Taking the drudgework out of HR
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) properly will set you apart from “old-fashioned” manual companies. Candidates look upon sophisticated AI-driven HR as more efficient, progressive, and desirable than nostalgia-driven methodologies from the last century.
AI algorithms also remove language biases in advertising for positions so as not to disclude viable candidates through innate prejudices in wording choices. This unconscious bias can cause your company to overlook a great candidate, extending your search, and will end up increasing your costs while adding unnecessarily lost productivity.
Why AI Great for HR
Going “by our gut” is no different than early aviators “flying by the seat of their pants.” Lacking instrumentation, a lot of early pilots died that way. Judging a candidate by how you “feel” they will perform is silly when you can have data-driven metrics to inform your decision.
We may think that we are terrific at judging character, but the truth is that we tend to focus on our successes and ignore our failures. If you hire a rock star salesperson, you can ride that success for a long time, in spite of the 19 “less-spectacular” or outright “failed” hires you made this year. Wrong hires cost money and can be ameliorated when we use the AI tools that are now at our disposal.
Interview with the Time-Vampire
Letting an AI system go through your list of potential candidates and applicants can separate the wheat from the chaff almost instantaneously—something beyond the capabilities of a mere human being. A properly trained AI can isolate the important factors just like a human but at much greater speed.
AIs can be trained in colloquial English so that they can recognize that a Domestic Engineer and Housekeeper are the same thing; that there are shared abilities among different designations; that candidates may not necessarily need to be eliminated because they don’t use the precise wording we are expecting.
More importantly, the fewer people interviewed, the less time it takes, the fewer costs incurred (flights & hotels for out-of-town candidates), and the sooner you can fill that chair! Efficiency lets you get back to work that supports your existing employees.
Attention = Retention for New Employees
Getting someone onboard is not the end of the task—new hires leave at an astonishing rate because they don’t feel supported. Traditionally HR must dedicate a lot of time to onboarding a new employee. AI automates all those repetitive tasks with Customized Integration for each position. Typically such an AI can:
➢ Program a blank laptop for a new employee with key software installed based entirely on the position;
➢ Provision workspace based on requirements of the position and physical location of people with whom they need to interact;
➢ Manage the Q&A for choosing benefits based on what they have available from a spouse, and what is available for selection;
➢ Q&A for Training and Growth Ops;
➢ Interdepartmental Transfers for Inside Positions;
➢ In this age of BYOD (Bring Your Device), training can be unique, per person, and available on their tablet or smartphone;
➢ AI is a resource for answering questions immediately—available 24/7;
➢ AI knows the needs for the job and offers relevant information.
Knowledge is Power
AI Training means that your staff is fully informed, and that applies to everyone, not merely your latest acquisitions. When everyone has the most contemporaneous, up-to-date information and policies, decisions are easier, congruent, and feel more “sensible.”
Granted, Alice in Accounting and Steve in Shipping don’t need to know the same things. Customization of training means that less time is consumed because “focus & specificity” is the most practical and efficient way.
Training When You Need It
When you add Timeliness of Training—providing information as it becomes important—you also achieve minimal interference with routines. The AI can recognize where or when training is needed, based on the employee’s query-types, and steer its subsequent responses. An occasional summary (daily, weekly, or monthly, as needed) will direct them to small easy-to-consume training modules to supply (or refresh) knowledge where a shortcoming is detected.
Innocuous Big Brother
AI Monitoring of activities and accomplishments allows smaller goals to be set and tracked, allowing better feedback. By keeping goals small and incremental, employees don’t get overwhelmed with their responsibilities. Instead, these tiny steps maintain engagement.
There is a lot to be said for a task with ten stages where an employee can sit back and think: “Wow, I’ve already gotten 40% of this job done…and it’s only 10:30 in the morning. Damn, I’m good!”
Please Don’t Go!
As a bonus, AI-tracking makes it easier to see lack-of-engagement in employees. We spend a huge amount of effort to corral good talent, but then let it wander away because we’re focused elsewhere.
A decrease of engagement represents the predictor of when someone will think about “heading for the door.” Identifying this in its early stages provides the perfect opportunity to re-engage them with additional training and/or incentive programs to pique interest. Providing increased job involvement with new, interesting tasks or responsibilities will increase job satisfaction, and forestall or prevent the exit.
Knowing what you Need
Predicting your staffers’ needs and dealing with them (before they identify them), automatically raises your retention rate. People like it when everything seems to “work so well” and run smoothly.
This is something most companies struggle with, and with limited success because they don’t discover problems until the day the staffer puts in their resignation. AI can see it coming before most humans would recognize it.
AI will help Managers spot employee strengths. Playing to those strengths will maximize productivity, increase job-satisfaction, and enhance self-worth. This is the ideal formula to make the job “easy” and worth keeping. Removing the humdrum and unleashing employee creativity generates job satisfaction.
Work Better Suited to a Machine
Managing all vacations, sick days, leaves, conference attendance, business travel, and so on means either that you are a) carrying a lot of data around in your head, or that b) you trust a complicated personnel management program. It also means that you c) trust many individuals to input all the data correctly.
Can you trust that all 28 of your sales people won’t abandon the office for that Miami Conference in January, leaving you with no one to respond to customers? An AI program would not permit that, probably organizing it so that 14 went to Miami in January, and another 14 went to Boston in September for a mirror conference.
It goes further such that it would monitor Holiday-Banking and enforce vacations to prevent burn-out. No, you cannot avoid two weeks of holidays every year for 26 years and retire a year early with full pay! Holiday pay would be paid out every year, and recalcitrant workers would be forbidden from working during enforced vacation time, even if they refused to book it.
Obeying the Law
It would enforce (rapidly expanding) legislation, reminding managers that contacting employees after-hours spawns significant fines in many jurisdictions on a per incident basis. Calling people after hours and on weekends leads to significant burnout, which is a huge cost of the company, but aside from the additional burden of thousands of dollars for every phone call, the manager would face discipline as well.
AI doesn’t guess when it comes to decision-making. Such a system extrapolates from knowns, detects almost-invisible trends, and finds associations and parallels too faint for humans to discover, before reaching logical (extrapolative) conclusions. Best of all, it can show you step-by-step how it concluded. No one should just “trust the machine”; we must remain alert to anomalies, but and be prepared to demand answers when something “doesn’t seem right.”
As much as we’re looking forward to AI “having all the answers,” the system is still capable of making mistakes. It may be years before they are regarded as largely infallible, and that reliability is going to be largely dependent on the quality of data that we can provide for them.
According to a recent study, more than one-quarter of HR managers said that they “don’t see the need” for AI in their field of work. The biggest problem may exist with these naysayers, but you shouldn’t necessarily remove them from the payroll either!
The ongoing theme throughout this article has been that we are trying to hold on to talented people. Just because these are the folks that tell you “HR needs Humans,” and they seem extremely stubborn, doesn’t mean they are intractable, no matter how much they protest.
HR people are a slightly different breed than your run-of-the-mill employee. They are as concerned about their jobs as any other employee, but they are also empathetic and worry about other people losing their jobs. You have to show them that implementing AI seldom reduces job numbers.
Usually it means more people and more jobs, albeit slightly (or significantly) different jobs, but usually through company-sponsored retraining rather than major staff turnovers—and helping people is their favorite thing to do! Once you demonstrate that AI relieves drudgery, spots trends sooner save money, and makes everyone’s job easier, they’ll be your best asset to persuade others.