Does HR need ground rules for ChatGPT?

Although tool can assist with tasks such as recruitment and engagement, HR leaders question ethics, accuracy

Does HR need ground rules for ChatGPT?

ChatGPT gives HR leaders new capabilities, but some worry about losing the “human” in Human Resources.

As the AI-powered technology rapidly infiltrates business, HR leaders who spoke with HRD are optimistic about its ability to streamlines tasks, such as recruitment, communication and engagement. But they’re also cautious about its potential to strip away ethics, accuracy and personalization.

“If we can validate whether ChatGPT was used to create something, will we accept someone’s resume that was written by ChatGPT — especially if it’s for a position where written communication skills are critical,” says Donna Garcia, a 17-year HR veteran who teaches an HRIS implementation class at Loyola University Chicago.

Nearly half (46%) of job seekers are already using ChatGPT to write their resumes or cover letters, according to a survey from ResumeBuilder.com. And there may be incentive for more applicants to do so, as 69% who have used ChatGPT reported a higher response rate from companies.

‘Technology is only as good as the information you give it’

Even though her students (all HR professionals) enjoy using the AI-powered language model for writing job descriptions and internal policies, Garcia cautions them against overreliance and recommends they proofread and cross-check any information produced by ChatGPT.

“Technology is only as good as the information you give it. The onus is still on you to make sure the information is accurate,” says Garcia, who was previously the director of compensation, benefits and strategic association management at the National Association of Realtors.

From an employee standpoint, using ChatGPT for tasks like comprising performance reviews sounds very cold and mechanical, she says.

“We’re called human resources for a reason,” Garcia told HRD via phone call.

“ChatGPT has to be used in the proper way and you need the human element to review everything and be accountable. Having something out there that’s been plagiarized or inaccurate impacts your integrity and trustworthiness.”

Tricentis uses ChatGPT for recruiting, employee engagement

Jen Lucas, executive vice president and chief people officer at Tricentis, also questions the ethics behind using ChatGPT.

“Whose work is it? Is the creator the person typing the words into ChatGPT? As a society, I don’t think we’ve fully thought that one through yet,” Lucas told HRD via video.

However, the HR team at the Austin, TX-based tech firm that provides an AI-powered software testing platform, does use ChatGPT for researching, sourcing and communicating with candidates.

Lucas says the tool, which saves time and often sparks creativity, can help recruiters craft emails or catchy subject lines as they’re reaching out to prospective talent. Recruiters can also use it to write job listings and descriptions in a way to get Boolean search strings, which allow the user to insert words or phrases to limit or broaden search results.

The HR team also uses ChatGPT for communicating and engaging with its 1,400 employees around the world. For example, the company is launching a learning management system, so ChatGPT can generate different ideas on how to communicate to better resonate with employees, she says.

But the 25-year HR veteran, who has worked for Raytheon, SolarWinds and other high-profile firms, still grapples with potentially sacrificing human interaction and personalization for the sake of efficiency.

“There’s a muscle we develop as humans for creativity and writing,” Lucas says. “What’s going to happen to that muscle the more we use ChatGPT? Are we going to let it atrophy by relying on this tech to do it for us?”

Sweetwater keeps ‘firm emphasis on human element’

Meanwhile, Sweetwater, a Fort Wayne, IN-based music technology and instrument retailer with 2,600 employees, has no plans to incorporate ChatGPT or any other AI-enabled technology into the HR function.

“Our focus has been to keep a firm emphasis on the human element,” Jeff Ostermann, chief people officer at Sweetwater, told HRD via video.

“Whereas some companies have moved toward AI-assisted technologies for things like vetting resumes, we still put a human being behind that. Our whole business model was built on a customer-centric approach, and we’ve taken that same philosophy and woven that into how we treat our employees and applicants.”

While Ostermann understands the benefit of ChatGPT in making processes more efficient, such as writing job descriptions, he says Sweetwater isn’t ready to ditch its human-centered approach, which is integral to the company’s brand.

“There’s a certain level of nuance into how we write our job descriptions and we don’t necessarily want them to feel robotic,” says Ostermann, who has spent more than a decade at Sweetwater.

“There are a lot of candidates who want to deal with human beings who care about them, their experiences and the unique insights they bring to their role in the organization. Once candidates realize through their own investigation that you’re approaching them through AI as opposed to a human being, that can impact the feeling around an employer’s brand.”

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