Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies are taking the HR world by storm. There is a big marketing push to get HR to adopt artificial intelligence software. The argument is simple. Companies have an awful lot of data swimming around during the recruitment process. And even more available from company employee history. What’s more: we’re doing very little with any of it.
Humans aren’t all that good at analyzing large amounts of data. We tend to see patterns where there aren’t any. Infer causation from correlation. And, to be honest, most of us get bored to death by spreadsheets.
Enter AI. You shouldn’t believe all the marketing-speak, of course. But be sure that AI stands to make a big impact in the short-term future of HR. Its most obvious use is to automate repetitive tasks. The ones that take up a large chunk of HR personnel’s time but don’t ask for a great deal of creativity or mental acumen. Sorting, organizing and doing an initial scan of a large amount of resumes comes to mind. Artificial intelligence software can determine the non-fits, reducing the initial recruiting workload. This would the recruiter to spend more time evaluating the better candidates. This kind of filtering is useful. But it hardly scratches the greater capabilities of AI, such as machine-learning.
So far, the idea of Artificial Intelligence software replacing HR is a pipe dream. Evaluating and directing people requires a level of intuition that is still far away from technology’s grasp. Neither is it is as free from human bias as vendors want you to believe. AI still bases its decisions on currently available data. If bias has skewed that data in the past, then AI will be working from poisoned assumptions. Do you want to make the workplace more fair and egalitarian? Maybe you (rightly!) think that it makes business sense for your company to have intellectual diversity? The best path is still through changing people’s’ perceptions and attitudes. Handing free reign over to the robot overlords won’t solve it for us.
But that’s not to say that we can’t use AI to augment our process in some very meaningful, and time-saving ways. Let’s take interview scheduling as an example. Booking interviews means an HR person has to spend time coordinating schedules. And that’s without mentioning the inbox overload that comes with it. The time and attention cost increases as more people get involved. Currently, the best solution is to delegate the task to virtual assistants. That’s still manpower, and with a rising cost associated to it. Now imagine that you have an AI assistant that has full access to everyone’s calendars. It can coordinate them without flaw, and without you having to do a single thing.
Let’s take this a step further. Have you noticed how modern web-based chat bots handle common customer questions? We’ll start seeing the same systems applied to employee on-boarding. We’ve figured out that the first 7 days of a new employee in the company are the most crucial. So, we’ve devoted a good amount of brainpower to come up with the perfect way to onboard remote employees. A great deal of this is about human establishing connection. But an AI assistant could be used to offload the most information-heavy components.
Imagine this: a new employee comes on board. As soon as they log into the system, the AI sends them a list of all the communication and project management tools used by the group. It could even, after a set of basic inputs, handle account creation and setup. The AI assistant could even help with career development. Employees often need support and specific training that a boss won’t always be there to provide. AI would manage a career development program tailored to each specific individual. It would base it on their recorded characteristics and level of experience. And take into account their desired goals and predicted trajectory inside the company.
So AI isn’t at the level where it can replace us Maybe it never will be. But we are already at a point where, with currently available AI, we can free ourselves from busywork. And that allows us to use our time on what matters: nurturing, cultivating, and working with talent.