Can AI and HR work together?

human vs | Can AI and HR work together?
By Anthony Wolny | 19th July 2023 | 6 min read

The year is 2030. The robot uprising has begun. No humans have jobs. Society has fallen, scattering humanity into the shadows. Those of us who remain forage for scraps while longing for a simpler, pre-technology world.

A bit radical? Probably. So, what’s a more realistic view of AI and its implications for the workplace? More specifically, how can AI fit into a people-focused profession like HR?

It’s a fact that Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the world of work, and HR is no exception; AI is already being experimented with, and its potential to impact functions such as HR is enormous.

How is AI already being used in HR?

Tech-savvy HR individuals might be tinkering with generative AI to automate mundane tasks, but at software companies like IRIS, our teams are also constantly thinking about what sort of AI functionality they can add to their products.

For example, with our IRIS Networx recruitment product, we are currently testing a new job description builder using generative AI.

Simply input the basic information for a role, such as job title, salary, location and company benefits.

 AI then takes this information and searches the web for similar job listings, building a full job ad based on what is being used in the industry.

This is the first of many new features made possible through generative AI.

Of course, human intervention is still needed to ensure the information is suitable and correct.

But the aim is to remove the bulk of manual effort from tasks, enabling HR professionals to focus on their people.

According to the CIPD, AI has the potential to automate tasks, provide insights and deliver personalised services, freeing up HR professionals to focus on more strategic and value-added activities.

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What does the future hold for AI in HR?

As the hype around AI reaches its pinnacle, many professionals worry about what it means for their future job security.

In HR, like most industries, the human touch provided can never truly be replaced.

Instead, we expect AI to act as an efficiency tool.

Areas in HR which could see huge benefits are performance management, learning & development (L&D) and employee engagement.

Each of these areas share a similar benefit from AI: efficiency gains which enable HR professionals and managers to offer a better and more strategic experience.

As AI can analyse large quantities of data, the potential to identify trends – both positive and negative – enhances, so data-driven decisions can be made with ease.

Strategic usage for AI

When it comes to professional development, for example, an employee could input their dream job, and AI could, in theory, look at their experience/skills and suggest what steps are required to get there.

But where it gets exciting is in addition to advising how to reach a certain goal, AI could also recommend alternative job paths, perhaps outside their current profession, broadening potential prospects.

In this scenario, AI could suggest branching into a different department, extracting use cases from the business and finding potential mentors to help with the transition.

Another case for strategic AI usage is to locate signs of disengagement, burnout and low morale, helping resolve workplace issues far quicker.

While a manager may notice individual warning signs, AI can look at the wider scope of data, flagging reasons for concern.

Perhaps an employee is not meeting objectives, regularly calling in sick on Fridays, not attending meetings, using concerning language in catch-ups, etc.

AI can correlate all these factors in real-time, alerting HR and managers so timely action can be taken (an invaluable tool when you consider the huge rise in recent employee trends).

Tactical usage for AI

As for more tactical uses for AI in HR, we could see chatbots introduced as a means to reduce the number of basic queries coming into HR.

Rather than HR being inundated with questions such as: when is payday? How do I book annual leave? Where can I find the benefits policies?

The chatbot would provide answers, and if a question was more complex, it can be escalated to a person. 

How does AI believe it can help HR?

Where better to turn to for a glimpse into the role of AI in HR than artificial intelligence itself?

We asked a chatbot: How can AI support HR?

Here are AI’s answers:

  • AI can automate many of the tasks involved in HR, such as payroll, benefits administration and recruiting
  • AI can analyse large amounts of data to identify patterns and trends
  • AI can be used to personalize employee experiences, such as onboarding and benefits
  • AI can help to reduce bias in HR decisions

The ever-evolving world of HR technology

HR technology has rapidly evolved over the last few years, and with the surge in AI, we expect no signs of it slowing down.

Change is inevitable, so it’s always best to evolve and embrace rather than fear, and what we’re seeing with AI is no different.

Think of the future capabilities of AI as an opportunity and a tool rather than a threat.

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