A recent survey of executives across industries conducted by PwC found that 72% of them believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will provide a significant business advantage in near future. Further, 38% were already using AI at their workplace and 62% were planning to use it in new areas by 2018. IBM surveyed HR executives to understand the impact on the domain and found that 46% of the executives believe AI will transform the talent acquisition capabilities and 49% believe it will transform the payroll and benefits administration.
While the jury is still out on whether AI will replace HR professionals, here are 6 ways in which it is already augmenting the human capabilities.
Reduce human bias in candidate screening
Human bias plays a hidden role in many of the decisions taken during the recruitment process. Subconscious stereotypes that we have developed based on gender, ethnicity, body-type etc. affect human decision making. But it is possible to program AI to ignore such factors. For example, Google developed qDroid in 2015 to provide screener with questions based purely on the role being hired for, ignoring the candidate background completely. Google’s head of HR says that this provides them with a “reliable basis for sifting the superb candidates from the merely great”. That is not all, many companies are turning to chatbots to conduct “blind” assessment of the candidates so as to avoid human bias. Further, Textio provides tools to edit CEO recruitment posting in a manner that avoids all human bias making the posting appeal to a wider range of candidates.
Improve candidate assessment
Selecting that perfect candidate from a pool of many promising ones is the biggest challenge any recruiter faces. AI is playing a significant role in this by automating many hiring processes and providing the HR with data and metrics that make their job easier. For example, HireVue’s software can turn a 15-minute video interview into 20,000 data points n facial movements, intonation, and word choice that make candidate assessment more fact-based than feeling based. AI augments human decision maker’s ability allowing him to make decisions quicker and in a more efficient manner. Such assessment plays an important role when recruiting for high impact positions including CEO recruitment.
Streamline new hire onboarding
Smartphones have brought virtual assistants to most of us. Similar virtual assistants are now primed to free up HR professionals from more mundane tasks on new hire onboarding. These assistants step in to answer questions about policy, salaries, etc that the fresh recruits have. It also augments the new hire orientation programs that a company may already have in place. Considering how much of the information shared in the onboarding meets and conference calls is forgotten, a handy assistant will help the employees exactly when they need that information. HR consultancies in Mumbai that we spoke to confirmed that uneven onboarding processes can reduce new candidate engagement prompting them to look for a change during the first month itself.
While case management tools are dime-a-dozen at the moment, AI’s role in improving compliance goes much deeper. No human can be as efficient at collecting and compiling data quickly as AI. Shifting the job of documenting and filing case details and enforcing compliance to AI would free up mid to high-level HR professionals to focus on more productive tasks and give them time to personally interact with the employees instead.
Augment corporate training
AI is playing an increasingly important role in corporate training and coaching. All leaders understand the importance of 360-degree feedback. But the sheer amount of data that it generates makes it difficult to draw insights from it. This is where AI pitches in and provides actionable insights in real-time based on its analysis of said feedback. While AI can never replace good leaders, it can augment them in the areas they are less proficient in. Hirevue has developed AI tools to automate the process of employee coaching, improving the quality of coaching while simultaneously reducing the amount of work HR teams have to put in. HR consultancies in Mumbai that we spoke to said that most of their clients are looking at AI tools that could help coach their managers on a daily basis, rather than hire trained coaches.
Improve relationships with existing employees
HR professionals are inundated with employees’ queries. Many of these can be answered using AI. Simply by programming automated replies to common questions, the workload for HR departments can be reduced manifold. Freeing up HR to answer more complex questions and engage more efficiently with the current employees. Further, virtual personal assistants can step-in to automate the process of scheduling meetings.