In a world defined by the rapid convergence of technology and global interconnectivity, HR's role transcends conventional administrative functions. Recent research highlights the profound impact of AI-driven HR strategies; higher levels of employee productivity, workforce agility and resilience, workplace efficiency and business excellence. AI-powered HR Transformation is fundamentally redefining how HR partners strategically with business. Organisations must, therefore, leverage the power and potential of AI.
But getting started on this is no easy feat. And so in partnership with Akrivia HCM, we hosted an exciting webinar recently where we explored how leading organisations can prepare for an AI-driven HR landscape.
The current AI landscape
The past decade has seen many start-ups venture into the AI landscape to attract, engage, retain and develop talent. Srinivas Reddy P, SVP & Head of Human Resources, Pristyn Care, believes that this is just the beginning and AI is going to be the ‘next leap’. Pooja Minocha, Vice President HR & CHRO, Bata India Limited agreed that AI is indeed enabling faster decision-making for the HR fraternity, thanks to free and customisable tools to build one’s own AI. Nikhil Bhat Inanjai, Vice President Operations, Akrivia HCM added to this by highlighting how HRIS has grown from basic HRMS systems to WhatsApp-and-email-integrated HCMs which is why emphasised scrutiny and human touch while utilising AI.
Pooja agreed, “It is important to know how to use AI and how far we want to go with it to ensure that it is brought to good use. We should explore and integrate, but always ensure we are on the right side of the law from data-protection and compliance angles.”
How to implement and integrate AI-powered HR Tech?
Nikhil shared that the key success factor in AI adoption is how the employee or end user uses it seamlessly. Companies must:
- Clearly communicate the benefits of AI-powered HR tech to employees, highlight how it can streamline processes and reduce administrative burdens. It is important to showcase how AI will enable HR to focus on the larger strategy.
- Train people to navigate AI apps so that employees can use the system to the fullest potential. Pristyn Care used an AI tool called Meera AI to train employees. A human-like bot talked to people and customised each person’s training requirements and assessments to the individual’s journey. “This solved our problem of getting people together in a classroom by enabling learning through anytime-anywhere modules. It drove effectiveness and efficiency by placing the power of learning with employees”, shared Srinivas.
- Understand company policies and configure at least 80% to fit into an AI-based SaaS product and HR tech product. For example, Bata has enabled unilateral dashboards and reports as decision-making tools to help teams make better business decisions.
- Use our own human intelligence to make better and agile business decisions. Pooja highlighted the importance of ‘balancing the human touch with AI’. Bata has 2,000+ stores, with complex operations along their digitalisation journey. AI has helped the analytics and digital teams reach from product-development to delivery-at-store faster and in a targeted manner, leading to better merchandising. “We are able to take corrective and preventive decisions better, by making things simpler and faster”, shared Pooja.
- Ensure leadership buy-in to kickstart the AI journey. “Frequently measure and highlight the impact to top management to know the ROI”, said Nikhil. Akrivia follows an iterative process, starting with functional requirement documentation for scope-setting, implementation-roadmapping and gap-reduction between HR and tech. Then identifying SPOCs, Project Champions and Leaders from IT as well as HR, to foster collaboration. A business process mapping helps understand the company policies and design a setup book for successful configuration, user-acceptance tests and hyper-care. Such a methodical process ensures the right buy-in for successful AI adoption.
- Measure success: Organisations can measure the time saved on manual HR tasks and associated cost savings owing to AI automation. Other metrics include onboarding durations, NPS scores for interviews, the accuracy of AI algorithms (such as resume-parsing), employee engagement levels, employee retention rates, quality of hires, the effectiveness of training needs identification, etc. Ultimately, track the percentage of adoption. Srinivas agreed that the real metric to measure is how efficient and effective we are, pre and post-AI. For example, Pristyn has implemented a training tool with metrics of ‘better knowledge’ and ‘better assessments’ for their employees. “AI success requires the right thought process and knowhow about how exactly it is being implemented”, he said.
AI in the cultural context
At the moment, AI is at a nascent stage. Srinivas believes that AI will really help set up the right organisations and industries, but our human skills will need to change in tandem. Pooja encourages HR leaders to envisage a 3-5 years journey for HR upskilling. HR must find opportunity areas by closely working with SMEs, and identify what skill sets and technology will enable the larger organisation. “An intellectually human way of working is focusing on making our skills more human”, shared Pooja.
AI and machine learning would become regular ways of working like today’s usage of email and videos. To cut the clutter of multi-channel communication, HRs must think about how to host communication on one platform. The future lies in consolidating tech tools for better administrative efficiency and building better synergies, to make life easy for employees. By balancing this human factor, HR leaders will move more towards strategic decision-making.
Today, HR professionals are truly partnering with the business. But Srinivas asked, “Are we adding value, if yes, how much; if not then why we not?” Over the next decade, HR professionals must understand this closely and upskill themselves. Because the fact remains that skill sets will get upgraded with every technology adaption and adoption. So how can HR take this transformation to the next level?
Nikhil urged HR folks to ‘keep learning all your life’. The world is changing faster than ever and we are already on the digital journey, so we must make the most of it, and enjoy it while it lasts. Because soon we may see humans finding a need to detox from digital and become more human. It will come a full circle. Srinivas also suggested to ‘keep sharing with each other’. After all, taking the AI Journey forward is a step-by-step process, seeing how AI is successful, and then planning for the next phase.