moreover, the software is programmed around a passive approach to recruit only candidates looking for a new job or job change. A human recruiter however has the power and ability to convince even those qualified professionals who may not really be looking for a job change.

Further on, imperfect and inaccurate algorithms can often lead to faulty data that in turn can lead to biased decisions, especially when it comes to performance management. Also, not every employee is welcome to the intrusiveness of a machine assessing their performance rather than a human. This also mirrors the inability of HR to handle issues that need a more human involvement, creating mistrust and miscommunication amongst employees.

One of the most important things though that can never be automated and replaced by Artificial Intelligence is “Empathy” that forms the essence of HR or Human Resource. Thus, while allowing a machine to automate the processes of HR, there is a need to exercise caution on “How” and “Which” processes need to be automated. There may be processes in HR that require a more “Human Touch” than just the “Binary Touch” of artificial intelligence!!

Thus, in spite of the gravitating speculations on Artificial Intelligence robbing people off their jobs and removing the human factor from HR, the truth is that, a strategized application of AI can help draw only the necessary assistance from AI while continuing to maintain the essence of HR, especially in areas where human intervention is a must.

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