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Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Transforming the Face of HR?

CoAdvantage-Yes, argues HR management consultant Josh Bersin, suggesting that technology and artifical intelligence are completely changing how HR functions.

In a paper published earlier this year, he suggests that “new user interfaces and AI-enabled agents” are transforming how employees interact with HR. He calls this trend the “disappearing HR system.” In other words, the process of interacting with an AI agent to take care of some HR issue – perhaps submitting a job application, or resolving some question related to payroll or benefits – is becoming so seamless and frictionless it feels like little more than a casual conversation to the worker.

It’s an idea that rests on the sophistication of modern and emerging HR technology. As machines can automate workplace activities, knowledgeably analyze business data, and sometimes even render day-to-day decisions, technology is coming to play a greater role in how business works. Moreover, these machines are increasingly directly interacting with job applicants, current workers, and HR teams.

And it’s true that AI use in HR is becoming much more commonplace.

AI is already being used to screen job applicants, guide and evaluate interviews, chat and otherwise interact with applicants, facilitate employee self-service, monitor social media usage, automate routine functions, analyze workforce data, and more. In fact, according to advisory firm Gartner, more than half of HR leaders expect to be using “AI-based solutions in their HR function” by 2022, citing cost savings, improved employee experience, and more accurate data-driven decisions as their top motives.

Importantly, this does not mean AI is replacing human talent.

If nothing else, AI isn’t yet smart enough to do that. But to truly leverage the potential of AI systems requires collaboration between human talent and machine agents, not the replacement of one with the other. Instead of worrying about knowledge workers being replaced, the idea is that organizations should re-think how they make use of their human talent. It’s about fostering an environment in which technology and human talent work in tandem to make the best use of all resources.

Still, there’s reason for caution. “The key legal question is whether these tools are being used to make decisions about applicants and employees,” Michelle Duncan, an attorney in the Denver office of Jackson Lewis, told the Society for Human Resource Management earlier this year. “If we’re using these tools to decide whether or not to move people on through the hiring process or who to promote, we need to pay extra special attention to the impact they have.”

In other words, if the way AI screens applicants falls afoul of employment laws or violates guidance from the EEOC, it could have legal implications for organizations.

Still, incorporating AI into daily workflows should enable organizations to work smarter and to achieve higher output or productivity with the same staff. To get started with AI, begin by looking at how other companies use these kinds of advanced technologies, and what they achieve with them. Consider if in-house goals and roles can be enhanced, eased, or improved by incorporating AI technologies into the HR function.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.