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How to apply AI in human resources

In the final blog of her series examining technology’s impact on HR, Bukola Odofin examines the artificial intelligence tools which will change HR teams’ day-to-day activities.

Human resources departments will help drive businesses’ introduction of AI and guide employees through the process.

To take this leading role, HR professionals will need to both understand the workings of new technology and be visible role models when it comes to adoption. If the HR department doesn’t use newly-introduced technology, then they lose leverage when convincing other employees to make the most of AI.

There are numerous AI applications which will change a HR professional’s day-to-day role. Some are already beginning to take effect. Let’s look at  some of the different areas of the industry already being transformed by this new technology:

AI in recruitment

It would be remiss of me to start anywhere other than my own area of expertise. Recruitment is the HR function which has found the greatest initial use of artificial intelligence.

AI is already having an impact for both in-house and agency recruiters by filtering CVs. While it’s always better to have too much interest in a vacancy than none whatsoever, sometimes demand for a role, and the flood of CVs, can overwhelm recruiters. This can make finding the perfect candidate akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.

Machines can now be programmed to analyse CVs and filter candidates who best match the hard skills required for a role. Recruiters can then analyse more human traits - like soft skills and company fit – using an AI-sourced shortlist of candidates.

Using technology can also help to reduce bias in the recruitment process. When screening CVs, AI can be programmed to focus only of certain key aspects. For example, examining only skills will reduce conscious and unconscious bias against other information listed on an application, such as name, gender, age, and education.

However, AI is only as good as its initial coding. There have been cases where human programming has perpetuated bias, rather than eradicated it. HR teams must ensure that any data used to programme machines is as free from bias as possible, otherwise AI will “learn” from that data and continue to implement biased results.

Run-of-the-mill HR queries handled by chatbots

The most common application of artificial intelligence at present is to automate simple, repetitive processes. There’s nothing more simplistic in a HR professional’s role than dealing with administrative queries from employees.

Thankfully, technology is evolving to free HR teams from having to resolve these issues themselves. Organisations can now create and programme chatbots to handle run-of-the-mill HR queries, in areas like payroll or employee benefits.

However, rather than being just a simple Q&A tool, these bots “learn” with each query they receive from employees.  So, HR teams simply need to programme them with an initial set of parameters, and the chatbots continue to learn resolutions to different queries.

Companies who use this functionality most effectively are those who link the chatbots to other HR software. This means that not only can the chatbots “tell” employees how to resolve something, if they are integrated with a company’s HR systems then a bot can fix an issue itself.

Although this type of integration must be carefully managed to respect employees’ data privacy, it demonstrates the potential of AI to save time and free up HR teams to focus on more meaningful work.

Using artificial intelligence to reduce attrition rates

Where AI really outperforms humans is in being able to analyse vast amounts of data and detect patterns at a much faster rate. While there are many potential applications for this type of analysis in human resources, applying the technology to attrition rates would have a huge impact on companies’ retention efforts.

Retention is one of the most difficult elements for any HR department, with employees rarely broadcasting their desire to leave. By analysing data gathered by HR teams, whether through employee surveys, appraisals or other common data points, AI can use advanced pattern recognition to discover the key indicators of employee dissatisfaction.

These insights can be applied to both individual employees and across an entire organisation. HR professionals can then address any concerns an employee may have, long before the point where they consider leaving.

AI will empower HR

These examples barely scratch the surface of the potential applications of artificial intelligence by HR professionals.

As the technology evolves, human resources teams will discover new ways to utilise AI. This will not only assist human resources teams with their day-to-day activities, but leave them with the more challenging, rewarding aspects of their role to focus on.

On that note, there are still many organisations that don’t recognise HR’s importance. So the adoption of artificial intelligence by human resources teams will press HR’s case to be recognised as a key decision-maker.

Seeking talented HR professionals who can manage technological change? Or looking for your next role in human resources? Contact your local Reed HR branch.

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