As a sector that is powered by people for people, HR is still playing catch up when it comes to embracing artificial intelligence.
While the sector is fast adopting HR management software to automate process, there is still an untapped opportunity to leverage AI and machine-learning. Ernst & Young simply defines AI as a ‘tool trained to do what a human can do’. This naturally raises concern in an industry predicated on human interaction. Just 6% of HR professionals use AI in their work, according to research by Oracle.
However, as with most sectors, HR leaders are recognising that a hybrid approach, whereby AI complements human endeavour, can free up more time, budget and resource to focus on the things that matter – people, vision and strategy. Leveraging AI to answer employee queries and do the light lifting on tasks and process means teams can take a step back to plan and make proactive strategic decisions about the future rather than just react to the heat of the everyday.
How is AI being deployed in HR right now?
AI is already being deployed and tested, but the focus for now is generally around recruitment, on boarding and training. For example, recruiters don’t need to spend hours trawling through hundreds of CVs. Machine-learning can match candidates and create interview shortlists for real people to do the hiring.
Helping HR teams manage employee benefit programmes
The application of AI in wider HR functions like employee benefits is still in unchartered waters. But, HR teams need to be prepared for this. Benefits packages are fast becoming a critical recruitment and retention tool. AI technology will revolutionise the way HR teams approach and manage benefit programmes. It will also enrich the experience of employees who use chat bots outside of work and expect the ease of convenience of digital assistants in the workplace.
The application of chat bot technology in employee benefits will go beyond answering routine questions and automating process. As digital assistants learn more, they will be able to educate employees and provide targeted, personalised advice by analysing employee information, behavioural patterns and other relevant data points. They can help workers make healthier lifestyle choices. Chat bots can send helpful reminders and keep the lines of communication open.
There will always be a need to escalate more complex queries and issues to a real person. People will always want the human touch and talk things through. But, chat bots are set to disrupt employee benefits provision.
Are you prepared?
Most HR professionals (46%) believe that AI and automation will be advanced enough to impact workforce planning within the next 2 to 5 years, according to Harvey Nash. Meanwhile, MetLife discovered that 56% of benefits decision makers have a positive view of automation technologies like AI. 49% of employees are optimistic too. The key to unlocking the potential of the technology is giving employees a richer, more convenient, personalised experience, while freeing up time to do more meaningful work and focus on people not process. Are you getting prepared?