The pros and cons of AI for HR

'Businesses and HR need to make informed decisions about whether to embrace AI and move with the change or to hold off'

The pros and cons of AI for HR

Understanding what technological developments will benefit a business and what might cause angst amongst staff due to job losses and job restructuring is a difficult line to balance.

Artificial intelligence, for example, is sweeping the workplace with unrelenting change and human resources is no exception to this unparallel force.

So how should HR respond to this dramatic transformation?

Challenges of AI for HR

Because AI generates unoriginal content – it pulls data from many sources to create copy - it can cause confusion if people believe what has been produced is in accordance with legal requirements or is original work, according to Stephen Roebuck, associate director, advice, and consultancy at Employsure.

“Firstly, misattribution,” Roebuck said. “Employees claiming work as their own, which was generated with the use of AI, can make it difficult to know when an employee’s expertise ends and ChatGPT begins.   

“There have also been examples on the internet of AI models creating something out of nothing – essentially fabrication or hallucination of content. AI systems use association and connections between words, but they don’t actually ‘know’ anything and lack wisdom and human experience.” 

Finally, the output of an AI model can vary greatly dependent upon its prompts and information provided, he said.

In a space like HR, relying on documents created by AI can expose you to fines and penalties because it doesn’t know what is right or wrong.”

In response, policies are advisable, Roebuck said.

“Most existing workplace policies and procedures have been written prior to this technology being created,” he said.

“Essentially, there are no broadly followed workplace rules yet. There’s currently no standard approach to be referenced as best practice but one will need to be developed over time in parallel with the emergence and popularity of this technology.”

Advantages of AI for HR

Many process-orientated jobs such as creating forms, updating forms and basic customer service enquires are already being replaced by AI. From a HR perspective, it could lead to more administrative functions becoming redundant, which also has the positive effect of allowing individuals to focus on more strategic work.

“AI will increase the pace we can work at,” Cian Zoller, human resources director for ServiceNow APAC, said.

“It can't replace innovation, so we will have more opportunity to be creative.”

The development of AI will mean the skills people need in the future will change, requiring less deep technical knowledge, and more business experience and strategic thinking, he said.

“With the introduction of AI, we've gone from about 16% of our cases being solved through self-service three years ago to more than 80% today, which has led to significant cost savings, and a better service for our team.

“People shouldn't have to wait for responses to easy queries - it's a bad experience for them, and frustrating for the teams responding. We're all so used to using chatbots these days, and people prefer to get things done themselves, when is convenient for them, rather than having to do it only in office hours and waiting for solutions.”

People don't feel fulfilled in their careers when responding to repetitive requests or administration, Zoller said. “AI allows our team to do work that is high value and high impact, boosting how much they enjoy the work they do.”

No easy answers for HR

Each business and respective industry will have to decide whether AI is for them and what element they can use to increase efficiency within their day-to-day management.

“We currently stand at a crossroads,” Roebuck said. “Businesses and human resource practitioners need to make their own informed decision about whether to embrace the use of AI and move with the change or to hold off.” 

There are several benefits to early adoption of this new tool, he said, “including reaching a point where it is integrated into your methods of working and practice as the technology improves, becoming more powerful and accurate.   

“In short, the answer is yes — but how AI will become part of human resources and business operations remains unclear.”

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