Business Advice

How AI is putting the human back in HR

- October 31, 2019 4 MIN READ

‘How will new technology impact my job?’. It’s an often asked question of today’s HR teams.   And, while it’s true some jobs will change in terms of roles and responsibilities, people will remain the heart of them.

To succeed in this new era of business, known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, organisations must equip staff with the education and skills required to operate new technologies and processes.

In fact, recent Telsyte findings suggest digital transformation will have a positive impact on the job market in Australia, with 35,000 jobs created in 2019 alone.

Understandably, HR has an important role in the future of work. To provide the workforce with the skills needed for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as well as succeed in the fight for talent, teams require deeper and more frequent insights into the employee experience. For example, how satisfied they are in their current role, how employees rate the on-boarding and recruitment process, and whether they have the tools they need to do their job. These types of insights are known as experience data (X-data).

Artificial intelligence (AI) will provide unprecedented insights into X-data and, by combining it with operational data such as employee tenure, position, and location, HR teams can tailor experiences for the workforce.

Specifically, AI will make businesses more efficient by undertaking and automating tedious and repetitive tasks, freeing up resources for more strategic thinking and superior service delivery. As a result, HR can increase the human element of the services it delivers, from spending more time researching suitable candidates through to providing them with a more personalised and relevant recruitment experience. Similarly, teams can spend time developing engagement initiatives that dramatically improve the employee experience in ways that would not have been possible under previous ways of working.

Here are nine ways AI will make HR more human:

1. Improved recruitment experience

Recruiting and onboarding talent can be largely automated using AI. This includes sourcing resumes, using chatbots to answer routine questions and arranging interviews, and offering an automated feedback process for interviewers and interviewees. When HR team members don’t have to manage these tasks, they can focus more clearly on choosing the right people for the role and business, and providing an exceptional experience throughout the recruitment process.

2. Improve onboarding

The onboarding experience can be a make-or-break factor in how new hires perform, as well as how loyal they are. It’s therefore important to get feedback from those involved in the process at all stages to optimise programs. AI can help process survey responses and identify areas for improvement.

3. Engage employees

HR teams would benefit immensely from knowing exactly how employees perceived the company at any given time. However, constantly surveying employees is time-consuming and leaves little room to implement changes. AI-powered surveys and automatic analysis overcome this issue and let HR teams engage with employees in the moments and spaces that matter. Using the X-data captured, teams can develop more targeted initiatives that are better positioned to achieve strong results.

4. Overcome bias

The unconscious bias of hiring teams can mean that companies inadvertently fail to build the strongest teams; instead they have homogenous groups of like-minded people that rarely challenge each other or the status quo. Algorithms can remove unconscious bias from decisions and put forward candidates that strengthen teams with complementary skills and perspectives. Organisations adopting this approach might end up with a selection of candidates they might not previously have considered, but who can have a big impact on the business.

5. Manage compliance

Identifying compliance gaps in the workforce and ensuring ongoing compliance with industry regulations, occupational health and safety requirements, and more, can range from challenging to practically impossible depending on the size of the workforce and the complexity of the requirements. AI survey tools can gather compliance-related information and subsequent analysis can identify areas for attention.

6. Offer self-service

HR teams often receive the same questions over and over again, ad nauseam. Setting up an AI-powered chatbot to answer these questions can save an enormous amount of time both for the HR team and for the individual needing answers. Rather than email or call the HR department, employees can simply ask the chatbot for the information, with answers sent back instantly.

7. Standardise assessment

Assessing candidates can be an onerous task and, if the decision-making team consists of more than a couple of people, it can affect productivity. Alternatively, companies can ask potential hires to complete a test demonstrating how they approach certain situations. AI tools can turn responses into data points, enabling decision-makers to assess the candidate based on that data.

8. Identify knowledge gaps

When employees feel like they don’t have enough training or knowledge to do their jobs, the company can suffer from poor work performance and even increased absenteeism. Using AI to capture X-data, companies can find out how employees feel about their level of training and knowledge, identify gaps, and then develop ways to bridge those gaps. The result is likely to be happier, more productive, loyal employees.

9. Communicate success

HR teams can use AI to showcase their successes regarding improving the employee experience. AI-powered dashboards can illustrate how the team has identified opportunities to optimise employee experience and then implemented initiatives quickly and cost-effectively. Giving the business a clear view of the value of the HR team is important to gain buy-in for future initiatives.

Businesses adopting AI

Singapore-based airline Scoot has built a modern, sophisticated and agile employee experience program that provides an understanding of the entire employee experience it delivers from pre-hire to exit. Inspired by the real-time insights from its X-data, Scoot can rapidly make organisational changes that design and deliver a superior employee experience, which boosts productivity and satisfaction.

Similarly, Volkswagen Australia is collecting employee insights to drive effective change. By collecting customer and employee feedback on the same platform, Volkswagen Australia is able to closely monitor how customer and employee experiences are intertwined. These insights are automatically delivered to decision-makers so that the organisation can quickly make strategic changes that deliver vastly-improved experiences and loyalty on both sides.

Capitalising on HR’s moment

AI is set to have a positive impact across entire organisations. HR teams have a unique opportunity to lead its adoption, demonstrating how AI benefits individuals and addressing concerns on how it will impact jobs. To capitalise on this moment, HR leaders must work with organisations that help equip their teams with the skills they need to leverage the technology to its full potential, and who assist in identifying the business areas where AI can have the biggest impact.

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