AI tools provide human resources (HR) department with a range of capabilities, allowing them to efficiently carry out various crucial tasks in a quicker and more comprehensive manner than previously possible. Advancements in AI technology have transformed the HR sector, empowering professionals to utilise machine learning and algorithms for streamlining their workflow.
According to a report by Eightfold AI, around 250 HR leaders who were surveyed confirmed that they currently utilise AI in various HR functions. These functions include managing employee records (78 per cent), processing payroll and administering benefits (77 per cent), recruiting and hiring (73 per cent), managing performance (72 per cent), and on boarding new employees (69 per cent). Looking ahead, an overwhelming 92 per cent of HR leaders expressed their intention to expand their adoption of AI in at least one area of HR.
Nevertheless, there exist certain limitations and vulnerabilities that may push organisations to pause when it comes to embracing AI for additional tasks. On the occasion of AI Appreciation Day, let us explore a few crucial factors that need to be taken into account:
Human cognition in AI integration
The interpretation of data is where human cognition becomes immensely valuable. While AI algorithms can generate insights and predictions, it is human intelligence that possesses the ability to contextualise and derive meaning from the information. Humans can leverage their experience, knowledge, and intuition to provide deeper insights and grasp the implications of outputs generated by AI. Hence, integrating human cognition is essential to enrich and augment AI systems.
“AI can fail to recognise cultural fit, which is a very important aspect of hiring success, and this could lead to hiring errors and lost opportunity in attracting the right talent. Additionally, without human intervention, AI may struggle to provide the necessary insights for data interpretation and informed decision-making. Therefore, it's imperative that in this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment, successful AI integration is ably supported by irreplaceable human cognition." said Mr Mahendran Dilli, Senior Vice President, RMG & Talent Planning, Indium Software.
Compliance and employee rights
One significant risk associated with AI in HR is the potential for bias. AI systems are trained on historical data, which can inadvertently perpetuate existing biases or introduce new ones. This poses a risk of unfair treatment and discrimination against certain individuals or groups. HR professionals must diligently monitor AI algorithms, regularly assess their performance for bias, and take necessary steps to mitigate any potential discriminatory outcomes.
“While AI efficiency is commendable in any field and hence, desirable, there are certain aspects regarding HR that one needs to emphasise to minimise loss of human touch in their processes. Bias, lack of transparency, and possible infringement of employee rights are some of the major risks associated with AI in the field of HR. Compliance with regulatory requirements, especially labour and employment laws, can pose a major problem for the organisation. While using AI, HRs need to keep in mind that the employee rights or these laws are not violated. It is the responsibility of the HR professionals to be familiar with relevant AI and indulge in necessary training and upskilling to make the process comfortable for all stakeholders.” Ramprakash Ramamoorthy, Director of AI research, ManageEngine.
Balancing efficiency with human empathy
Human empathy is a fundamental aspect of HR tasks such as performance management, conflict resolution, and employee support. It involves understanding and connecting with individuals on an emotional level, considering their unique circumstances, and offering personalized guidance or support. These empathetic interactions foster trust, engagement, and overall employee well-being.
However, AI systems typically lack the ability to exhibit true empathy. They excel at data processing, pattern recognition, and making logical decisions based on predefined rules or algorithms. While AI can assist in certain HR functions, it cannot fully replace the human touch and the nuanced understanding that comes with empathy.
“The lack of human interaction and emotional intelligence is a significant challenge in AI adoption in HR. While automation can help streamline processes and improve efficiency, it cannot replace human empathy in HR tasks such as performance management or conflict resolution. Also, there are several essential considerations in deploying AI in HR systems,” stated Rahul Bhattacharya, EY Global Delivery Services (GDS), GDS Consulting Artificial Intelligence Leader, EY Global Delivery Services India LLP.
He further added, “These include the possibility of unfair and incorrect decisions and actions if the algorithms propagate existing biases in the data, or if the variables used are inherently discriminatory Additionally, AI models need to be secure to prevent malicious tampering and be transparent about the evidence leading to the insights and recommendations they produce. To meet these challenges, organisations must have an AI governance process with associated engineering, tooling, and tracking to implement a balanced approach with due consideration to laws, ethics, fairness, and efficiency.”