By Sandeep Gandhi, CHRO, Aircel
Artificial Intelligence has come a long way from being just a concept to real life applications which have the potential to further transform the way things work around us. It has infiltrated various facets of our lives, both personal and professional, to such an extent that we are often not even aware of using a form of AI. This increasingly expansive role of AI in daily life often leads to questions about its significance in the future. Will AI continue to be a faithful servant or will it eventually replace its Human masters? While the jury is still out on the eventual role that it will occupy, there is no denying the incredible scope of opportunities that AI offers across all business functions.
AI provides assistance across various sectors to automate numerous repetitive processes and work smarter by analyzing big data that leads to identifying opportunities. AI has steadily gained importance across all verticals of organizations like Marketing, IT, Sales to name a few. Since HR is a strategic business function, there is a vast scope in this vertical to adapt to newer technologies, for example, software applications like Human Capital Management have successfully embedded AI functionalities into its core processing engine and have proved to be a game changer.
HR strategies for the future are focusing on creating an agile, employee-focused and digitally enhanced the dynamic environment and AI will have a tremendous impact in implanting this vision as it covers the four pillars of HR namely- the AERD (Attract, Engage, Retain and Develop).
One of the most time-consuming processes of HR is attracting the right talent for its organization. The opportunity for AI to improve the efficiency of the hiring cycle is immense.
Machine-learning technologies are creating tools to spot, screen and rank applicants to help speed up the hiring process.
Organizations are using AI to create and develop gamified challenges for software programmers as a candidate sourcing tool. AI is enabling start-ups to build meaningful candidate profiles from unstructured data and then matching their job requirements to candidates with the desired skillset.
AI also has tremendous scope in improving traditional recruiting processes; introducing virtual assistants for recruiters is one such way in which recruitment can become less time-consuming.
AI promises to augment recruiting with semantic search, people -analytics, real-time monitoring of performance, augmented reality tools to assist in interviews, and enhancing decision making by cultural fit analysis; though all these are still subject to successful implementation in the times to come. Unconscious Biases is one of the deeply rooted shortcomings of HR professionals, as no matter how self-aware we are, human decisions are still influenced to a degree by subjective opinion. It is practically impossible to uproot it. However, machine learning promises to make it possible by equipping machines to dwell on data-based inputs and arrive at objective opinions. This could help companies immeasurably by improving diversity and inclusion. AI uses massive datasets in order to identify subtle patterns, thereby indicating the precise areas where bias crops up in the hiring process or any people related decision making.
Likewise, AI could influence Productivity- be it selling, production, customer service or any parameter of Balance score card, thereby impacting factors around greater engagement as well as Retention. One of the most promising tools that AI could generate is a performance review of employee groups on a monthly basis and generating rewards for the delivery for the corresponding period. Traditional Performance Management system assesses performance over a years’ time leading to employees waiting for a year to get rewarded through promotions of bonuses. Core changes to AI to the PM process will impact and shorten the duration of assessment period and could lead to better business productivity.
But will AI systems replace humans?
While Artificial Intelligence may at times feel like a two-edged sword, it ultimately serves as a tool to achieve maximum efficiency of business. The purpose of AI is to augment human capabilities instead of completely replacing it. For instance, AI tools compliment HR capabilities but do not design the structure as that will require strategic human planning and vision. AI has a direct tangible impact on productivity by making HR processes agiler & proficient whereas it has an indirect intangible impact on morale, motivation, and degree of engagement for Human Resources. Jobs that do not involve human thoughtfulness, reasoning, and people skills are more likely to be replaced by AI technologies in the future as opposed to jobs that require human soft skills and Strategic planning as well as possessing a human instinct for creative solutions.