AI in HR: Friend or Foe? 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is fast becoming a buzzword across business sectors and industries. Business leaders, managers and employees now understand that AI and automation have the power to vastly transform their workplaces and improve productivity and efficiency.

Automation tools can now be applied to virtually every industry and profession. And the human resources sector is not exempt.

Recent reports show that HR workers believe AI offers new opportunities for gaining skills and freeing up valuable time. These benefits enable professionals to expand on their current responsibilities and capabilities, allowing them to take a more strategic approach to human resource management.

However, 81% of HR leaders that responded to a survey forming the basis of Oracle’s AI Work Study admitted that they find it challenging to stay ahead of rapid technological transitions in the workplace. It’s clear that HR professionals need to fully understand how AI is shaping and driving their industry if they want to equip themselves with the tools they need to stay ahead of the game.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using AI in HR. We’ll also delve deeper into the relationship between the two to determine if using new technologies in HR is a recipe for disaster or a match made in heaven.

understanding AI

AI is a technology that enables computers and machines to ‘learn’ from data sets and make or recommend actions based on this learning. It consists of a series of algorithms that continuously process new information and adapt to it in real-time.

AI can be applied to human resource management processes in a range of different ways. It has the ability to simplify and streamline critical processes and boost the efficiency of HR departments. It can also enhance the hiring process by positively influencing the diversity of new hires and reducing biases that often affect recruitment procedures.

The benefits of AI in HR

AI is being widely applied to HR departments across the globe and has benefited many of these departments in key ways. AI has shown benefits in:

Recruitment, hiring, and onboarding.

AI is being used to streamline the job application process by creating user-friendly forms and automatically vetting candidates based on their resume data. It  allows for simpler and more informative applications from candidates, thereby improving rates of application completion. Automation tools are also ideal for candidate rediscovery, and can frequently analyse existing candidate pools to identify those that would best suit new roles as they become open.

AI streamlines the onboarding process by making onboarding materials available to new hires outside of business hours. Additionally, it allows them to access human resource’s support remotely via chatbots and online applications. This allows new hires to tackle onboarding information at their own pace, enabling quicker integration while reducing the HR team’s administrative responsibilities.

staff retention and mobility.

HR teams are using AI to enhance staff retention and reduce turnover rates. AI gives HR professionals access to staff recognition systems and personalised surveys that help them to assess employee satisfaction and engagement with a high degree of accuracy. This, in turn, allows them to understand their employees’ needs and provide the right incentives to retain them in the long term.

task automation.

Administrative tasks in the past were often time-consuming and repetitive. AI’s use in HR can automate repetitive and low-value tasks. This frees HR professionals up to focus on strategic organisational planning. Automation technology can streamline processes like benefit administration, interview scheduling, recruitment screening, and more. Doing so gives HR teams more time and resources to serve their organisations’ employees.

the risks of AI in HR

There are a few risks associated with the use of AI in HR departments. Understanding them allows HR professionals and business leaders to more effectively mitigate them. The core risks include:

restrictions to data quality.

AI systems need quality, unbiased data sets to produce accurate results. Data sets in HR are often narrower than those of other departments and focus mainly on somewhat unpredictable human matters. Therefore, the quality and quantity of data inputs need to be taken into account, along with how to implement AI in a way that encourages clearer decision-making.

costly investments.

AI can be a significant investment, and many HR managers are unsure of whether these tools will provide adequate returns on this investment. AI will not be cost-effective to implement in every organisation, and those with smaller data sets could battle to produce sufficient return on investment.

limited predictability.

Society is extraordinarily diverse and equally unpredictable and complex. Automating HR processes is therefore a tricky topic. Human nature is inherently unstable and so it’s challenging even for machines to predict. Implementing AI could in some cases hinder informed analysis and decision-making processes with machine recommendations based on inherently limited data. The management of a human team is always performed in the context of human sociology and relationships. Fully automating the process separates the process from its context.

so, is AI in hr a friend or foe?

Ultimately, AI has many beneficial applications in human resources. Particularly when it comes to tools that automate administrative tasks that otherwise take up hours, days or even weeks of HR professionals’ valuable time.

AI can streamline and simplify the hiring process, find the most capable candidates for each open role, schedule interviews, hire and onboard employees, and even make key recommendations on how to retain those employees in the long term.

The challenge, however, lies in the strategic, effective, and intentional implementation of these new technologies. HR leaders need to retain their trusted managerial methods and instead use AI as a tool to promote a more futuristic, inclusive, and holistic function of their departments and processes.

AI is not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it is here to stay.

It will be used increasingly in the future to analyse predictive data sets and make recommendations based on the data it has access to. Human resources teams, on the other hand, will need to ensure that their automation tools have access to broad, diverse data sets. These sets must accurately reflect the reality of their human resources landscapes in order to make the best use of AI.

Author: Jerry Zheng – SEO Consultant, Jerry Zheng Consulting

Photo credit: Freepik

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