Do you still think of a humanoid robot when you hear the term “artificial intelligence?”
Even though the term may conjure images from sci-fi movies, the fact is that computer scientists have built AI into a broad scope of tech functions that many of us already use everyday.
For example, your smartspeaker or smartphone’s digital assistant (such as Alexa or Siri) is likely considered artificially intelligent, and so are the chatbots that you’ve come across on many consumer websites.
Human Resources is a sector that may be able to benefit significantly from new AI applications and technology. That’s because HR professionals often need to sift through large amounts of data to look for patterns that will help them do things like find the best job candidates and make sure employees are getting the help and resources they need.
AI tools won’t replace the need for a human resources team at your office, but they could make HR pros’ jobs much easier and their efforts much more effective.
Here’s more about AI in HR, and its potential influence in the workplace.
What is Artificial Intelligence, Actually?
The field of artificial intelligence aims to enable computers to think and “act” more like humans, or to do work that usually requires a human.
Sometimes, the term “AI” is used to describe a program that simply specializes in one task using regular programming rules, and does it so well that the result can seem human-like. However, other AI programs can actually “learn” by taking in new data and adjusting how they operate as a result of that data.
This piece from Built In does a great job breaking down the concept of how software programs can learn:
“Machine learning feeds a computer data and uses statistical techniques to help it ‘learn’ how to get progressively better at a task, without having been specifically programmed for that task, eliminating the need for millions of lines of written code.”
Beyond what’s called “machine learning,” there’s another level of learning called “deep learning” in which machines mimic a “biologically inspired neural network architecture” and can run data through “a number of hidden layers” that make for even more insights.
Regardless of what techniques a machine with artificial intelligence uses to achieve a human-like result, we hope that it will result in increasingly helpful tools for HR professionals.
Where AI in HR Will Make an Impact in The Workplace
The following are just a few of the areas in human resources that could potentially benefit from software programs that can leverage the power of human-like decision making:
Recruiting: AI software may be able to scan social media profiles to identify potential candidates and interact with potential employees when they do express interest. This can allow companies to assess a broader scope of candidates than they might if they were looking manually, and it may also help make sure that great job candidates don’t slip through the cracks if they don’t get the attention they were expecting when they do reach out to your organization.
Hiring and Advancement: AI software may be able to scan large stacks of employee applications and resumes to find the right match of skills for a given position, or may be able to match existing employees’ compatibility with open positions internally. Using software can remove any potential unconscious bias from the hiring and advancement process.
Onboarding: AI software can digitally take newly-hired employees through the steps of enrolling in benefits, agreeing to policies, creating accounts for internal software tools, and training them on key workplace skills. This can be especially valuable if your human resources team is limited (or you don’t have a human resources team at all), or, like many companies, your hiring needs come in waves that can overwhelm the HR department.
Day-to-day employee support: The same kind of chatbots that answer questions about products and services on consumer websites may be able to help employees look up company policy information. And employees may be able to use the same technology that allows people to add reminders and appointments to your calendars via voice command to do things like submit time-off requests.
On-the-job education: AI software may be able to sense when employees are ready to learn certain skills, or take them through the steps to learn specialized equipment as they need to. They may also be able to suggest training and education resources that are tailored to employees’ learning styles, roles, and schedules.
Assessing employee morale: AI software may be able to sense, either through surveys or language analysis, when employees as a whole are feeling frustrated or unhappy at work.
The Benefits of Using Unbiased Technology
When people think about removing bias from the workplace, they often think about hiring, firing, and advancement, all of which we’ve already mentioned could benefit from technology.
But there’s potential for bias in almost every aspect of how managers deal with your employees.
They may prioritize their favorite employees’ vacation requests, for example, or pay more attention to some newly hired employees more than others.
As we’ve mentioned, this kind of bias is often unconscious bias that is unintentional, and it doesn’t always happen against minority groups. However, small details can quickly add up in potential discrimination cases.
Plus, even the bias that’s well-intentioned or technically legal can do serious damage to company culture and morale.
Using software to guide your HR teams actions in each of these areas leaves a helpful trail of records that can support any potential legal cases.
Well beyond avoiding lawsuits, though, software can provide the kind of data and reports that make it much easier for leaders to hold themselves accountable for meeting their diversity and inclusion goals.
Technology Doesn’t Work Without People
As Seth Earley writes in “The Future of AI Powered HR,” AI solutions can’t swoop in and magically fix all HR problems or roadblocks.
In order for these tools to work well, organizational and HR leaders need to spend time clarifying problems in their processes and getting feedback from the rest of their colleagues about what those problems are. Be as specific as possible as you describe your business challenges.
As Earley sums up this way: “If humans can’t figure it out, AI will not be able to add value.”
Our Civil Treatment Workplace program addresses the workplace as a whole, addressing issues related to harassment prevention, bias prevention, and prevention of other bad behaviors (bullying, rudeness, and more) in a comprehensive way. We pay special attention to the role leaders play in setting an example of organizational values in action.
We also offer our programs completely virtually, using the latest technology to make programs very interactive and hands-on.
Please contact us to learn more, and someone from our team will be in touch soon.