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Unpacking The 3 Main Artificial Intelligence Use Cases For HR

in Trends & Insights

by Maria Khafizova
August 10, 2017

When the world of digital trends meets Human Resources on social media, it is sometimes difficult to stop (wait a minute) and assess whether the AI obsession is indeed applicable to your company. Let's dive into the realities behind the trend and fish out the AI elements you can pick and mix into your HR practice.

You had me at AI

With sensationalist headlines like "Company X replaces office workers with Artificial Intelligence!" and Bill Gates arguing that every robot who replaces a human-done job should also pay taxes, it can be easy to get lost between the facts and fiction of the automation craze. According to IBM's sample of 400 chief HR officers, at least half of the respondents saw the added value of cognitive automation in different business areas related to Talent Aquisition and HR Operations. With $1.5 billion already invested in AI-tech specialization last year alone, if your HR department has not already been invaded by literal robots and hidden software by now, it's high time to unwrap the tech behind the trend and go past the hype.

DE-CODER TO THE RESCUE

According to IBM Watson Talent, artificial or augmented intelligence (AI) refers to computing systems that not only understand and evaluate large amounts of data but gradually independently learn from the information they process. Think robot uprisings and Facebook's artificial intelligence chatbots creating an entirely new language in order to... chat with other chatbots in secret, or something equally thrilling is what AI is all about? Well... not exactly.

You can drastically improve your employee experience with automation, without risking starting a robot war just yet. Start by figuring out what kind of data on employee behavior, recruitment and experience you may already have at hand, and AI starts with just asking for something (instead of someone) to analyze and digest it into applicable form.

So how do you get started?

PREPARING FOR AI: TO HIRE OR NOT TO HIRE?

With all the hype surrounding the imminent introduction of, if not artificial humans, at the very least, smart systems moving forward, the question of whether or not to hire a Chief AI Officer has become a poignant one.

Chief scientist and former computer science professor Kristian Hammond asks you to kindly hold your AI horses back for a while. Being passionate about AI and innovation on the whole does not mean that all of a sudden it should become your number 1 business priority, especially if your business had nothing to do with it in the first place. "For AI to work in the enterprise, the goals of the enterprise must be the driving force," writes Hammond.

By putting the people in charge of business goals in control of AI implementation directly, you should make sure the powerful cognitive technologies benefit your company as a whole, and don't become a pet project in its own right. And if you still insist on hiring a specific professional for the AI role, you can find the CAIO job specs here.

As a side note, we can't get over the fact that the Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer position gets abbreviated into "CAIO"... 'Buongiorno ragazzi! Caio!'. Anywho, maybe that's just us.

YOUR SECRET LITTLE HELPERS

As Human Resources are primarily concerned with the employee experience, there is no replacing the human touch, interpersonal relations, creativity and sympathy required of every person in your HR department. What AI can help with is assisting with the more time-consuming or data-heavy processes in tandem with a people-centic approach. Below are the three areas of Human Resources that can already easily benefit from some added AI magic.

1. SCREEN FTW (For The Win)

One of the basic AI implementations is its ability to fast-forward data processing mechanisms and analyze sets of structured data efficiently. So what better way to employ automation than to speed up the process of screening through piles of candidate CVs? While the final decision is definitely up to the human conection and interviews, getting to the right candidate before your competition does is already a foundation for success. Why is this different than the ATS's of after-year? AI is the gift that keeps on giving after being implemented once unlike the unwieldly applicant systems you're probably using right now. Relying on machine learning and feedback mechanisms, you can rest assured that the screening process will grow more efficient with every recruitment cycle. 

2. Text them back

Talent and recruitment processes can already benefit from employing automated AI response systems. On the one hand, spending hours on a job application and expecting radio silence as a response has long become the sad reality for job seekers. And on the other, the next generation of talent has grown to expect a response from any consumer brand within the first 10 minutes from starting an interaction online. So why would they expect you to be different?

Care about your employer brand? Employing a simple customizable response system will make sure that, no matter how swamped your HR department may be, no candidate will be left unnoticed (and Millennial candidates won't leave your job portal in fury and frustration!). Considering that 59% of Millennials are willing to share their negative brand experiences on social media, better be safe than sorry, making sure your employer brand is as responsive as you require your employees to be.

Create more long-term strategies for following up with your dormant candidate database moving unsuccessful job applicants (it's not always the right fit right now) into your newsletter subscription pool to help them stay in touch with your company brand going forward and a better role for them comes up.

3. CHITTY CHITTY CHATbot Bang

Imagine a world where on your first day of the new job you had a know-it-all assistant, infinitely helpful, and ready to resolve your every issue. Answering an array of questions without a single wince of annoyance or hesitation, the assistant is there to make sure your onboarding experience goes well in an almost too-perfect manner. You don't need to have coffee with this assistant and can fully skip the idle chit-chat, going straight to what is on your mind, firing away: "When is the pay day? How do I deal with parking? What is the wifi password and how do I get the scanner to work? Can I speak to my boss and who is on my team? Where is everyone? Did I just miss lunch?". The assistant will just sit there, occasionally wink at you encouragingly and direct you exactly where you need to be.

Sounds almost too perfect? Well, it is because this is one of the most exciting use cases for onboarding chatbots, built to provide the perfect employee experience, sharing all those little details you forget to tell your new hires about.. and it keeps learning as more new hires use it! By mining data and picking up the right information upon request, AI chatbotscan save people managers and internal HR plenty of time while never leaving new employees to their own devices.

From answering your questions, to bringing a higher engagement rate with personalized e-learning and development plans delivered straight to employees' smartphones - the sky is the limit when your HR partners with an AI system. Add an emoji for that extra brand voice 'oomph' and you are all set for entering the HR transformation era.

What questions would you have liked to ask on your first day on the job?