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AI Powered HR

By Sean M. Murphy, Director, Global Talent Acquisition, United Technologies Corporation [NYSE: UTX]

Sean M. Murphy, Director, Global Talent Acquisition, United Technologies Corporation [NYSE: UTX]

What is it?

AI….. Artificial Intelligence – what does it mean? Robots? Talking screens? Computers overtaking humanity to form a new normal? Although fantastic to think about, the reality is that AI is rapidly becoming a mainstream strategy that HR Technology professionals must consider as a critical element to their technical roadmap.

So, what is it? Artificial Intelligence is the technology used to complete a task that has normally been completed by a human being – essentially a tool that is trained to do what a human does. There are many advantages of AI-powered HR programming; however, the most impactful is the ability to rapidly complete and scale a transactional procedure due to computer processing speeds and high-quality data consumption thresholds. In other words, AI enables machines to “think like humans” and perform tasks such as problem-solving, reasoning, and language processing.

"AI offers the opportunity for Talent Acquisition professionals to eliminate manual, time-consuming transactions through automation in order to free-up time for more strategically focused work such as passive talent sourcing and employer branding"

Why do you want it?

Until recently, the primary benefits of HR technology were to improve efficiency and drive cost-savings by automating repetitive tasks. Today, smarter technologies enable HR teams to solve critical business challenges, drive performance improvements, and positively impact larger business outcomes. AI is driving HR transformation from transactional to strategic to indispensable.

Where to begin?

So, where does one begin an AI-powered HR journey? Admittedly, it is a growing field with a list of offerings that is constantly evolving – choosing your AI engagement is not a simple task. Developing a clearly defined business outcome from your AI engagement and ensuring stakeholder alignment is key and critical to ensuring success.

When choosing your AI engagement, you should begin with what you know, where you are comfortable, and where your business has achieved process maturity. My domain expertise is Talent Acquisition - so I will illustrate this space for context. Talent Acquisition has emerged as an early adapter for initiatives to include automation platforms for Job applicant assessment, Candidate Experience enhancement, and matching/sourcing tools. AI has also purportedly been proven to remove human-bias from an applicant decision process; however, this concept is heavily debated and yet to be objectively resolved. AI offers the opportunity for Talent Acquisition professionals to eliminate manual, time-consuming transactions through automation to free-up time for more strategically focused work such as passive talent sourcing and employer branding.

Key use case examples of AI in recruiting:

• Lead nurturing
• Candidate screening
• Interviewing
• Onboarding

What to consider when adopting AI technologies in HR?

With a seemingly endless list of AI opportunities to consider for your HR transformation, you must approach with a tolerance for risk. Automated Intelligence is novel technology and has yet to be proven in many areas of HR application. As such, AI application barriers tend to be high and prone to elevated levels of scrutiny. Many AI offerings are in early stages of development, mostly Proof of Concept (POC) maturity levels, which are not yet established for Commercial-grade applications.

Keep customers first –Your customers will be affected by AI functionality in multiple ways, so it is important to focus on both needs and possible impacts. While automation efforts are intended to solve a problem or improve an experience, they can also have an adverse effect on target customers if an approach is not thoroughly mapped out. Always consider the entire customer life-cycle of an AI engagement before creating your solution.

AI for HR will intersect with Employment Compliance - Conscious HR Leaders must balance the desire to augment new advances in AI with current compliance constraints imposed through regulations. Pay attention to Government policies that manage the space(s) which you choose to implement AI.

Final Word

There is an array of effective HR-focused AI platforms being introduced at a break-neck pace! In order to choose the best platform for your business needs, you must:

1. Be precise: Ensure clarity of purpose regarding the problem you intend to solve and the expected outcomes of your program–pick a specific problem in which AI can deliver a logical and straightforward solution in order for your stakeholders to buy-in.

2. Be thoughtful: AI is a new frontier for HR, and success will require continued assessment and awareness of business guidelines and controls. Remember that HR compliance is real and slow to adapt – ensure your new automation initiative does not put your business at risk.

3. Be persistent: An AI-powered HR journey is akin to a marathon… not a sprint – plan to invest plenty of time to identify the appropriate platform for your business and test, test, and re-test until you get it right. Don’t get easily discouraged by early failures, as they are also part of the journey experience.

The proving ground for Artificial Intelligence in HR is still a wholly new concept– it presents the opportunity to enhance your HR team’s effectiveness drastically, but just as easily can de-rail a well-planned transformation event.

To ensure success, remember to gain customer buy-in upfront, stay consistent with your test and implementation plans throughout, and don’t be afraid to modify your approach as you progress. Do all of these things well, and you are well on your way to an AI-powered HR game-changing outcome!

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