AI, machine learning and robotics are probably familiar terms to you. But these technologies aren’t just transforming operations, finance and sales; they can add huge value to HR processes as well. The advent of intelligent HR isn’t 5 years out . . . it’s happening right now – just ask Flexo for People HR Business Consultant Tom Mentens, who recently gave a presentation on the topic at the SAP Festival.
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Making the case for AI in HR
“AI is the process of incorporating human intelligence into machines or computers, giving them the ability to respond like humans”, Tom explains. “AI can be applied to accomplish three main things: boosting efficiency, gaining insights and improving the customer or employee experience. Since certain HR processes involve repetitive taks requiring little interpretation, why not pass those to machines?”
In the case of HR, AI technologies blend all of these advantages together, and can be used to make physical, in-person interactions even richer. “When the physical and the digital reinforce each other, we call that ‘phygital’”, Tom goes on to say.
5 mature applications in action
As vehicles for information, chatbots can be used throughout the recruiting process to respond to potential candidates’ questions as well as common HR-related queries and requests from employees. Doing so frees up valuable time for the HR team to add value in more impactful areas than answering repetitive questions.
From the recruiter’s point of view, adding intelligence to the CV screening process makes analysing a huge volume of documents a breeze. From a candidate’s point of view, a job website can use their CV to identify the best-fitting vacancies within a company, improving the candidate experience and shortening it to just a few clicks.
Why not make the first screening interview digital? AI systems can understand meaning as well as sentiment and tone, and they can be unbiased – unlike recruiters. Virtual assessments both improve efficiency and can even boost candidate experience, since surveys show that many people feel comfortable interacting with bots.
Qualitative data often contains a gold mine of information about how employees feel about a company. Responses to open-ended questions on engagement surveys are a good example. An algorithm can analyse this unstructured information to glean important insights about employee perception, enabling HR teams to take appropriate action.
When experienced people-facing employees interact with internal or external customers, they leave plenty of data in their wake. AI can link successful interactions with behaviors, sentiments and touchpoints to create training and communication modules.
Intelligent HR does not begin with technology
Do you have a good business case and you’re ready to go? Stop and take a deep breath: while the tech sounds cool, success begins with a real business case.
Tom: “It’s easy to say ‘I want a chatbot’ or ‘I want to implement sentiment analysis’. My advice? Start from what you want to achieve. Then, organise the HR function within the context of the technology you need to apply to achieve your ambition.”
Once you have an ambition in mind, it’s also important to consider your company’s identity and the most appropriate ways to approach AI projects. Ask these key questions:
- Are you an early adopter, or would you rather wait for a solution’s maturity to be completely established by the market?
- Do you prioritise an organised HR application back end over a seamless employee experience?
- Do new apps fit with your current IT architecture?
- Do intelligent recruitment or HR processes fit with your company culture and brand image?
- Is your audience – your people and your potential talent – open to AI technologies?
The time is now – and we are here to help
“If you want to be innovative, you’d better have an innovative recruitment process as well”, Tom asserts. “You have to do it today because within five years, everybody will have these tools and you’ll lose the war for talent.”
At Flexso for People, we know that AI technologies can be intimidating. However, the threshold has never been lower and our team has plenty of experience with AI for HR implementation projects. We can help by:
- analysing your processes to determine how AI can realistically solve your real-life business challenges.
- untangling the complex ecosystem of available solutions to find the ones that are best for your architecture, business context and HRIS system.
- applying design thinking to build a future-proof process that is tailored to specific viewpoints (candidate, prospect, employee, etc.).
- building a custom prototype in a few days that makes things concrete, helping you build a full business case.
“Remember – you can start now, you can start small, and you can start from HR without other departments being ready,” Tom concludes. “But don’t wait to see what other companies and markets are doing.”
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