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How AI is making an impact in HR

You couldn’t turn around at this year’s HR Technology Conference and not bump into another HR vendor showcasing their AI, or artificial intelligence, capabilities. The potential impact of AI in the HR industry for recruitment and talent management is significant, but how quickly are employers adopting the latest tech advancement?

HR uses for AI

Most companies are treading lightly when it comes to AI and looking for practical applications. Current adoption of AI in HR has been selective to date, with it being used for most notably for recruiting and hiring.

AI in recruiting and hiring

The Littler Annual Employer Survey 2018 found that almost half of respondents were using AI for new employee efforts .

The pitch for HR is straightforward: By completing work that was once done exclusively by humans, AI may be able to reduce hiring bias, create a scalable engine for matching candidates to positions, streamline routine workflows for application processing and screening, and generally free up staff to work on other activities.

More specifically, a typical AI-powered program might perform actions such as:

  • Scheduling in-person and video interviews
  • Sourcing and assembling candidate profiles
  • Interacting with applicants via chatbots
  • Analyzing resumes, letters, and attachments
  • Updating candidates on their progress/status

Implemented the right way, AI can potentially make recruitment and talent management fairer, faster, and more cost-effective, while giving applicants a more accessible and personalized experience. Indeed, having AI-enhanced programs on-tap 24/7 is especially useful for avoiding situations in which job applicants feel like they’ve been “ghosted” by employers, meaning left without any indication of what happened to their application.

Google for HR

Building a ‘Google’ for HR

On that note, chatbots, mentioned earlier, can help keep applicants up-to-date by quickly responding to questions at any time of the day. A chatbot leverages AI to perform natural language processing and then formulate and deliver what it deems a relevant response.

These tools are also embeddable into other applications that serve current employees, such as self-service portals for making PTO requests and accessing pay statements. An employee survey by ServiceNow found that 30% of respondents wished they had a Google-like utility for quickly finding accurate information from HR. Chatbots can be an important piece in that puzzle, as they don’t require calling or emailing anyone.

The versatility of chatbots show how the use cases for AI in HR are broader than just recruitment and hiring. In that same Littler survey, smaller numbers of employers reported using HR for augmenting strategic management decisions (31%), analyzing policies (24%), and automating miscellaneous tasks (22%). Looking ahead, we can expect some of these activities and others to involve more extensive use of AI.

AI in compliance: A promising new use case

Compliance also could benefit from in the near future from AI application as well.

For example, AI-based services could assist with self-audits of employer compliance programs to ensure your practices are current and accurate. The scalable analysis possible through AI may also be useful in finding patterns within payroll and tax withholding processes and identifying any errors.

These benefits underscore the overall utility of AI, showing how it might eventually augment or replace multiple existing HR workflows to make them more efficient. Upcoming AI solutions in compliance could also be paired with currently available CIC Plus services for monitoring regulatory changes and maintaining your employer compliance practices and also helping employees access their statements.

Why AI makes sense in HR and what risks still exist

AI as a whole can deliver numerous benefits to today’s employers, but there are still some pitfalls to understand and avoid.

The main advantages of using HR include:

Automation

Repetitive and time-consuming tasks can be offloaded from humans to algorithms. This automation helps during onboarding and when processing common requests, saving considerable time and money. Meanwhile, HR employees benefit by being able to channel their energies toward more strategic work.

Better user experience

From accessing and changing personal information to completing required training, many common employee tasks become easier to complete if AI-enhanced systems are in place. Chatbots, personalized recommendations and content, and text or voice search all have the potential to bring the convenience of consumer computing experiences into the HR domain.

Broader, less biased recruiting

This one’s tricky (as we’ll discuss below), but an AI engine may be configured and trained to avoid some of the biases that humans might introduce into the recruitment and hiring processes in particular. Since AI is highly automated, it can also help HR teams more efficiently screen many more applicants than would be possible by hand.

OK, so those are a few of the benefits of AI in HR. But there are risks that come with them.

Understanding and addressing risks in AI-driven HR

For starters, an AI-driven recruiting process might exclude candidates that don’t fit a narrow profile, which can happen due to poor programming or the use of faulty data. Amazon learned this the hard way when it set up an AI recruitment algorithm that was biased against women.

Plus, since AI is highly automated, such errors can proliferate and cause substantial damage before they’re identified and corrected. AI must be handled with care and in accordance with any applicable regulations and policies.

CIC Plus can help employers navigate these types of changes to their HR and Payroll operations, whether that’s managing forms more effectively or rethinking employee self-service. Reach out to our team to learn more.

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