AI study finds HR doesn’t understand AI’s full potential

Brightmine resources graphic
  • 80% of organisations have so far neglected to provide employees with any AI training
  • Less than four in 10 (35%) HR departments have been involved in discussions with senior leadership about adoption of AI technologies.

The latest AI study from Brightmine (formerly XpertHR) spotlights a worrying lack of understanding among HR professionals when it comes to AI. According to the study, only one in three (32%) department employees have grasped AI’s full potential.

The study also found that a staggering 80% of organisations have not provided any AI training, suggesting inadequate education is to blame for the lack of awareness. It also signals the likelihood that skills gaps will continue to hold HR professionals back.

Scott Walker, CEO at Brightmine, said: “The lack of awareness among HR employees is alarming but understandable. Generative AI has had a meteoric rise and there are huge amounts of noise surrounding it, but there is still a lot of demystification needed not just among HR professionals but across senior leadership teams. Take AI which has the capacity to augment decisions and enhance efficiency within the HR department, there is a real danger if the knowledge isn’t there, HR will not be able to make full use of the benefits of this technology.”

The future of AI in HR is still bright

Despite a perceived lack of understanding, HR employees still recognise where AI could add value to their department, with administrative or repetitive tasks (74%), and data and analytics (59%) pegged as the areas where AI will be most useful.

Approximately one-fifth (20%) of HR’s time is spent on administrative tasks, and a further 5% is spent on collecting or analysis of HR data, meaning there is an opportunity for AI to significantly reduce the time spent in these areas.

The need for HR leadership

However, in order to realise this, employers need to implement this technology successfully, with HR taking a leading role. But currently, HR are not even getting a chance to fulfil this role, with only around a third (35%) of HR departments being directly involved in discussions with senior leadership about adoption of AI technologies. Nearly a quarter (24%) reported that these discussions have not involved HR at all.

Scott Walker continues: “Not only is technology changing the way organisations operate, but technology is also impacting every phase of the employment lifecycle, generating demands for new skills and impacting the way people work.

“As agents of change, HR leaders should be actively shaping and driving the transformation agenda. It is vital that HR teams develop capabilities in digital fluency and data literacy to take advantage of technology to increase efficiency and unlock business value to help their organisations stay relevant and profitable.”

AI Assist is an AI-powered chat solution that leverages Generative AI to provide HR professionals with instant access to Brightmine trusted, expert-curated content to provide quick and accurate answers to their most challenging HR questions. Part of RELX, a global data and analytics leader, Brightmine has harnessed AI for nearly a decade across its full product portfolio.

Other AI study insights

  • Barriers to AI adoption: The most common barrier reported was a lack of understanding about AI, reported by close to three-quarters (70%) of organisations. Other barriers included skills shortages (50%), lack of investment (44%), and ethical or data protection concerns (43%).
  • AI goals: The top three AI goals for HR departments are to improve the employee experience (23%), save employee time (18%), and reduce workload (18%).
  • Concerns with AI: Around one-third of HR employees (30%) are concerned about the impact of AI on job security and headcount levels.
  • Utilisation of AI tools: 30% of respondents stated that their organisation has not had conversations around AI, or do not plan to implement any AI solutions.