Should HR offload these tasks to robots?

AI could render industry professionals extinct if they don’t understand how to harness it, expert warns

Should HR offload these tasks to robots?
If you’re feeling threatened by artificial intelligence encroaching on your HR role, embracing the technology is probably the last thing you feel like doing – but an expert says it’s the best way to ensure your career survival.

Daneal Charney combines her passion for HR and tech every day as director of talent for MaRS Venture Services in Toronto, a leading research and technology institute where she works with entrepreneurs in high-growth sectors to scale their talent and become competitive employers.

Charney, an expert when it comes to understanding how AI and automation will affect workplaces in future, will be part of a panel discussion on how tech is transforming work at the HR Leaders Summit in November.

She spoke to HRD about how HR professionals can prepare for the ongoing rise of technology, and what it really means for the future of “human” resources.

Where have we seen the biggest changes to HR and workplaces from AI and automation in recent times?
Talent acquisition has seen the lion’s share of benefits from AI and automation in HR, from sourcing to engagement to selection. Machines do a better job of taking candidates through a recruitment funnel especially in larger enterprises where there is high volume, repetitive tasks, and lots of data.

The upsides of AI and automation are already here – for example, innovative recruiting platforms like Ideal provide better candidate engagement, less bias and may result in less customer churn especially in B2C businesses.

MaRS Work & Learning sector has seen unprecedented growth in innovative Canadian platforms that leverage AI to assess candidate fit, including Plum, Clearfit, Fortay, Knockri, Karen AI & Ideal.
Where will the biggest changes be in the next five years and beyond?
Progressive organizations are shifting towards making HR responsible for the entire employee experience (including parts of marketing, communications, real estate, social responsibility) – models adopted by Airbnb, Paypal, Cisco, Google, to name a few. This offers potential for AI to enrich the end-to-end employee experience – from the first touch point with your employer brand as a candidate to the employee exiting.

The future employee experience envisioned:
  • Virtual reality & AI used prior to onboarding (and with distribution teams) to decrease time to learn the business, product, a new role.
  • AI leveraging predictive analytics to recommend future learning modules to existing employees based on employee/business needs and preferences 
  • New career paths and job opportunities discovered through a matching algorithm, increasing employee motivation and churn
  • Chatbots offering realtime responses to employees most common, day-to-day questions
  • Personalized rewards based on employee performance (like Nudge Rewards)
  • Underpinning all of this value, AI can be leveraged to gain deeper insight on employees in your organization – to help identify people challenges before they become a problem for example surfacing trends in turnover rates or engagement levels that usually take months otherwise. HR can provide these insight to their executive teams using people analytics platforms like Receptiviti.

What will AI and automation replace, including in the way of jobs? And what can’t they replace?
Automation has already affected portions of almost every job to a greater or lesser degree.   Brookfield Institute predicts that automation will impact 43 percent of all jobs in the next 10-20 years.

Those jobs that rely on high-level decision making, planning or creative work are less likely to be impacted by AI.

What do HR professionals and employers need to do to adjust? Should they embrace it and jump on board, educate themselves and proceed with caution, or stick to what they know?
HR leaders need to be bold, early adopters of innovative platforms that can enhance the employee experience. AI provides the opportunity for HR to re-envision their role in a way that has the greatest impact on the business. If they can outsource manual and repetitive activities to a machine, they can concentrate on work that requires skills of the future - social intelligence, creativity, complex thinking, and design and systems-thinking. 

Avoid extinction! Start now to learn about innovative HR platforms and basic AI principles.

Daneal Charney will speak on AI, HR, and the future of the workplace at the HR Leaders Summit in November.

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