AI in HR: The good, the bad, and the ugly

AI in HR: Benefits, Limitations, and Challenges | eFront

HR relies on new platforms and technologies to keep up with the evolving workplace (think hybrid work models and a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion).

As a result, artificial intelligence, with its abilities to analyze, diagnose, and predict, is becoming increasingly prevalent in HR operations.

AI for HR is not a new concept. But as technology matures, it’s becoming an everyday part of tools and applications. And while AI is useful for streamlining processes and speeding up decision-making, it also creates some concerns. Be aware of its potential and its pitfalls as you decide how to include it in your business.

In this article, we’ll go over the ways artificial intelligence can transform your HR processes for the better. We’ll also cover some of the limitations and downsides you should watch out for.

The good: AI as the future of HR

The most obvious benefits of AI in the workplace are related to automating vital functions. As computers use data to mimic human learning and analysis, they make your job less stressful and more efficient.

That happens because you make decisions more quickly when you’re confident all the data has been considered. And employees, on their side, have a better experience when you automate and customize processes.

Here’s a look at some of the areas AI can improve within your HR operations.

1. Streamlining hiring and removing biases in recruitment

Hiring new employees is competitive right now. Taking too long to find the right candidate may mean they’re off the market before you even reach them.

From screening resumes to scheduling interviews to answering potential candidates’ questions, AI can cut down on the time you spend sifting through data and doing routine recruitment tasks. It can also eliminate biases to ensure you find the right candidate. Here’s how:

  • AI-enabled screening can narrow down your applicant lists by sorting out those with the most relevant skill sets.
  • If programmed right, screening software considers candidates based entirely on qualifications and eliminates unconscious bias that can sometimes affect the initial screening process.
  • AI can perform background checks or other analyses to ensure the candidates you talk to are the most qualified.
  • Chatbots can answer potential hires’ questions, schedule interviews, and communicate key information with them before and after the interview.

All this saves you time and keeps the process fair. And you can focus your efforts on conducting the interviews and choosing the right candidates.

2. Simplifying HR functions

Because AI tech is available 24/7 and able to eliminate human errors from everyday processes, it can create a better HR experience for employees and managers.

For instance, you can automate your PTO request procedure so employees don’t have to check in directly with HR to plan out their time off. They can enter their request directly into a system that checks the dates against other employees’ approved PTO. The system can let the employee know right away whether they’re likely to get it approved.

Reducing the time managers and HR spend away from work to coordinate schedules frees them up for more important tasks. And employees aren’t left waiting as they try to make plans.

3. Improving onboarding processes

A new employee’s onboarding experience has a big impact on their job satisfaction and performance, and subsequently, on retention rates.

AI can simplify things by streamlining and automating a lot of the work involved. For example, it can:

  • Automatically verify employment documentation
  • Manage employee requests for hardware or account access
  • Answer FAQs at key points in the process
  • Deliver company policies and procedures
  • Inform new hires about the team they’re joining or specific tasks they’re assigned

4. Developing a more useful training strategy

AI in your training programs can tailor the learning experience to employee needs. You can implement it in your courses to assess employees’ knowledge and recommend specific training programs to bring them up to speed.

You can also use it to sift through company training metrics to determine which employees need more training. Or, to help identify possible career paths based on training history and needs.

With the right AI tools, you can ensure your employees learn faster and focus on the skills they need to keep up in their field.

AI in HR: Pros and cons | eFront

The bad: Limitations of AI

For all of its benefits, AI is not flawless. It still requires human programming, which means there’s room for potential errors and biases. If used too frequently to replace regular human interactions, the technology can also start to make your work environment feel distant and alienating.

If you don’t keep these concerns in mind, you risk making your hiring and HR processes less useful and more painful for current and potential employees. This, in turn, will hurt employee satisfaction and your company’s retention rates.

In that case, AI is not just not helpful. It also causes new issues within your company and your people.

The ugly: The cons of AI in HR

AI isn’t a replacement for actual human involvement. In fact, there are cases where artificial intelligence is a detriment to you and your employees.

Watch out for these pitfalls as you integrate machine learning and other “smart” technology into your processes.

1. Introducing machine-generated errors

Computers aren’t always the right choice for doing analysis. Errors in the programming can result in misinterpretation of data or taking into account the wrong factors when sorting through candidates.

Be cautious of leaving important reports entirely up to AI.

2. Perpetuating biases in hiring

Using AI to sort through candidates can unintentionally create biases and eliminate qualified, diverse candidates. If the initial parameters you set up in the program include implicit bias, it will come through in the results you get.

Similarly, some categories can’t be generalized widely. For instance, job boards use algorithms to get your job in front of candidates. However, often those algorithms are targeted at who they think is likely to click on the job vs. who the most qualified candidate is. This can reinforce less-than-helpful stereotypes around specific roles.

3. Some decisions require human involvement

While AI is great for analyzing data and presenting useful conclusions for decision-making, it can’t always pick up on important, non-technical nuances.

For instance, it can’t consider things like company culture and values when evaluating job candidates. If you leave the decisions completely up to AI, you may end up with a pool of candidates who are technically proficient but who won’t thrive in your office environment.

4. Increased risks to cybersecurity

Chatbots can be great vehicles for streamlining routine HR transactions. However, they’re also easy targets for hackers. Sharing sensitive personal or company data through these apps could leave you open to cyberattacks or identity theft.

With or without AI, it’s still Human Resources Management

No technology can fully replace humans. Even those AI-based tools that automate tasks are made by humans and, therefore, prone to errors.

Artificial intelligence does have a place in HR. You just need to remember the keys that will help you take advantage of its good points while avoiding potential dangers. Build and use AI tools with equity and empathy in mind and take proper precautions when it comes to security.

With the right approach, you can integrate AI successfully into your HR processes to keep your company at the forefront of today’s evolving workplace.

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