It’s a regular Wednesday afternoon. A seemingly distressed employee stands lost in his new workplace when he is suddenly greeted by a telepresence robot. The robot, equipped with a built-in screen instantly scans his face and having recognized him as a new recruit, rightly guides him to the orientation boardroom.
A few feet away from him, a young lady walks into an intelligent kiosk for her hot cuppa, picks her choice of drink and walks out sipping her drink while acknowledging her purchase invoice on her phone on the way out. Meanwhile, another worker passes by, enwrapped in a conversation with his ‘assistobot’, both discussing the former’s to-dos for the day…
This is how current workplaces across the world are envisioned, with many already having taken the baby steps towards it. The concept of AI is gradually penetrating every corporate function, including Human Resources!
A 2017 McKinsey study reported that one-third of all work activities may be automated by 2030. This begs the question, “Will Artificial Intelligence (AI) completely take over the corporate workforce, rendering HR obsolete?” Contrary to this scare, the truth remains that the overarching objective of including AI is only to support, and not to replace HR completely.
As companies prepare themselves for a digitized future, the more strategic move for HR is to recognize the immense benefits of AI and employ it as a key enabler of organizational enhancement. Intelligent HR solutions will be a result of a fruitful collaboration between AI tools and human ingenuity.
AI for HR empowerment
So what can a machine do differently that an HR exec can’t? To begin with, it can retain collective information and become smarter over time. Also, unlike a human, machines do not suffer from memory loss, information overload, fatigue, and distraction, making them consistent and reliable performers.
Speed up recruitment processes
The biggest boon of AI lies in accelerating the entire recruitment process. Acquiring the right talent within time constraints and low budgets, smart HR software easily match skill requirement and profiles of potential candidates and finds the best fits. Cognitive solutions help analyze a potential employee’s social media presence, which gives recruiters deeper insight into the individual’s personality.
Unbiased screening and assessment
Recent research has proved that employers may invariably display something known as “unconscious bias” and these judgments pass way beyond than resume selections and interviews. But now, algorithms have been created that can help negate such patterns of biased screening, thereby opening doors to a more diverse demography.
Frees up HR to focus on what really matters
An increase in process automation will help eliminate repetitive, time-consuming and boring HR tasks, freeing up HR minds to focus on bigger things. Chatbots with advanced language recognition algorithms can instantly respond to payroll and tax queries, reducing turn-around time and manual errors. Likewise, robotic process automation (RPA) can greatly minimize the time taken by data-related activities such as form submissions to just a few hours.
Reinforce right employee behavior
Smart analytics platforms can successfully track an employee’s office activity, internet browsing patterns, and adherence to time and decorum. These intelligent tools can pull up employees who deviate from normal activity patterns in an organization and help employers take necessary penal action and also encourage right behavior.
Improve employee engagement
By taking away all the repetitive aspects of a job, AI offers HR managers more time to engage with their employees and hone their strategies and relationships - traits that are virtually impossible for a machine to do. This way, humans can do what they are expected to do best, ‘be human’!
Towards an AI future
For many organizations integrating AI into HR seems like a distant and futuristic possibility.
Today, very few industries in India have begun to invest in AI developments. According to a 2017 world robotic report, India purchased 2,627 industrial robots in 2016 which constitutes only 0.89% of world’s shipment. A small but significant start though.
For every job lost owing to AI and Automation, there will be several new jobs created. Sooner than we realize, a hybrid workforce that merges the best of human abilities with the power of AI will be a reality.