10 ways AI can make human resources more human

Written by Ian McVey on 11 March 2019 in Features
Features

We take a temporary diversion into human resources - Ian McVey makes the case for AI in HR.

Reading time: 5 minutes.

At a first glance, artificial intelligence (AI) and Human Resources (HR) seem to be poles apart. After all, how could an essential business element that includes the word human in its name use technology that’s artificial? But what do the people who actually work in the industry think?

According to Forbes, many HR professionals see AI as taking away the admin-heavy aspect of their jobs while letting the humans do what they do best.

By taking a closer look, it becomes clear that AI has the potential to transform the HR profession into a business function that focuses on the experience of prospective, new and current employees, rather than performing mundane, time-consuming and repetitive tasks.

As such, HR as an industry is in a prime position to ensure humans are at the centre of AI’s progress in the business world. Here are 10 examples of what this technology can help HR teams achieve:

Solving people problems, not filing paperwork

Recruitment is a particularly resource-intensive area where AI can help save valuable time and free HR professionals from the more repetitive aspects of their work.

AI has the potential to transform the HR profession into a business function that focuses on the experience of prospective, new and current employees, rather than performing mundane, time-consuming and repetitive tasks. 

For example, algorithms can be used to find the best CVs, chatbots can be implemented to deal with FAQs from candidates, interviews can be scheduled automatically, and automated feedback processes can be set up for potential candidates.

All of these processes are examples of where manual, repetitive tasks take HR professionals away from the more human-facing elements of the job where they can excel. 

Onboard new staff more effectively by asking the right questions

People are twice as likely to recommend a company to their friends and family if the onboarding experience is positive. In contrast, only one in four companies in Europe ask candidates for feedback before they’ve been hired, usually due to a lack of time.

With AI, however, companies can process survey responses more quickly than any one individual would be able to manually. This allows HR teams to identify where the onboarding experience is getting things right, and areas where it can be improved.

Keep employees engaged and happy

Knowing how a business’s current employees feel and what they think should be the goal of any HR professional. However, due to time constraints and in some cases, where there are hundreds or even thousands of employees, this is not always possible. 

By implementing AI-powered surveys and automatic statistical analysis, however, businesses can achieve almost constant engagement with employees by listening to them, finding hidden insights and then acting on them.

 

While this may feel like overkill, and every company is different, in the latest State of Play report into employee engagement, over half of respondents wanted to be surveyed at least once every six months.

quickly than any one individual would be able to manually.

Create a better shortlist of potential candidates

For recruiters, there is a huge amount of content that must be considered when assessing a potential candidate. From their CV and covering letter, to their LinkedIn page and other social media accounts, it’s a huge, time-consuming task.

By using AI, this process can be made not only quicker, but more efficient. By allowing an algorithm to choose the ten best applications, or a chatbot to contact potential candidates and gather more information, HR professionals can focus on more important tasks.

Remove bias in the hiring process

One of the biggest issues in recruitment is human bias, unconscious or otherwise. It often leads to companies hiring the same types of people, with the same skill set, and, more dangerously, often of the same race, education, gender and sexuality.

This means that workplaces are not diversifying as they should, and the potential ideas that would come from a more differentiated workforce are not being realised. While we can’t programme humans to be unbiased, algorithms can be set up to assess potential candidates by their skills and suitability for the role alone.

Stay compliant and spot potential issues

For companies in healthcare and financial services in particular, making sure their employees are compliant is a key concern. Surveying people constantly and uncovering hidden gaps in this area is almost impossible. AI-powered HR tools, however, allow businesses to gather an appropriate amount of information, process it and target the areas that need focusing on most.

Stop answering the same question again and again

For HR teams, there are certain questions that come up repeatedly: What day do I get paid? How much holiday do I get? Can I take the morning off for a dentist appointment?



While teams may get these questions regularly and give a ‘robotic’ answer, the truth is this is another aspect of HR which can be automated. By implementing a chatbot to answer these questions instead, staff could receive an answer more quickly, thus making employees happier.

At the same time, the HR team member is free to actually set and review policies, rather than churning out information…like a robot.

Speed up and standardise candidate assessment

AI can also be used to speed up how candidates are assessed and then share those findings with a wider group of decision makers. For example, candidates could be asked to record a short video explaining why they’d be a good fit for the role, and AI could then be used to record data points on things like their intonation, choice of words and mannerisms.

This would enable a wider group of people to assess the candidate at the same time, as they’re not having to review the video individually.

Identify knowledge gaps in companies

HR teams are used to dealing with people. By using this privileged position to get these individuals ‘on side’, employees’ issues and concerns can be identified.

In the State of Play survey, having the right level of training to do the job was identified as one of the key drivers behind an employee’s desire to go to work. In this way, AI can be used to survey employees on their skills, identify gaps, and share insights with colleagues to drive up employee engagement and satisfaction.

Shout about successes

The HR department is increasingly focused on improving employee experience, and HR teams can use AI-powered insights and dashboards to demonstrate their success to senior decision makers. For example, it’s possible to showcase how opportunities to optimise employee experience have been identified, as well as the steps taken to implement them quickly and cost-effectively.

 

About the author

Ian McVey is enterprise lead for Northern Europe at Qualtrics.

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