Automation is not really a concept that’s new to human resources (HR) departments. The average organization today has automated a significant proportion of their HR processes thanks to the availability of free, low cost and/or cloud-based tools for everything from payroll to recruitment.
However, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) technology is giving new impetus and possibilities in the deployment of automation for HR management. HR is a fairly broad discipline that overseas multiple processes in the organization. Nevertheless, there are certain aspects of HR that are likely to benefit the most from AI and automation.
No individual can ever be absolutely objective in their decision-making. Every decision we make in life always has some implicit bias based on our beliefs, experiences and perceptions around ethnicity, gender, nationality, vocation, degree course, neighborhood, attire and more. Such bias is inevitable in HR processes including recruitment, performance appraisal, job promotion and salary increments.
AI and automation tools can help eliminate human biases in key HR decision-making processes such as the evaluation of a large pool of job applicants. And whereas even AI algorithms may have biases, they can always be reviewed and reprogrammed to optimize objectivity. It’s difficult to say the same for humans who are set in their ways.
Some advertised positions will attract hundreds or thousands of candidates. Manually evaluating such a massive set of applications can take days even for organizations with large HR departments.
AI and automation software can come in handy by automatically eliminating applicants who don’t meet the must-have attributes and progressively narrowing down candidates until you eventually remain with those who satisfy all the requirements and thus qualify for an interview.
During the recruitment process, the employer is often seen as being the center of attraction and the party all applicants seek to appease. However, recruitment also places the employer’s reputation on the line. Candidates who have an unpleasant experience are likely to share it in their social circle and could even post their displeasure on Facebook Reviews or Google Reviews.
One area recruiters often drop the ball is communication. They’ll especially leave unsuccessful candidates in the dark on the status of their application. AI and automation tools such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) can be used to automatically message successful and unsuccessful candidates after each recruitment stage. This simultaneously alleviates the dozens of calls and emails the recruiter would otherwise be inundated with from candidates looking to establish the status of their application.
HR has to ensure the advertising, recruitment, shortlisting, interviewing, hiring and payroll processes comply with applicable laws. Depending on the nature of the business and the jurisdiction it operates under, we may be talking about hundreds of different laws and regulations. Worse still, this legal environment is not static. Changes occur.
Manually keeping track of this complex regulatory landscape would be extremely time-consuming. It doesn’t help that there are hefty penalties for non-compliance and the risk of lawsuits. By tapping into the power of automation and AI, HR teams can reduce the risk of non-compliance. Some cloud-based HRIS systems will even automatically check for regulatory changes and prompt to check if you want to adopt the new legal framework.
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Once the business settles on a certain candidate as the most suitable for the role, next comes the onboarding process. The new employee has to be added to HR payroll systems, enrolled in multiple programs, have profiles created on diverse systems and be expected to read and agree to several policies. These tasks are mundane but necessary.
Automating this process and using intelligent bots that serve as virtual assistants can speed up this process. The bots could fill virtual forms based on the new employee’s already provided information (e.g. the resume) and the questions they answer in relation to insurance, benefits and taxation.
There’s sometimes not much an employer can do to dissuade an employee who has made up their mind to leave. However, some workers may be thinking about leaving simply because they have been unable to find an outlet to voice their issues.
AI and automation tools can help keep track of an employee’s computer activity such as websites visited and the amount of time spent on non-work related activity. It could also use natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to monitor tone and intent in work emails with a special focus on signs of anger, fatigue, lethargy and disinterest.
Based on this information, HR teams can work with line managers to proactively intervene. A decision can eventually be made on whether to lure back the employee or arrange for their replacement.
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Many of us are familiar with the suggestions that come after watching a video on apps like Netflix and YouTube. These recommendations are automatically generated based on an analysis of the most recent videos you’ve watched. It’s all about giving you a personalized experience.
This kind of AI-dependent suggestions can be applied to an organization’s learning and development program. Using AI and automation, HR can track the actions and interactions an employee is engaged in to identify the type of training that will be most suitable in expanding their skillset and growing their career.
AI and automation are playing a more central role in today’s organization than ever before. The transformation was initially focused on core business operations but it didn’t take long for enterprises to discover that they are missing out on a tremendous opportunity in improving their HR processes. Merging AI and automation into HR functions will improve and benefit the employee experience. AI-powered HR applications have huge potential to grow productivity.
Of course, simply installing AI-powered automation software will not magically deliver results. Rather, determine what you would like your HR to be, what areas are most in need of technological efficiency and how the new technology would fit into your corporate culture, before you eventually settle on a solution.
Remember that it’s your employees who’ll be most impacted by the new system and changes in HR processes. Ergo, make sure any automation and AI system you procure focuses on employee-centric outcomes.
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