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AI is coming for the HR industry

AI is coming for the HR industry

If you believe the technology experts, artificial intelligence (AI) will disrupt just about every industry. But, when will we see it used in human resources?

Firms will use AI to automate HR processes within two years, according to research by analyst group Fosway on behalf of Unleash.

It’s not too much of a reach to imagine employees making leave requests or salary enquiries through the voice assistant on their computer or in their car. However, most HR professionals (70%) say their existing systems are not yet ready to meet the needs of the workforce, so you wouldn’t blame them for any scepticism.

That’s not stopping tech companies from developing AI, chatbots and natural language processing in preparation for the next stage of HR’s digital transformation. Next-level software will use machine learning algorithms to provide employees and managers with role-specific information, e.g. recommendations for training courses.

But, Peter Meerman, director of global learning systems at Philips, raised the point that it could take staff a while to trust any recommendations, not knowing whether they’re based on their personal situation or the needs of the business. The fact that they are used to having their data used in the consumer world, however, might mean that this is a less of a problem than Meerman predicts.

That’s the aim for HR – to offer employees the same level of user experience they are used to with consumer technology. But, Fosway’s research suggests there’s a long way to go.

Most companies are running on outdated, on-premise HR technology that is difficult to use, according to David Wilson, founder and CEO of Fosway Group. About two-thirds of them have decentralised HR teams using multiple HR IT systems that do not link together or provide an overall picture of the company’s workforce.

He believes that organisations need to adopt a more agile approach in the way they introduce HR IT systems, which might mean working on multiple projects simultaneously.

“Conservative HR IT strategies are not going to cut it anymore,” he said. “Deployments taking 18 months-plus are rapidly becoming a distant memory.”

So, will we see AI in HR by the end of 2020? Or will HR’s passive approach to IT systems prove a problem?

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