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AI and human resources: why AI is HR’s best new partner

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Published: 29 May 2024 | by Natasha K. A. Wiebusch, Brightmine Marketing Content Manager

ChatGPT, the most popular generative AI tool on the market, now has about 100 million users every week. Among those are 92% of Fortune 500 companies, according to OpenAI’s latest data.

Beyond generative AI, AI adoption rates aren’t as grand. Overall, a little over half of companies have adopted AI in some form. And most (a little more than two thirds) have adopted AI for only one business function. One of the top functions happens to be human resources…and leading companies are reaping the benefits.

AI and human resources is a partnership for the ages, and HR leaders can’t delay it any longer. To compete in today’s talent market, HR teams need to know how to leverage AI to enhance key HR functions and their strategy. In this article we cover why AI is so important to HR and how you can take your AI partnership to the next level.

Top HR functions for AI

You’ve probably heard these statements before: “AI can do anybody’s job.” “Soon, there won’t be any more jobs for humans to do.” “The only job for humans will be monitoring AI.”

Certainly, AI has the potential to transform practically all industries, but we’re simply not at the “AI takeover” just yet. And this goes for the human resources function.

Today, AI isn’t taking over the HR function or HR positions. However, AI technology is evolving how HR teams get work done. Most importantly, it’s enhancing key HR functions, including the following:

Talent acquisition

AI software for talent acquisition is quickly turning the recruitment process into an AI-driven practice. Specifically, AI can enhance talent acquisition in the following ways:

  • Writing job descriptions. Generative AI tools can write a job description in seconds. Of course, to be on brand, these generated descriptions will need adjusting. Still, the ability to rapidly generate relevant text saves HR departments hours of time.
  • Providing insight into candidate pools. AI tools enhance recruitment analytics by analysing and providing insights on candidate pools. This helps recruitment leaders make adjustments to further improve their recruiting efforts.
  • Analysing and parsing resumes. With machine learning, AI-powered recruitment tools can analyse and parse hundreds of resumes in minutes. Instead of reviewing each resume one-by-one, HR professionals can now review a smaller set of resumes that the AI ranked highest.
  • Evaluating interviews. AI can also evaluate candidate interviews, grading the quality of their responses and analysing facial expressions and voice.

AI HR software that enhances talent acquisition:

  • Chatbots.
  • AI-powered applicant tracking systems (ATS).
  • AI interview analysis software.

Employee engagement

AI technology also improves employee engagement, both directly and indirectly. First, AI-powered people analytics can automate key employee engagement tasks for HR leaders. It can run and analyse employee engagement surveys, answer administrative questions and track important engagement metrics. Intelligent DEI analytics software also supports employee engagement by analysing key metrics and offering recommendations.

AI HR software that enhances employee engagement:

  • Employee engagement platforms or employee experience platforms.
  • Virtual assistants.
  • AI-powered DEI analytics software.

Learning and development

AI allows employers to generate learning content rapidly, which they can then customise to fit the company’s needs. AI also creates hyper-personalised learning experiences that track employee performance and provide feedback in real time. Some AI tools can even provide coaching to employees as they’re working. For example, an AI coach can offer an HR manager feedback on their conversations with employees.

AI HR software that improves learning and development:

  • Learning experience platform.
  • AI coaches.
  • AI assistants.
  • Chatbots.

Performance management

A top priority for managers (and HR) is employee performance. Unfortunately, this can be taxing, not only for the manager, but also for the employee. Employee performance also often suffers from biases, which can decrease employee engagement and harm future performance.

AI is improving performance management by using data to analyse performance objectively. With the assistance of AI-powered performance tools, managers can review employee performance data and recommendations for coaching. AI can also help managers improve their own feedback skills and write performance feedback.

AI HR software that improves performance management:

  • AI coaches.
  • Employee monitoring software.
  • AI-powered project management software.

AI challenges in HR

The AI and human resources partnership has many benefits, but its rapid rise has also created disruption, and therefore, challenges. Common HR challenges related to AI include:

  • Skills gaps. The top challenge organisations are facing in their AI journey is upskilling employees to be able to use AI. Currently, many employees do not have the skills to fully leverage AI in their work. HR must create an upskilling strategy so that employees have tools they need to use and evaluate AI outputs.
  • Oversight and responsible use. AI can also lead to unethical or unsafe use. For example, employees may conduct legal research or input private company information in publicly available AI tools. Unfortunately, this misuse can damage the company, as some AI tools often answer questions incorrectly and don’t have privacy protections.
  • Employee privacy. AI needs data to function, and sometimes this includes employee data. Though sometimes necessary, using employee data can create compliance issues depending on where the employer operates. It can also lead to distrust from employees and disengagement from work.
  • Security. AI tools present novel security issues because they often require sensitive company data to function. To properly use AI, HR must understand what information they can disclose. And, unfortunately, hackers are now using AI to create more effective viruses, phishing scams and other dangerous cybersecurity threats.
  • Project management. AI adoption has proven to be exceedingly difficult for not only HR, but companies in general. In fact, approximately 80% of AI projects fail. Because of AI’s unique needs and role within organisations, employers are struggling to create effective project management strategies.

Maximising AI in HR

To leverage AI as an effective partner, HR must implement best practices and strategies to overcome its challenges. The following are key recommendations for maximising AI in HR:

Bridge the AI skills gap

Employers must upskill their HR teams to be able to use and understand how AI works. This will include training on:

  • The types of AI software available to HR teams.
  • Data and analytics.
  • Cybersecurity and data compliance.
  • Employee compliance information.
  • AI ethics.

Remember that upskilling for AI will be an ongoing process, and it will take some employees more time to get up to speed.

Practice transparency

Many employees fear AI will take their jobs. Because of the level of anxiety surrounding AI and work, it’s important to practice as much transparency as possible. Keeping employees in the loop will help build trust, gain buy-in and encourage participation in the adoption process.

Implement an AI policy

An AI policy provides important practical, compliance and ethical guidance on AI use. It also encourages responsible use by providing employees the information they need to navigate AI in their role.

Create a cross-functional working group

A working group allows stakeholders from across the organisation to have visibility over how the company is using AI. This will encourage buy-in and alignment with the business strategy. It also supports consistency and transparency by providing members important information about AI use.