Have you seen the new Blade Runner 2049 movie? Besides a film full of action, special effects and dramatic lighting, it’s a production about AI. It’s a worrying preview of what our world could look like if we were to seriously step up our artificial intelligence game. This article is about AI in HR.
In the real world, although not as advanced or terrifying as on screen, a lot is going on in the field of AI too. And yes, that includes a growing number of applications of artificial intelligence in HR. Find out everything you want to know about this current tech shift in today’s blog: AI in HR – What’s all the fuss about?
What is AI in HR?
As you probably already know, AI is short for artificial intelligence. Various definitions exist, but it’s probably most accurate to look at AI as an umbrella term for smaller subsets such as machine learning and deep learning.
The idea is to create ‘smart’ algorithms that imitate our human brain to a greater or lesser extent; computers that have been programmed to use vast amounts of data to create an insight, make a decision or a prediction for example.
Countless applications of artificial intelligence can be found in everyday life already.
21 years ago, reigning chess champion Garry Kasparov played a six-game match against IBM’s Deep Blue. He lost the 1st game and since it was the first time a world champion lost against a computer, every news outlet wrote about it. What often isn’t mentioned though, is that out of those 6 games, Kasparov still beat the computer 4 times fair and square.
Before every new match, the computer was being upgraded with new memory – until it beat Kasparov. All of the computer’s memory was needed to calculate the almost infinite number of chess moves it could make. After every single move, the possibilities were recalculated. This required all the computing power. Nowadays, algorithms are much smarter and efficient.
At the moment, computers beat humans at playing Go, a game that has much more possible moves than chess has. Other examples are the driverless cars that Tesla, Google and Volvo experiment with. But there’s plenty in-between: Amazon’s assistant Alexa, Apple’s Siri and apps like SoundHound and Shazam that use AI to recognize and play the music you want, to name a few. All these apps leverage AI.
AI in HR: What’s all the fuss about?
If you Google ‘AI in HR’ you get almost 250 million hits. Read a random ‘HR trends for 2017’ article and you’ll see the rise of artificial intelligence mentioned in there somewhere; AI is clearly a topic that’s high on the HR industry’s priority list. The question is, why?
For starters, to get rid of time-consuming, tedious tasks that can easily be automated with the help of a simple AI solution. This can be anything from an AI-driven tool that checks – and if necessary modifies – the language used in job adverts, to a system that provides you with the automated – and targeted – placement of job adverts.
Related: What is Digital HR?
And there is more. Virtual assistants – also known as intelligent bots – can take over things such as answering common and frequently asked questions by employees. Especially in bigger organizations this can be a huge time saver. Because less time spent on this kind of inevitable chores leaves more room for the important parts of the job. Such as hiring the right people and keeping your current employees happy. Which brings us to a second and a third reason for the growing interest in AI from the HR community.
AI in Recruitment
Predictive analytics and machine learning is increasingly being applied for recruitment and preselection purposes. HR preselection tools can significantly improve an organization’s quality of hire, lower costs, reduce or even cut out human bias completely and (perhaps most importantly) boost candidate satisfaction.
AI and Employee Happiness
21st century (millennial) employees want to develop their skills and reach personal objectives and they expect their employers to provide them with the opportunity to do so. Rather than the highest possible salary in the market, the modern-day workforce is on the lookout for an organizational culture that matches with their fundamental values. A place where they can learn and get regular feedback.
With this reality in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that company Learning & Development (L&D) programs are becoming more important. Adding an AI element to the L&D mix means you get personalized programs for each employee, tailored to their individual needs, career objectives and learning preferences.
Now You Know What all the Fuss is About
You may have guessed it already, but this blog just scratches the surface when it comes to AI in HR. A few things to keep in mind are:
- AI in HR offers a great opportunity to automate many of the mind-numbing tasks HR practitioners have to deal with so that;
- they can spend that time on the core business of HR: people. More specifically, the recruitment of great new people and the retention of current staff. When it comes to finding those great new people, AI can;
- help recruiters and hiring managers on another level by cutting human bias out of the process and;
- predict a candidate’s suitability for the job.
So for now, two things seem certain: there’s a lot more AI in HR to come and there’s no need to worry about a Blade Runner-like situation just yet.
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