How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing the Role of HR
After decades of speculation, hype, and more often, failure, artificial intelligence is finally on the upswing. It has infiltrated our everyday lives and is poised to change everything. In the relatively near future, we can expect AI to put driverless cars in operation as delivery and taxi vehicles. Machines will outperform doctors at diagnosing certain illnesses. And we’ll have smarter virtual assistants that will be able to do much more than just find us a good place to eat or remind us to take out the trash.
We don’t have to wait for the future to see AI in action across the enterprise. Technology is already available that utilizes artificial intelligence to help us make faster decisions, automate tedious manual processes, and sift through large amounts of data in an instant.
In few areas does this have stronger implications than in HR — a function that’s historically late to the technology party, and one that often finds itself in a reactive, rather than a proactive, position. AI has impacted the way Glint’s OD team works and serves our clients everyday (e.g., analyses that used to take weeks now take hours), and we’re really excited for the future.
Have the Robots Arrived?
What does AI really mean? In laymen’s terms, AI is the capability of machines to mimic intelligent human behavior. And where the AI enthusiasts of the ‘60s and ‘70s envisioned the replication of the whole of intelligent life into one form (i.e., robots), the modern materialization of AI takes shape in much smaller chunks, instead mimicking the small, individual components that make up human intelligence.
Without knowing it, you almost certainly use artificial intelligence multiple times every day. Siri, Google, and Waze are all prime examples of artificial intelligence, using a combination of realtime intelligence and predictive analytics to help users make better decisions while eliminating the tedious work of identifying patterns and analyzing possible outcomes.
Today’s Artificial Intelligence Is Really Augmented Intelligence
We’re a long way from seeing robots replace humans in our daytoday tasks. To be sure, the AI that we’ve come to rely on is better characterized as a different kind of AI: augmented intelligence, or the harnessing of automatic data analysis and machinegenerated guidance that helps humans perform tasks better.
Augmented intelligence means saving time, energy, and money in the process of analyzing, making sense of, and having an impact with data. AI surfaces hidden patterns and anomalies that would normally take hours, weeks, or even months to identify. It can predict outcomes based on millions of dispersed sources of information, such as employee demographics, performance information, and broader business metrics, and prescribe calibrated solutions and interventions to help people solve problems and reach goals. All of this happens in real time, and empowers people to make better, faster decisions with higher confidence in a successful outcome. Augmented intelligence frees us up to apply our time and resources to more creative, collaborative, and strategic pursuits.
AI: The Key to More PeopleCentric HR
Many enterprise applications, from sales to marketing to legal, have already seen success harnessing artificial intelligence.
Clever combinations of domain expertise, machine learning algorithms, and massive computing power make it easy for companies to target online advertisements, find qualified leads (needles in a haystack), and propose solutions for prospective customers (behavioral insights).
In legal, AI helps replace or supplement complicated processes, like searching millions of documents for the most relevant content based on search history, or even spotting problems in a legal document before you sign, even without the assistance of a lawyer in some situations.
Relatively few advances have been widely adopted in the HR space, and there is ample opportunity to automate routine tasks and free up HR to spend more time understanding their clients and helping them solve complex problems. Imagine a world where all employees, regardless of level and location, can receive tailored, multisourced, evidencebased feedback on how to be happier and more successful at work. Or where the HR team is alerted to the possibility that top performers are on their way out — before even they know it — and prescribes the most effective interventions.
By providing the right insights at the right time, these technologies will allow HR to become even more peoplecentric. We’ll spend less time identifying which groups of employees need the most support or running reports, and more time being creative, collaborative, and strategic in helping people succeed at work.
To learn more about AI for HR, including specific ways artificial intelligence can improve outcomes for HR professionals, join our upcoming webinar, “AI for HR: A Primer on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for People Pros”, on Thursday, April 28 at 1PM ET/10AM PT. To register go to: http://www.hci.org/lib/aihrprimermachinelearningandartificialintelligencepeoplepros
Director of Organizational Science at Glint Inc.