In this article, Senior HR Consultant, Claire McGuinness explores AI in HR, discussing the benefits and challenges of it.
Artificial intelligence (AI), with its abilities to analyse, diagnose, and predict, is becoming increasingly prevalent in HR. Businesses are increasingly using AI to speed up decision-making and other HR processes. This includes recruitment, work allocation, management decisions, and dismissals. It is being used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of various HR processes and relies on new platforms and technologies to keep up with the evolving workplace.
While AI is useful for streamlining processes and speeding up decision-making, it also creates some concerns. I’ve looked at its potential and its pitfalls when used in businesses.
The most obvious benefits of AI in the workplace are related to automating vital functions. As computers use data to mimic human learning and analysis, they make your job less stressful and more efficient. That happens because you make decisions more quickly when you’re confident all the data has been considered. And employees, on their side, have a better experience when you automate and customise processes.
Some of the areas AI can improve within your HR operations are:
Hiring new employees is competitive right now. Taking too long to find the right candidate may mean they’re off the market before you even reach them.
From screening CVs to scheduling interviews to answering potential candidates’ questions, AI can cut down on the time you spend sifting through data and doing routine recruitment tasks. It can also eliminate biases to ensure you find the right candidate. This means you can focus your efforts on conducting the interviews and choosing the right candidates.
Because AI tech is available 24/7 and able to eliminate human errors from everyday processes, it can create a better HR experience for employees and managers. This includes automated holiday request procedures so their request goes directly into a system that checks the dates against other employees’ approved holidays. The system can let the employee know right away whether they’re likely to get it approved. Reducing the time managers and HR spend away from work to coordinate schedules frees them up for more important tasks. Plus, employees aren’t left waiting as they try to make plans.
An employee’s onboarding experience has a big impact on their job satisfaction and performance, and subsequently, on retention rates. AI can simplify things by streamlining and automating a lot of the work involved. E.g., it can automatically verify employment documentation, manage employee requests for hardware or account access, deliver company policies and procedures and inform new hires about the team they’re joining or specific tasks they’re assigned.
AI in your training programs can tailor the learning experience to employee needs. You can implement it in your courses to assess employees’ knowledge and recommend specific training programs to bring them up to speed.
You can also use it to sift through company training metrics to determine which employees need more training. Or, to help identify possible career paths based on training history and needs. With the right AI tools, you can ensure your employees learn faster and focus on the skills they need to keep up in their field.
For all of its benefits, AI is not flawless. It still requires human programming, which means there’s room for potential errors and biases. If used too frequently to replace regular human interactions, the technology can also start to make your work environment feel distant and alienating. If you don’t keep these concerns in mind, you risk making your hiring and HR processes less useful and more painful for current and potential employees. This, in turn, will hurt employee satisfaction and your company’s retention rates.
AI isn’t a replacement for actual human involvement. In fact, there are cases where artificial intelligence is a detriment to you and your employees.
Watch out for these pitfalls as you integrate machine learning and other “smart” technology into your processes.
The use of AI in employment brings the risk of ‘algorithmic discrimination’. As the algorithms behind AI are from humans, they can reflect the biases of their designers. Employers should ensure their use of AI is not falling foul of the Equality Act 2010. This prohibits discrimination based on protected characteristics. The ‘decisions’ of the AI software and the underlying data used within it should, therefore, be checked to ensure any apparent discrimination is picked up, or mistakes made by the software (such as disregarding relevant factors) corrected.
There is currently no employment legislation preventing or limiting the use of AI in the workplace. However, data protection law provides some protection for individuals who may find themselves subject to AI decisions. Article 22 of the UK GDPR contains provisions aimed to protect individuals from both automated decision-making and profiling by limiting the use of such processes and placing safeguarding requirements on organisations seeking to use them. To be GDPR compliant at the very least you need to minimise the amount of data you hold and the time you hold it, make sure it is identifiable and removable, limit what you do with the data and be able to explain what you are doing with it and obtain clear unambiguous consent. There is a lot for employers to think about when using AI in terms of data usage to ensure they are GDPR compliant.
Artificial intelligence does have a place in HR. You just need to remember the key points that will help you take advantage of its good points while avoiding potential dangers. With the right approach, you can integrate AI successfully into your HR processes to keep your company at the forefront of today’s evolving workplace. In the meantime, employers should remain vigilant to minimise the risk of claims and retain a degree of human involvement in their processes.
To find out more information or if you require any advice about AI in HR, get in contact with our team of experts.
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