(this post originally ran at the Oracle HCM blog)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a workplace mainstay. A growing number of organizations are embracing these new technologies and it is predicted that one in five workers will have AI as an integrated assistant at work by 2022. One aspect of this is the implementation of AI-based tools to reshape the way companies worldwide manage the hiring process and monitor employee well-being.
This shift presents new opportunities, along with new challenges, for HR professionals looking to orchestrate an optimal balance between technology and the workforce. To make the most of this intersection, it’s essential to carefully consider the impact AI can have on HR processes. Allaying concerns that frequently accompany the introduction of advanced technology and understanding how AI actually helps humanize the employee experience will make it more manageable to map out smart strategies for the evolving workplace.
The Potential to Increase Efficiency
Numerous HR functions can be improved with technology, especially tasks related to recruitment and talent acquisition. For example, organizations might opt to use AI for top-of-funnel vetting processes, such as screening candidates. A digital assistant can gather information and ask potential employees a series of questions related to the job requirements. If the candidate’s responses fit the position, a digital assistant can extend an invitation to apply for the job. This screening process frees up time for HR professionals by automatically handling information and volume in a safe and secure environment.
If the company wants to pursue a candidate, using technology to schedule interviews is not only more efficient, but also provides a simple and satisfying experience for the candidate—much easier and more streamlined than sending 15 emails back and forth with a recruiter.
New hires can also benefit from AI tools that provide information about the company’s history, operations, and culture. Technology can also help new-hires socialize by lining up a lunch meeting or coffee chat with coworkers.
The Need for Ongoing Vigilance
Over time, HR systems collect a large quantity of personal information about employees, creating risks and concerns around the disclosure and/or improper use of private information.
Several types of tech-related tools may cause particular concern among the workforce:
- Tracking devices that are worn and constantly monitor an employee’s movement
- Technology that gathers and analyzes data to identify employees who may be considering leaving the organization
- Machine-learning technology with biases that build over time, such as a selection tool that aims to replicate successful hires by using data points but may eventually constrict the selecting criteria to a specific, narrow demographic
When implementing new technology, HR professionals can address potential fears by being upfront and attentive. A strategy that includes vigilance, protective measures, algorithms designed to be unbiased, secure cloud-based solutions, and ongoing evaluation may help alleviate concerns and ensure safety at all levels.
A Chance to Make Work Human
More than one-third of consumers who use social media to voice an opinion about a brand expect a response in fewer than 30 minutes. Employees today tend to seek a similar consumer-driven atmosphere within the workplace. Making use of the available technology for HR functions can enhance and personalize their experience.
For instance, a digital assistant with natural language processing (NLP) could be used to answer common employee questions. Workers could turn to it to answer questions around holiday time-off or to discover specific benefits.
By automating processes, AI can free HR professionals to focus on higher-level activities. With more accurate data and information available, it may become easier to spot opportunities for improvement, growth, and employee well-being. By applying capabilities, such as looking at how employees spend time on a company website, insights could be gathered related to how workers want to be treated or potential issues that can be addressed early on.
AI has the potential to bring more individuals into the workplace: It’s estimated that machines will create 58 million net new jobs by 2022. While this may ease fears of staff reduction, it may also create a shift in the working environment, with some workers needing to be reskilled or repositioned in a company.
HR professionals that embrace technology and acknowledge the benefits it brings can more fully become, as Kurt Vonnegut stated, “a human being, not a human doing.”
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