By Sandesh Goel
Artificial Intelligence is becoming sharper and its ability to analyze, predict, and diagnose is improving fast. AI is being adopted in most business areas today. Be it in sales, marketing, or HR, everyone’s tech stacks are being infused with AI. In fact, AI technology is one of the most dominant themes among recruiters. AI-based technologies can analyze, predict, and diagnose better to help HR teams make better decisions.
As the head HR professional in any organization, it is imperative that the CHRO understands how technology impacts the entire HR processes in an organization.
Here is a primer for CHROs and the five key things they should know about AI.
- A Boon to Recruitment
Screening resumes efficiently and time-effectively still remains the biggest challenge in talent acquisition. A major selling point for AI has long been how it can automate such repetitive tasks, thereby creating efficiencies for recruiters and hiring managers.
The usual drill is spending hours scanning LinkedIn, posting on job boards, or attending career fairs. Screening resumes efficiently and time-effectively remains the biggest challenge in talent acquisition. A major selling point for AI has long been how it can automate such repetitive tasks, and locates top talent, thereby creating efficiencies for recruiters and hiring managers. This can help ensure that organizations are bringing in candidates in a quick and efficient way. And because here technology, and not a person, is sorting through this data, it will weed out the human biases in the hiring process. The hiring team would only see a person’s skills, not their name, what city they’re from, or where they went to school.
Now, let’s put these ideas together. When HR managers can screen candidates more efficiently, mitigate hiring biases, and more accurately predict someone’s likelihood for success in a given role, they can create a much stronger hiring funnel.
- AI Supports Retention by Recognizing Patterns in Staff Engagement
Just as AI tools can help predict whether someone will be a good fit for a role, they can also predict whether a current employee is likely to leave.
With more data to be analyzed, employers can better understand how employees are feeling about their jobs and better gauge whether or not they intend to stay with the organization. AI enables an employer to identify employee’s areas of dissatisfaction and the underlying causes behind them.
When an organization has clear data on what motivates a person, what they feel dissatisfied with, and what their career aspirations are, the organization can match that person to new internal roles.
Retention is all about giving talented employees an internal next step in their careers. AI can help spot opportunities to do so.
- Task-Based Approaches to Work
Just as the technology can screen candidates more quickly than a person working manually, AI can create similar efficiencies in many other jobs throughout an organization.
This will have huge implications for management. It won’t make sense in such a workplace to manage an employee’s output by measuring tasks completed. Instead, companies will need a new model for measuring and managing work.
In other words, a CHRO must manage their workforce’s capacity to drive value, not complete tasks.
Salaries and other forms of employee compensation will need to reflect the shifting value of tasks all along the organization chart. When some tasks are already done partly by AI, that cost can be cut down and the value workers bring to the remaining tasks increases. Those tasks tend to require grounding in intellectual skill and insight-something AI isn’t as good at as people.
- People Will Need Training to Join an AI-Powered Economy
AI is often spoken of in terms of job disruption. There has been a prevailing mainstream belief that AI tools will replace the labor of people who perform rote tasks.
The reality will be more nuanced than that. As per Brookings Institution research, “skilled” white-collar jobs will be especially vulnerable to AI’s disruptions. Their analysis shows that AI will be a significant factor in the future works lives of relatively well-paid managers, supervisors, and analysts. However, AI may be much less of a factor in the work of most lower-paid service workers.
The implication, then, is many organizations will need to undergo top-to-bottom workforce retraining. That way, they can deploy AI assets for the work that AI is best at, and they can deploy people for the work that people are best at.
This retraining will need to focus on transferable skills, adaptability, critical thinking, compassion, and self-awareness.
- The ‘Human’ in HR Will Be the Key to Success
Core humanist ideas like self-awareness, compassion, and self-discovery are foundational to human greatness, and they will become the focus of work in an AI-powered economy.
That means that CHROs will have to help lead their teams toward self-awareness and self-discovery. Likewise, it will fall on them to ensure that the company’s technologies don’t obscure or impede the humanity of its people.
As technology becomes more embedded into work, its design and use needs to be assessed for fairness and equity. Organizations should consider questions such as whether their applications of technology decrease or increase discriminatory bias; what procedures they have to protect the privacy of worker data; whether technology-made decisions are transparent and explainable; and what policies they have in place to hold humans responsible for those decisions’ outputs.
Here is where the interests of CHROs will overlap with those of the company’s CTO or whoever else is in charge of the company’s technology. They will have to advocate for human-centered decision-making environments so that the compassion, the empathy, the curiosity, and the self-awareness of the workforce can work in tandem with their AI tools.
The role of the CHRO, then, will become increasingly important as artificial intelligence evolves. As rote tasks fall under the purview of the algorithm, the HR team’s essential human traits and their ability to make informed decisions will be what actually drive business value.
(The author is Managing Director at Eightfold.ai India and the views expressed in the article are his own)