It is an exciting time for Human Resources. Data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are evolving HR in order to amplify organizational growth. A 2020 Forbes online article explains, “Intelligent, data-driven HR is transforming many aspects of how HR teams serve the people in their organizations. The technology is changing fast, too – faster than even I would have anticipated five years ago. That means how HR teams function in just a few years’ time will probably be very different again.” In this Astronology® we briefly discuss the pros, cons, and impact of using data driven analytics and AI in Human Resources.
The Benefits of a Data-Driven HR
Properly collecting and reviewing data can help improve decision making in Human Resources. For instance, as mentioned in a previous Astronology®, IBM has been able to use people analytics to understand their retention challenges. They developed the “Proactive Retention” program. It has allowed them to predict at a 95% accuracy rate which employees are likely to leave and pinpoint the best way to retain these employees. The program has saved IBM $270 million dollars.
In using data analytics HR can go beyond identifying problem areas (I.e., “our turnover is 15%”). By collecting and analyzing data such as employee satisfaction surveys and exit surveys HR can address the “why metrics.” This information allows HR to begin addressing why the issue exists and provide quality solutions to remedy it.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools also is helping HR departments by taking on time consuming administrative tasks. A Mercer report found that 88% of companies globally use some form of AI. Some of those uses include
- Using chatbots to look up information such as company policies or benefits
- Identifying the best job candidate on publicly available data
- Providing recommendations for training and developing employees
- Using chatbots to engage candidates during recruitment
- Screening and assessing candidates during recruitment
By using AI to handle these tasks, HR can focus on bigger, more strategic tasks that require greater focus and the human touch.
The Challenges of a Data-Driven HR
While data can be valuable to HR for making impactful decisions and AI useful in supporting HR by taking on tedious tasks, there are also disadvantages. For instance, there is a growing concern that as AI evolves, the use will develop from handling menial daily tasks to AI taking on larger tasks. Some fear it will eventually lead to organizations rendering the HR sector redundant. The HR field is named Human Resources for a reason. If an organization begins to lean too heavily on data and AI, they will lose the human aspect. This will ultimately produce more losses than gains.
Deciding on what information needs to be quantified also is challenging for many organizations. Does every topic need to be polled? Should we track every activity an employee performs? How frequently should organizations conduct employee satisfaction surveys? What information is relevant during an exit survey? How do we take this data and draw accurate conclusions to create a confident action plan? Questions like these plague organizations when they begin using more data in their decision making.
Additionally, relying on data driven insights is still a growing aspect of HR. This means espousal by stakeholders and employees is still uncertain. Decisions cannot be made, nor followed through on, if either group questions if the data being used to make such decisions are reliable.
Looking into the Future
Although there is a looming sense of doom when it comes to combining data analytics, AI, and human resources, many experts view this combination as a positive. Most believe only certain administrative tasks will be reduced, which will allow HR teams to adapt and refocus. Three suggestions HR leaders can start doing to embrace the future of HR include the following:
• Consider the Future of Your Job – A 2020 Forbes article explains, “Think hard about how much of what you do every day is repetitive and could potentially be done by intelligent algorithms or robots. It’s now possible to completely or partially automate many HR tasks. But the areas that computers still struggle with include creativity, problem-solving and connecting with people on a human level – all of which are vital skills in HR. These are the areas where HR can add real value to the organization, so it makes sense to develop your skills in these areas and reshape your job to do more of the things that robots or algorithms can’t.”
• Become Data-Savvy – No, you don’t have to become a data scientist. But it is advantageous to understand the possibilities of data and how you can use it help solve problems and become more efficient. Demonstrating your familiarity with data by producing positive results will inspire support from employees and other stakeholders.
• Make Friends with Your AI Colleagues – AI assistants such as Alexa and Siri are becoming more commonplace. While this technology is exciting to see, many are still nervous about embracing AI technology and systems. Keeping up with HR AI information will help alleviate any hesitancy if and when such technology makes its way into your organization.
Is your organization advocating to use data to make better decisions? What type of HR AI do you think your organization will adopt? Share all your thoughts in the comment box below.