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The Beneficial Partnership Between AI and HR

Artificial Intelligence

There has been a lot of talk around the impact AI will have on the HR industry.  There are fear mongers who say AI will make HR obsolete but I disagree.  I believe AI will become HR’s new tool to overcome some of the oldest issues in Talent Acquisition, Management & retention.  The AI enhancements we already see and those on the horizon make me excited to “level up” as an HR professional.  Here are some of the ways AI can help the HR industry.

Talent Acquisition

Since most of my experience in HR has been in recruiting, I am most excited about the changes AI will bring to this function.  There have been so many times when either my intuition or the intuition of the manager was incredibly off and we made the wrong hire. The costs of bad hiring decisions can be reduced when using the right AI tools to help source and assess candidates in the interview process.

AI will eliminate the inherent bias all of us have.  The smooth-talking candidates who are able to interview well but then suck at performing could be easily identified by an AI function by relying solely on vast amounts of data rather than merely individual observations.  Now some may say instituting the proper assessment during the selection process can help eliminate this bias but I believe AI will take assessments one step further.

Also, think of how many employees leave companies because they feel there is no opportunity for growth.  As a recruiter, there are limited tools at the ready to identify employees who may already have the skills and aptitude to fill an open role.  Unfortunately, we tend to immediately think we need to look externally for the next rock star when the best fit already sits somewhere else in the company.  There is a massive opportunity for AI tools to analyze employees to help source internal candidates who will help meet the needs of open positions.  It’s a win/win for the company and the employee by reducing turnover, hiring someone who’s already vetted by the company and invested in its success and providing the opportunity to promote from within and hire more entry-level employees into the firm.

Predictive Behavior

In HR, you do have to follow your gut sometimes but why do that when you have a tool to analyze trends and predictive data?  In my current firm, we use an HR tool (Visier) that is beta-testing a predictive analysis feature for turnover.  Our analytics team has compared the tool’s prediction to actual turnover to find an accuracy level above 60% in some areas.  Imagine the day when, as an HR Partner, you can meet with your business unit executives to discuss at-risk employees and prevent turnover rather than merely reacting to it?  It would not only save time but also significant amounts of investments to prevent your high performers from leaving your firm.

Another area AI could help is by leveraging the data available in HR and putting it in a format we can understand.  I doubt I am the only HR professional who looks at the significant amounts of data and know there are trends or information points I am missing.  Although my minor in college was statistics, sometimes my brain just shuts down with all of the information.  AI can be the rescue for this analysis paralysis by providing the information in bite-size formats I can understand and act on.  It would also allow me to position myself as an informed HR partner to my business units rather than someone who just forwards a report with a bunch of useless information.

Market Trend Analysis

The real deficit I think we all experience is the ability to compare our data with similar firms in our industry and market. Sure, there’s a ton of survey data available but it comes back to taking that data and using it in a meaningful way to spot trends. AI can help transform these terabytes of information into an understandable format to allow HR partners to ensure we spot trends in the industry and help our clients plan for changes and allow us to suggest ways to increase talent in our organizations to promote the company’s key profit initiatives.

Another area for market analysis could include performance coaching.  Too often, we compare our employees to other employees in the organization versus comparing to our competition.  If our competition is eating our lunch, what help is that?

Forbes wrote a great piece on this particular topic:

Monitoring performance generates large amounts of various data and metrics, which AI can sort out to provide HR managers with fast access to valuable and systematized insights. These indicators can be measured against AI-designed performance objectives for each individual employee and can include a behavioral assessment as well. AI can help HR personnel set grading systems for each employee and conduct periodical automatized reviews concerning set performance goals.

AI is the FUTURE of HR

So when the fear mongers start talking about how AI will replace HR, don’t worry and don’t buy into the hype.  There will continue to be a need for the Human aspect of HR but you will need to embrace the idea of AI becoming your most valued partner.  As the industry continues to introduce AI as a tool, be sure to be the first to test it and learn more about its capabilities.  Rather than being the idiot saying the earth is flat, be one of the first to get on the ship to discover the new world ahead of us.

I don’t know about you but I’m really excited to see the ways AI can help HR become the profit enabling department it has been destined to be.

About the Author

Trent Cotton joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, he decided to find his own voice and leverage all of the things he once hated about HR to transform his career to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses he supported.

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