HR's lack of understanding of AI slows down implementation: white paper

'There's a hesitation attached to the lack of clarity around AI's scope to transform HR'

HR's lack of understanding of AI slows down implementation: white paper

HR leaders' lack of understanding on generative AI could be the reason why the emerging technology's use across HR departments remains limited, according to a new white paper.

Research from The Josh Bersin Company said that despite appreciation for the tech, many HR leaders admitted to having limited understanding of generative AI.

These findings come from the advisory firm's interviews among senior AI-aware execs, engineers, and product leaders, as well as global HR leaders at its recent Irresistible 2023 conference.

"There's a hesitation attached to the lack of clarity around AI's scope to transform HR," CEO Josh Bersin said in a media release.

The findings come amid expectations that HR leaders will be one of the leaders of AI transition in workplaces.

But as Gartner recently found, only five per cent of HR leaders have implemented generative AI in their function, while only nine per cent plan to do so in the future. A majority of HR leaders said they are still currently exploring how to use the tech.

Apprehension remains

According to the white paper, AI has "considerable scope in unlocking talent intelligence," which can help employers who are seeking new tools that will help them recruit, develop, and retain talent.

HR leaders using generative AI have been mostly using it on administrative tasks, document generation, and on creating job descriptions, according to Gartner.

But Josh Bersin's white paper found that many HR leaders remain apprehensive about AI's role and are not sure about the technology's potential for HR and talent-related use cases.

Bersin, however, reminded them that this is not the first time that CHROs and their workforces have had to adapt to emerging tech.

"Our aim is to help overcome that sense of intimidation," he said. "Specifically, we've translated AI barriers into a relatable problem and reminded the CHRO that this is not the first time that HR departments have had to adapt and evolve their technology architecture or their data and how they harness it."

According to Bersin, HR leaders should be more comfortable with the technology and what it can do.

"We show that could be [about] better targeting and reducing the time to hire, or in identifying less obvious talent pipelines, among many, many use cases," he said.

"Ultimately, we are clarifying AI's role in the future of HR so that employers can proactively convert its potential."

HR leaders have previously expressed fears of AI potentially replacing them - a concern confirmed as recent findings say "most HR leaders" expect a decrease in headcount within their departments as AI gets implemented.

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