To address the most pertinent question of the society today – will AI affect our jobs, we must look towards those who hire people in companies – the HR folks. If AI has such a big impact on every field, then most certainly, Human Resources will not be left out when it has more complex data management and analytical needs than any other department.
AI will invade this sector too and we better be ready to interact with a bot regarding a job opening because, it has already started. Tech giants like Facebook, IBM, and a spate of other companies have started to incorporate artificial intelligence into their hiring practices. They’re using machines to scan work samples, parse social media posts, and analyze facial expressions on behalf of HR managers.
They are also targeting intelligent assistants, known as chatbots, or computer algorithms designed to simulate a human conversation, to recruit employees, answer HR questions, or personalize learning experiences. A survey of nearly 400 chief human resource officers conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value found that half of the survey sample recognizes the power of cognitive computing to transform key dimensions of HR, such as HR Operations, Talent Acquisition, and Talent Development.
Rob May the CEO and cofounder of Talla, which builds intelligent assistants to help knowledge workers better do their jobs says, AI is all set to bring revolution to the HR industry in an enormous way:-
AI will have a huge impact on the prediction side of the industry, particularly in recruiting the right talent and the training/development of employees. Dealing with humans is messy because people are complicated and we don’t have the level of granular data yet on individuals in some areas to feed into AI algorithms to make better predictions.
One big area of advancement in AI over the last few years is natural language processing. Now that human communications, which are mostly in natural language, can be used as data sets, the day is drawing near for some benchmark improvements in predictive analytics using natural language processing.
Enter AI workflow automation. Humans are still required to program workflows so computers could understand them. For workflows with lots of variability, this is always way too complicated. For example, if you’ve ever had to schedule a candidate to interview with four different members of your team, you probably know that things can quickly get messy.
While we have good software for booking individual meetings on calendars, dealing with five calendars to schedule interviews you want to happen sequentially in a block of time turns into a very manual and time-consuming task.
Now, with machine-learning technologies, a machine that sees enough examples of a workflow, even if there is some variability in those examples, can figure out on its own what to do. Expect to see software in the next few years that automates simple HR processes like interview scheduling, employee performance reviews, employee onboarding, and even the answering of basic HR questions. AI will soon take on many forms, including traditional Web applications, conversational interfaces, and digital assistants.
Different people have different styles of learning and, with the many generations now filling the workforce, embracing modern training practices has never been more important. AI is helping to personalize corporate learning, by capturing meaningful employee data relating to a wide range of learning experiences and behaviours.
The same machine learning computer algorithms that “learn and recommend” by analyzing your choices of where to shop or what to eat, will “learn and recommend” when it comes to employee training. In fact, these systems will continue to parse and analyze as more and more employee interactions occur, and be able to tweak training programs accordingly, making training more efficient, and training outcomes more effective.
So it means that, organizations will soon be able to hire a coach for every employee. As that happens, it will unleash improvements in workforce productivity that we haven’t seen in decades.
Now although, researchers at Oxford University believe that about 47% of all jobs could be completely overtaken by robots within the next 17 years and the Gartner Group published findings that stated that, on a global scale, a third of our jobs will be lost to robots by 2025, there are certain things in HR that won’t be automated.
According to Totaljobs, HR managers and directors spend the majority of their time in three ways:
- Meeting with senior staff and business partners
- Employee relations and engagement
- Meeting with employees
These are all tasks that are very unlikely to be automated. McKinsey considers managing and developing staff as the hardest work activity to automate. The second-most difficult activities to automate are those that require applying expertise to decision-making, planning, or creative work.
Meeting with senior staff and employees, and employee relations and engagement all require applying expertise to decision-making. They also involve complex human interaction, which no algorithm can crack as of yet. A robot doesn’t know that a particular professional prefers meetings to be direct and no-nonsense, while Shane likes to open with small talk and ease into it.
Indeed, automation and technology only makes social and so-called “soft” skills more important. Robots don’t have negotiation, collaboration, communication, mediation and empathy skills.
So, to conclude, HR employees still have these skills in spades and for now, robots replacing HR seems to be a far-flung idea. AI will do some time-consuming technical tasks, yes, but when it comes to addressing employee engagement or improving company culture, it will still take some human touch.