Artificial Intelligence and How it Can Revolutionize Human Resources

You have probably heard about artificial intelligence before. Indeed, it is something that is changing our personal and business lives. This technology is advanced and it can allow a company to run more efficiently. This is particularly true for human resources when it comes to time-consuming and mundane tasks.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Technology plays a big part in our lives and the emergence of advanced artificial intelligence is making this more apparent. Artificial intelligence, which many people referred to as AI, is innovative software that allows a machine to carry out certain tasks that a human can do. The name comes from the fact that a machine can use human-like intelligence in order to perform a variety of operations.

Types of AI 

There are different types of artificial intelligence. For instance, there is machine learning. This means that software can learn from previous experience and perform better next time. This can be beneficial for a lot of businesses and it can improve the efficiency of operations. All AI falls under one of the following categories:

Reactive Machine AI

This type of AI includes machines that operate solely based on the present data, taking into account only the current situation. Reactive AI machines cannot form inferences from the data to evaluate their future actions. They can perform a narrowed range of pre-defined tasks.

Limited Memory AI

Like the name suggests Limited Memory AI, can make informed and improved decisions by studying the past data from its memory. Such an AI has a short-lived or a temporary memory that can be used to store past experiences and hence evaluate future actions.

Theory Of Mind AI

The Theory Of Mind AI is a more advanced type of Artificial Intelligence. This category of machines is speculated to play a major role in psychology. This type of AI will focus mainly on emotional intelligence so that human believes and thoughts can be better comprehended.

Self-Aware AI

This type of AI is a little far fetched given the present circumstances. However, in the future, achieving a stage of superintelligence might be possible.

How Can Artificial Intelligence Help Human Resources?

Artificial intelligence and the technological innovation it can bring to the workplace can have a positive impact on human resources. For instance, think about the process of recruitment. Anybody that works in human resources knows that the recruitment process is long and costly, as well as being boring. It all starts by going through thousands of applications to find the right candidates. Then you have to organize the interviews and train new employees.

But the good news is artificial intelligence can make this process easier and more efficient. Thankfully, there are people that are investing in technology. For example, Tej Kohli of the Tej Kohli Cornea Program is not only helping people regain their eyesight. He is also investing in smart technology and artificial intelligence that can make a difference. This includes those that might help a business. 

So, back to how this technology can help you. Well, artificial intelligence has now created automated resume screeners. This saves someone having to grow through all of the applications by hand. You can simply program it to highlight the candidate you are looking for. This is going to cut down the time it takes to find the right employee. For example, if you are looking for candidates that already have a Bachelor’s degree or another specific qualification, artificial intelligence software can find this and highlight the candidate for an interview.

There are also a lot of mundane tasks in human resources that can be completed by artificial intelligence. This can include a lot of paperwork or data entry. By choosing to have AI, you can take these tasks out of your employee’s hands and allow more time for important tasks. This is going to improve the efficiency of companies, as well as allow employees to get on more pressing matters. Artificial intelligence can even help with training new employees since this is often a burdensome task that can take a lot of time.

Uses for Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources 

Candidate Screening. At present, a number of AI tools exist that can engage the candidate either before or after they apply for a role within an organization. Imagine a world where companies can test candidates by having them interact with a chat box or AI tool, answering common candidate questions about the role while also asking for feedback and information about the candidate. This could help your recruiter to effectively assess the candidate in the quickest and most effective way possible.

Candidate Engagement. Fifty percent of candidates are not receiving any type of communciation or having any type of interaction with an employer once they apply for a role on a career site or job board. Artificial intelligence automates a candidate engagement process that goes beyond standard automated emails or messaging workflows using a Hubspot or Marketo-like systems. Certainly, AI can be integrated into these types of candidate automation, however, these messages, responses and engagements can, with AI, be real-time and unique to the individual candidate and not just driven by a tags, positions, locations or categories.

Re-Engagement. Whether it’s your ATS or CRM, candidate records often go untouched after they apply for the role or after the job requisition is closed. Artificial intelligence allows you to re-engage a very targeted group of candidates to determine their interest level in a position or role, while also using that engagement opportunity to update their candidate record to reflect new positions, work experiences or skills that might have acquired since the last time they were engaged.

Post-Offer Acceptance. Once a candidate accepts a job offer, a gray area exists — normally two weeks from when a candidate gives notice to when they starts working at your organization. AI could fill that gap by engaging and following up with the candidate to increase the acceptance-to-start rates of your candidates.

New Hire Onboarding. While new hire orientation is effective at introducing your new hires to the company culture, processes and policies, artificial intelligence can answer other common questions and provide new hires with information and resources that support your current programs. This is key when you consider 90% of your employees forget what was covered in your meeting, training and conference call. Information and learning reinforcement is key and AI might be the answer.

Career Development. Your employees need support and possibly customized training, learning and career pathing information that a boss or leader can’t always provide. AI offers the ability to scale a career development program or company coaching for each and every employee.

Employee Relations. Employees have questions. Sometimes they are easy ones like questions about benefit coverage, FMLA, vacation time and how they are paid. Sometimes they are more complex and might require an in-depth conversation with your HR manager or coordinator. Artificial intelligence technology can be used in chat form, email or a virtual meeting room, handing over and even booking a meeting between your HR generalist and the employee.

HR Compliance and Case Management. The market is packed with case management software that provides employees with resources and information based on questions they ask. But imagine a world where incidents are documented and employee investigations are submitted through an artificial intelligence tool, asking a series of questions and gathering information for a formal complaint, investigation, or request for information.

Workplace Scheduling. Whether it’s booking interviews or work meetings, spending time to coordinate schedules and availability is an unproductive activity that not only wastes everyone’s time but keeps our email inboxes full and overflowing. Imagine a world where a machine books meetings, schedules and even orders food without you having to do a single thing.

Job Ad and Targeting. Use AI recruiting technology for ad targeting, job advertisement bidding at peak times ensuring that you reach the best qualified candidates at the lowest cost and best times. These are all things I know that every HR leader can get behind especially in this competitive talent landscape.

Job and Skill Matching. This way to using AI is one of my favorites because it helps match employees or candidates to jobs better. However, we can use the tech to match candidates to roles and see around corners in a way that our hiring managers and recruiters can not saving us time and money.

Locating Bias and Workplace Discrimination. Whether it’s conscious or unconscious bias or discrimination, AI can help alert us to potential liabilities that are happening in sourcing candidates, candidates or employees who are protected, or during the interview process. One of my favorite AI tools analyzes the sentiment and language of the interview notifying leaders about potential bias that exists such as candidate interviews that are different for minority groups like interviews for a position like software developer that are shorter or less engaged for women vs. male candidates.

Skill Building. Employees can take control of their career driving their own personal and professional development with a little help from AI making suggestions and recommendations along the way. AI offers the ability to offer your current workforce with suggested skills and experience training based on your organization’s career path taking into consideration your employee’s own interest and experiences.

Employee and Customer Support. Imagine finding ways to answer employee or customer questions quickly and easily using AI. Employees can access resources in real time, 24/7, and in their preferred language.

Culture and Sentiment Analysis. The ability to survey employee groups small or large offering up real-time analysis and suggested next steps is so important in addressing complex employee situations quickly and easily.

Workforce Planning. Access to billions of data putting it to work for you and your HR team from all of your HR technology giving you the most robust and up to date picture on the state or your workforce and workplace. No more following gut feelings but making the most informed data-based decisions in the history of HR.

What AI Offers HR

I feel like the use case for most business leaders on the benefit of AI in human resources is pretty clear. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a handful of my reasons I’m on team AI for HR. HR, while important for organizations is divided into normally administrative and strategic tasks and activities, and I’ve found in my experience that often times the admin tasks get in the way of the real work and benefit that HR can bring to an organization and how they also support the executive leadership team.

Availability 24/7

The ability to access information, data and insights any time you and your team would like is powerful. I’m sure to date myself but I remember the months I awaited for employee annual survey data. With AI you have instant access not just to raw survey data but also trends and predictions data to help you make better decisions in the moment instead of month’s old data from a possible unlimited number of sources.

Automation

AI allows us to automate lower-level and basic activities for HR. These are just as important in terms of driving engagement whether it’s answering employee or candidate questions with an AI chat bot or recommending employee training based on their skill set or experience to assist in your employee development and retention efforts. These are all very important and things that often keep HR leaders bogged down unable to prioritize or focus on more strategic programs that support the organization’s larger mission, vision, and values.

Personalization

AI offers you the ability to create personalized experiences, resources, training, or whatever you want all without having to write copy or create content and do so instantly saving you time, effort, energy, and money. Think about using AI video technology to create a customize video for candidates based on their language skill set, or interest level. We can use these tools to create an experience that sets our organization apart from those who don’t adopt the technology this way.

Real-Time Data

Recently, I attended a conference and heard an HR leader share the use case for AI which with the Great Resignation upon us, was one that we can one hundred percent relate too. That is the increased turnover by the talent in our organizations. With everything we have been dealt with since the beginning of 2020, there are certain to be things that were put on the back burner while we handled and addressed more pressing issues like remote work, vaccination mandates, and workplace COVID testing among other things. The HR executive shared with a small group of seven peers how she was using AI to help with predictive workplace analytics helping her and the team anticipate the turnover of team members BEFORE it happened. Yes, AI can do just that. It can help you predict and forecast likely turnover so that your leadership team can plan for and possibly mitigate the turnover itself.

The challenge is that AI is A LOT to grapple with and it is baked into nearly every piece of HR technology we already likely have, however, I can say we, as HR leaders are not using this tech and tools to it’s full capacity. It’s like having an iPhone but not knowing how to use Siri to read your text messages, book appointments, or even turn on your flashlight with the power of voice. If you didn’t know all these features, they can enhance your own user experience with the iPhone, but most importantly, they are already at your disposal. We just need to gain the awareness, information, and most importantly time to learn about them.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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