While Artificial Intelligence (AI) is nothing new, the recent emergence of AI-powered tools like ChatGPT is transforming the world of business – reaching over 100 million monthly active users in January.
The virtual assistant market is poised for record growth in 2023, with the newest version of the popular chatbot, Chat GPT-4, said to be even more creative and reliable than its predecessor.
For the world of HR, AI technology can be used by HR managers to optimise everything from recruitment and onboarding, through to payroll and annual leave requests. AI may empower HR and business leaders to better understand their people and enhance processes, but to deliver significant impact, HR will always require human skill, knowledge, and empathy – capabilities that AI (at least currently) does not have.
As the world of business continues to evolve, it’s crucial that businesses intersect the unique capabilities of both AI and HR to deliver significant impact.
Below are some of the ways where AI can impact HR processes – for better or for worse.
1. A new first point of contact for employees
For HR professionals, being on-hand to deal with day-to-day queries from employees can be time consuming. No matter how comprehensive the employee handbook, HR often remains the first point of contact for employee queries regarding administrative processes such as annual leave, payroll, and benefits packages.
As digitalisation accelerates and with many businesses now operating with a hybrid workforce, transactional requests referring to company policy can be much more easily addressed using AI technology. Using an AI-powered chatbot, HR specialists can automate repetitive interactions with employees to ensure all simple requests are met easily.
Not only does this free up time for HR staff but means employees can receive a near-instant response and resolve their issue more quickly. With its human-like responses, ChatGPT technology can be integrated into a company’s HR software to provide employee support 24-7 in a way that is not possible for an HR manager.
When using a chat-bot to respond to automated FAQs, businesses must ensure the correct cybersecurity measures are in place. Chatbots can easily be hacked, compromising the security of any sensitive information shared by an employee and opening up a new entry point for cyber criminals.
2. Screen candidates and CVs
According to a report from LinkedIn, the average hiring process lasts 36 days, with talent acquisition professionals spending 13 hours on average sourcing candidates for a single role.
Meanwhile, with 55% of candidates believing it should take less than two weeks from the first interview to the job offer, businesses with an efficient and streamlined recruitment process are more likely to have greater candidate satisfaction and attract the best talent.
An AI tool can reduce labour-intensive administrative tasks and help source the best candidates. The software can quickly screen CVs to determine whether a candidate’s experience matches the job description.
By streamlining recruitment processes, the need to outsource via a recruitment agency is reduced, saving money and preventing companies from investing time on candidates who are unlikely to reach final interview.
However, soft skills and important variables such as how well a candidate will align with company’s values and culture is much harder to predict based on data-led insights alone. In-person interaction remains critical for finding the right candidate for the company.
3. Identify and re-engage the flight-risks and ‘quiet quitters’
Once the best talent has been onboarded, AI technology can be used to create questions for engagement surveys, analyse the results and create an initial recommended strategy with the collated data to identify areas where employee engagement could be improved. This strategy could include tailored support or resources such as training courses and resources based on an employees’ skills and career goals. Providing personalised and tailored support demonstrates a company’s commitment to its employees’ professional growth and development.
HR can also use AI to predict which employees are at risk of leaving the company or becoming disengaged. Predictive analytics tools can analyse a range of data points, such as employee feedback, performance data, and attendance records to identify patterns and predict future behaviour.
By leveraging ChatGPT to improve employee engagement, HR departments can create a more productive and satisfied workplace, reduce employee turnover rates, and drive business success.
4. Allow HR to focus on the ‘human touch’
Contrary to popular belief, AI technology will also allow companies to be more people-focused, freeing up valuable resources and time to focus on employees rather than processes. This even affords HR managers the flexibility to shift their attention to brand development, embedding company values and goals, and boosting innovation.
Because AI-based chatbots can’t provide a ‘human’ touch, and qualities like critical thinking, empathy, and human connection are intrinsically human, it’s stands to reason that the role of HR managers should become more people-focused.
In a highly competitive labour market, supporting staff well-being, boosting morale, and establishing a positive and supportive company culture that invests time in their employees is key to retention.
5. Detect and remove unconscious biases
While human-made tools like ChatGPT continue to exhibit similar biases as humans, AI technology can be used in hiring and performance review processes to detect cases of discrimination and unconscious bias.
Offering data-driven insights, AI can support HR and managers in ensuring all qualified candidates have equal access to job opportunities and in making fair employment decisions.
For example, AI-powered tools can ask questions and offer prompts that encourage users to consider whether they have accounted for different groups or processes as part of their decision-making process.
Approach this with caution. Artificial intelligence systems are designed to learn from the user and so an AI system can learn to be biased. Hiring patterns would still need to be carefully monitored to ensure all candidates are given equal opportunity to succeed.
More than just driving efficiencies, AI technologies also have the potential to revolutionise other business areas, such as removing barriers to career progression, maintaining employee engagement and staff retention, as well as nurturing a healthy company culture.
While ChatGPT is still in its early infancy stages and the initial cost of launching AI is high, businesses that adopt and implement AI technology early on will benefit from a stronger competitive advantage, than those who wait for others to lead the way and reap the benefits of improved HR processes. To make use of AI successful, HR and tech must intersect seamlessly.