How will AI impact HR?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already made strides in transforming Human Resources through automation, data-driven decision making, recruitment and more. Albeit, how is AI predicted to impact HR in the future?

Overview of AI

Artificial Intelligence refers to the advancement of computer systems that ultimately enables them to perform tasks that usually require human intelligence. A common example of this would be Siri and Alexa, driverless trains and cars, even Netflix and the things it recommends for you to watch.

However, it is important to note that there are various forms of artificial intelligence, including:

  • Reactive machines: which cannot form or store memories and can only react to current situations. For example, a robot that plays chess.
  • Limited memory: these machines derive knowledge from past experience, information, events, and stored data. They combine their observational and pre-learned knowledge. For example, an autonomous vehicle.
  • Theory of mind: whereby a machine has the decision-making ability equal to that of a human. For example, a robot that can interpret and mimic human emotion.
  • Self-awareness: this is when a machine has human-level consciousness – which does not currently exist.

Technology has come a long way in the last 100 years, however, the development that will take place over the next century will be much faster and far more ground-breaking.

We have only touched the surface of the possibilities of AI and can’t comprehend the potential impact it will have on the future.

As of today, recruitment and talent acquisition are the areas in which artificial intelligence has had the most impact. We’ve seen programs that neutralise CVs by eliminating all gender, race and class predispositions. We’ve seen technology that removes gender favoured wording. And we’ve seen algorithms that can suggest which candidate may be more suitable than another.

If you’d like to read more about how technology has impacted HR so far, read our earlier article here: https://www.williams-kent.com/blog-technology-influenced-impacted-hr/

However, with that being said, how do we believe artificial intelligence will affect human resources in the future?

Artificial Intelligence in interviews

Artificial intelligence is already being used during interviews. Unilever has recently adopted technology that enables them to analyse, monitor and study candidate’s language, facial expressions and tone of voice, in an interview. Each candidate is asked the same question and their responses are recorded. The algorithm then determines the most suitable applicants based on their ‘facial and linguistic responses’, which is compared against successful candidates’ responses.

In the future, this could eliminate the need for a human in the first interview stage. If a robot can listen, analyse and benchmark each candidate’s verbal and nonverbal feedback, just as well as a human. This could, therefore, free up HR for more in-depth, high-level thinking tasks.

Learning and Development

Every employee is different and at various levels, therefore they have varying learning needs. If the same machine learning algorithms that analyse people’s preferences and behaviour, that are used by Netflix or Amazon, can be made to analyse employees learning styles and knowledge gaps – learning and development would be more streamlined. This would not only assist existing employees but also new starters in terms of onboarding and upskilling when beginning a new role.

People Analytics

AI should be able to analyse the current state of the business and use that data to predict future workplace trends such as employee engagement, training needs, retention issues, and future turnover. For example, there are already AI platforms that can monitor employee behaviour and predict if they are likely to leave the organisation. Another example of the possible advancement of people analytics is employers being able to monitor employees’ moods, attitudes towards work, and their relationships with their colleagues, to make inferences about engagement via the use of sentiment analysis.

This will enable organisations to have access to an accurate and fairly instantaneous assessment of the current state of the business, which will enable them to identify trends and make business-critical decisions a lot quicker.

Employee and Candidate Experience

Already chatbots are being used to answer employee queries. In the future, as chatbots become more developed and tailored, organisations will be able to implement them across the board. This will reduce the time HR spends answering the same questions, enable employees to track their more complex queries and could help reduce issues. The system would be able to notify HR when multiple similar questions are being asked, which could highlight a potential issue before it becomes widespread. For example, if timesheets aren’t being logged properly and three people query it, it would alert HR that there is a potential issue which they can then fix.

Bots could also be used to schedule meetings, interviews and performance reviews, which can often be a painfully ‘admin heavy’ task – which would improve the overall employee experience.

Additionally, artificial intelligence could also be utilised to improve the candidate experience. Algorithms could be engaging with talent during hiring periods so that if the ideal candidate is available, the company is notified. AI could also automatically send invites, emails and status reports to candidates who are in the recruitment process to ensure they are kept up to date.

Ultimately, there are endless possibilities regarding how artifical intelligence could affect human resources. Many of which we simply cannot imagine. Although one thing we can be sure of, is that artifical intelligence will continue to disrupt and shape the HR function.

Author: Melanie Beckham


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