The use of Artificial intelligence (AI) is almost normal within our personal lives, but it has not successfully infiltrated the world of business
Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming an established reality in our daily lives, whether it be asking Alexa or SIRI questions, or getting accurate film, TV and book recommendations on Amazon. However, its move into the business world is still very much hype over reality for most businesses.
One business area in which AI can be a step change is that of HR. We are not talking about AI replacing the sympathetic ear of an HR manager; instead, AI’s unbiased algorithms and machine learning techniques can be leveraged to predict and learn possible outcomes based on masses of historical statistical data.
While AI can be used across multiple areas, from training and development, through to wellbeing and even compliance and fraud detection, there are two areas that AI can, and is, having a major impact.
Hiring new candidates
Hiring managers are often out of their comfort zone when hiring new candidates. Research shows that most interviewers have made up their mind about a candidate within 60 seconds. This quick judgement can often make the recruitment process unfair. For this reason, 39% of businesses admit that the interviewing and assessment skills of their staff could be improved, according to The Recruitment & Employment Confederation, as many are missing the “killer” hire.
AI-based algorithms can rapidly scan large volumes of candidate CVs and internal employees to identify who not only matches the criteria for an interview but if employed are likely to succeed in the role. During or after the interview process, AI can review transcripts, audio and video content to look for those missed signals that indicate a candidate who can succeed or fail, and flag these to the hiring manager.
Many of the major talent acquisition vendors are already building out or have deployed AI teams to underpin their platform growth.
AI-based coaching and management tools
With Amazon listing over 100,000 books on management, YouTube having about the same number of videos and LinkedIn influencers appearing on every timeline, the typical manager of today is drowned under a barrage of opinions, techniques and mythologies for success.
AI-based coaching and management tools can – through interaction with the teams – judge overall and individual sentiments offering managers’ opinions and insights into how their team is performing versus other teams. This can be particularly useful to identify where potential shortfalls lie or highlight opportunities to leverage specifically found advantages within the team. Algorithms can automate the process of monitoring whether employees hit set targets or not and automatically allocate the reward or punishment that the worker is due.
Managers will not be replaced by AI but will be used to reduce the administrative burden, allowing them to focus more of their efforts to nurture employee skills and talents.
The risks of AI
While AI has a real opportunity to enhance the HR function, it does not do this without some risks. AI and machine learning are predicated on appropriate training data, and it is in this area of training that one of the key risks of AI must be identified and addressed – that area is bias.
If we consider a training set based on managers in the 1970s as an example, nearly all managers would be white men of a certain age, which would mean females and ethnic minorities may be less likely to be hired for a management role. Developers of AI will need to ensure that systems evolve with the times and don’t perpetuate the status quo.
For AI to succeed in the HR landscape, we must create unbiased machines that overcome our very-human shortcomings. By wielding AI in a cognizant manner, managers will escape their administrative duties, freeing them up to convince candidates to take on opportunities.
Senior Account Manager