The current wait time for a Peloton bike is nearly three months. Two years ago, connected fitness barely existed, and today, Peloton – the billion-dollar company credited with jump-starting the trend – is synonymous with it. Peloton’s success is based on leveraging holistic, at-home programming and intelligent software to drastically improve workout efficiency.
If you read our last post, you know why artificial intelligence (AI) is finally poised to transform the human resources (HR) industry. Much like Peloton did for the exercise industry, AI solutions have entered the HR space, not just as new technology, but as fundamental enablers for intelligent efficiency improvement.
But what, specifically, does that look like on a daily basis for current AI adopters? And what can AI do that your current software can’t?
We Already Use HR Software, Why Do We Need More?
The last big wave of innovation in HR technology was all about digitizing HR-related business processes from talent management to core HR functions and learning systems to recruiting. By now, all companies of different sizes are using an array of either platform solutions integrated or more specialized point solutions. With these implementations, the work of HR professionals has become more efficient. The user experience from a self-service perspective internally and externally has improved dramatically (e.g. people can apply for a job on their mobile device, which was formerly unheard of). Additionally, the availability of analytics in all areas of HR has finally reached a point of matureness, so it is useful.
The sobering realization is that with all the process improvement enabled by human resource information systems (HRIS), the busy and manual work has not gone away. This is a reflection of the extensive depth and breadth of HR contributions and the lofty hiring and talent management goals put in front of HR professionals. Luckily, AI has emerged as a way to further escalate efficiency and drive better business outcomes.
AI moves the needle farther than the HRIS solutions in terms of meeting talent management, talent acquisition, and other HCM goals in two different ways. AI can either provide new capabilities that humans were not previously able to access, or it can enhance or improve existing capabilities through automation. These functions of AI free up valuable human thinking time. But how? Let’s get specific.
AI: Delivering the Goods
If the primary functions of AI are to introduce new capabilities and enhance current capabilities by taking over busy work, what does that actually look like in the day-to-day? Below we look at the impact of AI in areas such as candidate selection and recruitment, training and development, HR communications, interview analysis, and more.
Artificial intelligence can help to reduce the HR business workload by taking over chatbot algorithms. Thanks to these algorithms, AI’s ability to process language, and machine learning, AI chatbots can automate HR communications and routine functions by answering questions, responding to requests, completing tasks, and more. This reduces manual paperwork and repetitive communications and simplifies task completion.
For example, an employee might request leave through a chatbot, and the AI can evaluate the request, grant permission, and update the necessary parties. These services are available online in a self-service capacity allowing for automatic scheduling and reporting, decreased response waiting time, and increased independence for employees.
Another way AI-powered chatbots can save time is by guiding employees through the lifecycle. AI can be taught to answer simple (yet repeatedly asked) questions, such as:
- “How do I enroll in my healthcare benefits?”
- “What is the phone number for our 401k provider?”
- “How do I refer a friend to a job here?”
AI simplifies the job prospecting process for candidates too. Imagine if applying for a job was as easy for candidates as dragging and dropping their resume, and waiting for a list of jobs that fit based on their previous work experience and skill set. This is already possible! You can read more about it in The Candidate Experience: As Easy as Drag and Drop?
Capabilities that did not previously exist without AI include analyzing facial expressions during the application process. AI applications exist that can look at micro-expressions of job candidates and determine the candidate’s suitability or potential for success in a specific job.
These are new capabilities that recruiters or hiring managers understandably were not able to perform before. They have the potential for huge impact on business outcomes.
A primary strength of most AI applications is the efficiency game. Applications that are using AI can massively decrease HR professionals’ manual work, especially in recruitment sourcing. For example, HR can set predefined requirements in a job profile for the AI application. Then the AI can review 10,000 resumes and present the top 10 candidates. This kind of high speed analysis frees recruiters from busy work and gives them more time to coordinate with hiring managers and choose the right talent for their organization.
Lori, a Practice Director here at Blue Crab Consulting, recalls a time where her client was manually globally sourcing thousands of candidates. Then the client began leveraging AI to support their searches. Lori says, “The client went from spending three to five minutes per applicant and having to review every person who applied to instead spending two minutes on qualified applicants only. This saved them weeks upon weeks per open requisition. This time savings was invaluable and it also improved their business outcomes in several ways, including better quality hires.”
You can find many more examples that fall into this category all along the HR value chain.
Temperature Check: How Do You Feel About AI?
There are plenty of misconceptions about AI. You may have heard that AI is going to replace decision-making for humans, that it is going to replace existing jobs, or that it is going to take over the world. In HR, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and we hope we have clarified that for you in this article. Rather than replacing high level human thinking, AI can take over less creative, more rote capabilities in order to free up HR professionals to undertake the strategic and innovative aspects of HR. AI helps automate processes and deliver the data to support important HR decisions, enabling HR to take a strategic seat at the table.
Now we want to hear from you! How has your organization utilized AI so far? If AI took over some of the manual and time-draining parts of your job, what strategic projects would you focus on?
Be sure to catch our next post, in which we’ll shift our focus to how AI applications are changing the internal and external candidate experience.