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AI in HR - How HR Can Adapt to AI Resources

by Phoenix Zou, on June 25, 2019 at 12:35 PM


Artificial intelligence used to be a frightening prospect for some employees. If technology or machinery can think for itself, what would any company need humans for? Thankfully, that fear was largely unfounded. AI is booming in every industry, and in most cases, it enhances employee productivity rather than supplanting it. 

That still leaves several substantial challenges for HR departments, though. The combination of AI and human resources — or “hybrid resources” — revolutionizes how the world thinks about getting things done. However, it also completely changes what it means to leverage human talent to its fullest potential in any given role. 

AI and automation didn’t make humans obsolete because human interaction, critical thinking, empathy, and complex problem-solving are all still essential for both blue- and white-collar jobs. But some parts of every role can be automated because they’re high-frequency, high-volume, and often highly predictable. 

The idea is that if 50 percent of your tasks are things you do every day, then you could offload about 50 percent of your job to AI and automation. Jobs that are 100 percent repetitive and predictable might be automated, sure, but change management still requires human insight, and employees can be trained to perform more critical tasks.

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AI Affects All Human Resources 

AI and automation have affected job descriptions in many industries. For example, automated assembly lines impacted the duties of many manufacturing employees. In office settings, the reading, understanding, and sorting of documents can also be automated with the appropriate AI software. 

Customer service is another prominent, wider-reaching example. Most companies leverage chatbots (like Claire.AI) so that consumers can complete routine tasks and get answers to common questions without having to talk to a human. But they still keep human representatives on hand to speak with customers who need more empathy and understanding for their concerns. 

The point is that there are very few specific jobs for AI and automation to take over in their entirety. There are, however, specific tasks within every job that can be automated, and therein lies the challenge for modern HR departments. They must map out each role’s complete job description and routine to single out those tasks and then decide where they can leverage AI for maximum support. 

AI Use Cases in HR - Integration of Hybrid Resources  

Greater efficiency is one of the strongest demands driving the adoption of AI and automation. Every HR department’s goal is to help its company achieve that efficiency by finding the right people for each job and supporting them in their transitions. With automation changing every job description, HR leaders now have to focus more on what problems each role is responsible for solving and how AI and automation can help. 

Customer service chatbots are an excellent example of that balance. Customer service representatives today spend less time conversing with callers and more time directing those calls on a dashboard. They have to determine when a customer actually needs to speak to a live representative on the basis of his or her interaction with the automated system. Then, they need the skills to help that customer personally. In this way, the role of customer service is emerging as a hybrid service involving both humans and machines.  

Some HR directors might find that many customer service or other roles don’t require a full-time employee because 50 percent or more of the job can be automated. If robotic process automation can outwork a human for most of those tasks, then a part-time, remote, or freelance employee might be the best bet for handling the rest of them. 

Brands in every industry will see automation’s real impact when employees learn to work alongside AI. The future lies squarely in hybrid services that leverage the best parts of automation with employees’ strengths. Companies need to identify the places AI can be most helpful while HR departments determine the optimal mix of man and machine for the organization.  

In the meantime, employees must adapt to a new workplace where they are increasingly dependent on and collaborative with technology. Once businesses have taken these steps to integrate AI and automation into their core processes, they’ll begin to see improvements in overall efficiency that will lead to long-term success. 

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Topics:Business Insights