A guide to AI in HR: 5 examples of tech redefining HR departments

In a world reeling from the economic and social impact of COVID-19, HR processes have had to undergo a massive shift to keep up with the “New Normal” of work. In this guide to AI in HR, we break down how AI has been instrumental in this digital transformation.

This post was updated in November 2021

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is perhaps the most disruptive period in recent history for human resources (HR) professionals and departments worldwide. As the pandemic forced governments to declare nationwide lockdowns and strict social distancing guidelines, HR teams had the complex task of shepherding their company’s employees to work-from-home setups.

This shift is predicted to continue in the foreseeable future. Data from research firm Gartner shows that 47% of company leaders intend to permit employees to work remotely full-time, and 82% said they do so on a part-time basis post-pandemic.

And this could mean more work for HR teams. According to a poll of 200 senior HR leaders by Howden Employee Benefits and Wellbeing, 64% expect their workload to increase due to the move to home working.

As the UK prepares to enter a post-pandemic world, HR leaders will face a new set of challenges in recruitment, talent management and employee engagement. New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation may hold the keys to maintaining productivity and agility.

AI in HR to the rescue?

Maintaining meaningful relationships with employees has always been a key challenge for HR professionals. The pandemic only compounds things further, introducing new potential communication barriers. And that’s on top of many tasks and processes that HR leaders and departments already deal with.

This is where AI could provide transformative results. AI-powered HR software offers the benefit of automating repetitive tasks, allowing HR teams to spend less time on routine work and focus more on the needs of workers. This, however, only scratches the surface of what AI has to offer.

According to a 2019 Gartner survey, 47% of organisations will use AI-based solutions in their HR functions by 2022. HR leaders pointed to cost savings, improved employee experience and accurate HR data-driven decision-making as the top reasons for embracing AI.

But how exactly are AI systems being used in HR departments? We look at five use cases.

1. Using AI to streamline the talent acquisition process

Efficiency is perhaps the most significant benefit of AI in HR, so much so that 96% of senior HR professionals believe that AI has the potential to streamline talent acquisition and retention. By harnessing AI capabilities, recruiters and hiring managers can better use data from CVs, skill assessments and employment histories to quickly identify the best candidate for a role.

AI programmes do this by scrubbing through information in CVs and LinkedIn profiles, taking just seconds to pinpoint the candidates that match the exact skillset you’re looking for. This process also happens objectively, ensuring that your talent acquisition protocols are fair and free of bias.

AI-powered recruiting software can engage with potential candidates and ask them pre-screening questions to ensure they fit the job profile and meet logistical requirements. L’Oréal, for example, has a talent acquisition chatbot that asks candidates useful questions, such as “Are you available at the internship start date and throughout the entire internship period?”

Talent acquisition chatbots can also act as virtual assistants, helping teams engage candidates by assisting them to:

  • Schedule interviews by integrating with scheduling tools like Calendly
  • Organise background checks
  • Ask for documentation and more.

This can dramatically reduce the number of routine HR tasks your recruiters have to deal with, allowing them to focus more on assessing potential candidates. In other words, AI opens up new staffing possibilities and streamlines the recruitment process.

2. AI-assisted onboarding

Onboarding is a critical component of employee engagement and retention.

BambooHR survey found that 17% of employees leave their jobs between the first week and third month of starting a new role. What’s more, those employees that quit said a clear onboarding process that explained their roles and responsibilities would have changed their minds.

Part of the reason onboarding can be a challenge is because HR professionals face a mountain of compliance and bureaucracy when they take on new hires. In most cases, employee onboarding training takes at least one week, according to TalentLMS.

Image source: TalentLMS

AI could ease this burden by carrying out time-consuming, repetitive administrative tasks for you. This might include automating previously manual processes, such as data entry, allocating resources and the like.

An internal chatbot could also benefit new employees by making the onboarding process easy and answering common queries. According to Susan Power, Founder and CEO of Power HR, “This can allow new hires to integrate more quickly into the organisation even before their first day on the job.”

3. HR chatbots handle employee queries

HR managers at large organisations receive hundreds of common requests from employees daily. Employees might ask questions about payroll details, maternity leave, opportunities to work from home and so on.

There’s a massive amount of information in HR policies, but it’s not always accessible to staff, nor is it easy to locate the correct information. 

An internal HR chatbot, however, can provide automated responses to employee questions 24/7. This could save hours that your HR team usually spends answering admin questions on the phone or via email.

And as remote work shows signs of being the norm of future work, a multilingual chatbot could also remove language barriers so that every staff member gets the same care from HR.

4. AI-driven employee communications and engagement

Adding a conversational AI layer to your staff’s preferred communication channel, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, will encourage them to respond to communications quicker and more readily.

On this channel, you can also broadcast important messages to staff, such as policy updates. Your AI bots can hand over conversations that need a human touch to your HR staff if necessary.

What’s more, AI allows you to monitor queries and communications. The meaningful employee data that you collect can help inform new engagement initiatives, whether it’s a permanent shift to remote work, a better process for managing travel expenses, or health and wellness projects.

5. Greater employee satisfaction

2019 study by Oracle found that employees believe bots are better at some aspects of management, while humans are better at factors such as coaching and creating a work culture:

Image source: Oracle

This emphasises the benefits of AI in freeing up HR staff to carry out more relationship-building initiatives and ultimately increase employee satisfaction.

There are also examples of companies using AI in HR to monitor satisfaction, predict employee trends and reduce employee turnover. 

For instance, IBM’s AI system predicts with 95% accuracy which workers are about to quit, helping managers take quick action to control their employee turnover rate.

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Futr is a VC backed tech start-up with the mission of delivering superpowers to support teams everywhere.  Futr’s superpowers are transforming the way organisations serve their audiences.

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