Can AI help put the human back in HR?

Chief transformation officer to discuss how tech can be used to bolster leader's EQ skills at HRD's upcoming HR Tech Summit Canada

Can AI help put the human back in HR?

With technology continuing to reshape the way we work, it’s becoming a case of adapt or die for HR leaders.

Speaking to HRD, Marissa Andrada, chief transformation officer at pet-conscious  community organization WUF, maintains that every company is facing a state of total transformation.

“Make no mistake - the role of HR is swiftly evolving,” she says. “HR may not be sufficiently equipped to effectively assess whether the respective organization  needs to become more efficient and more productive. How do we measure this? Furthermore, what must the organization achieve in the next 18 – 24 months? Why are we going through this change?

“I believe that technology can help accelerate the HR’s ability to understand the state of capability for an organization.”

Using AI to identify future 'must have' skill sets

It’s this very point that will, no doubt, be the subject of spirited discourse at HRD’s HR Tech Summit Canada. In her exclusive keynote speech, Andrada will reveal techniques to help transform your internal people capabilities and culture while simultaneously driving growth – a key initiative for her at WUF.

As she tells HRD, larger companies are currently navigating a paradigm shift – in essence, seeking to leverage the power of tech (AI in particular), to attain the next level of excellence.

“There are a few companies that are pivoting from being learning companies to being your partner in workforce assessment and planning. They can do a deep dive using a large language model to understand all of the roles that exist within one’s organization. Then, based on the objectives that they’re trying to accomplish, this technology can actually help you accelerate your ability to identify which roles are going to be most impacted by AI either by acceleration or by augmentation.

‘This same technology can then help you decide if you can build quickly, or whether you need to “buy” different talent; it will identify the top 10 skills and experiences that you need to expose to people immediately.”

81% of HR leaders already using AI

AI and HR are becoming increasingly entwined. According to research from Gartner, 81% of HR leaders have already explored or implemented AI into their internal HR processes in order to bolster efficiency. Furthermore, a study from Harvard Business Review found that organizations that use AI in recruitment decisions are 46% more likely to make successful hires. But it’s not just strategy that AI benefits – the tech can also be used to optimize the overall employee experience.

“One way in which technology has become quite additive is in regards to culture,” adds Andrada, who is also a board member for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. “If you consider the work on which HR needs to stay laser-focused  – ensuring that employees are quickly rooted in the culture – there are also tools available that can help automate the process for cultivating environments where people can thrive; leverage existing technology to help you effectively map through this.”

AI predicting ‘employee emotions’ during virtual meetings

With AI becoming increasingly important in HR, what comes next is undoubtedly top of mind for practitioners as well as CEOs. Andrada contends that the evolution of remote meeting technologies will continue to peak.

We use Zoom currently; some use Teams or Webex. The various meeting technologies and their abilities to record the conversation, so you can review the notes, is fascinating. How it's evolving, how it’s assessing for context and emotion and meaning – these technologies are giving managers vital clues as to the level of engagement and attention that's actually happening in a virtual meeting. It’s also helping leaders be more effective by allowing them to be effective coaches committed to bringing the best out in their people.”

This shift is not merely about improving efficiency, but enhancing the human aspects of management. According to Andrada, technology is becoming a pivotal tool in developing deeper understanding and empathy within team dynamics.

“Paying more attention to the social and cognitive skills that are actually happening in these meeting technologies is an undeniable game changer,” she tells HRD. “Whatever stage new technology is at, the latest innovation and disruption is humanity. AI is forcing leaders and organizations to think about the humanity - the impact on their people and culture. This technology is the closest you can get to mirroring, not replacing, the invaluable skills that humans are learning.”

Exclusive panel insight: Transforming HR to improve performance, growth

The ultimate goal for Andrada? Using this new technology – in whatever form it may come – to champion her people, as well as help leaders nurture their teams’ social, emotional and cognitive skills.

“The goal is bringing the best out of your individual team members,” she adds. “A leader who fully “sees” and “hears” their individual team members will enable and inspire their people to have the confidence necessary to lend their full selves to the organization.”

In Andrada’s upcoming keynote session, she’ll hit upon this very topic – how disruptive tech can be harnessed and leveraged by HR leaders in previously unimagined ways. With over 25 years of experience in activating organizational hyper-growth, Andrada has been a catalyst in transforming cultures at brands such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Starbucks Coffee, Red Bull and GameStop.

Don’t miss out on your chance to hear Andrada and other industry icons – such as Hudson Bay, IBM and RBCbook your exclusive tickets to HRD’s HR Tech Summit here.

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