The hot topic of conversations right now across all industries seems to be robots at work; or as it’s more commonly known, artificial intelligence (AI). In a world where companies are working more and more with technology, it’s no surprise that AI is finding its way into the workforce. We’ve seen AI surface in marketing, design, and even engineering – but how will AI impact the HR industry?
One of the most common misconceptions is that AI will put people out of work and make many roles redundant in the next decade. The reality isn’t quite as grim: I think AI is posed to completely change how companies approach HR, and as HR professionals, we can learn to work with it and use it to enhance what we do. However, before we can fully adopt AI into our work, there are a number of things we need to think about. In this Think With Humi edition, I’ll be talking all about AI and HR so you can prepare yourself for the role that AI will play in the future of our industry.
Let’s dive in!
AI has the potential to bring about incredible benefits to an HR team. It can be used to automate tasks that are time-consuming and repetitive or as an aid with more complex and/or difficult tasks. Here are a couple of examples of how I can see AI being used within an HR department.
One of the most significant benefits of AI is its ability to streamline workflows and automate repetitive tasks. Often, an HR team is tasked with answering routine questions from employees about benefits, policies, company information, and more. This is on top of managing HR administrative tasks such as writing job descriptions and/or creating documentation, which can result in a lot of time taken out of the day. Implementing AI in a way that handles these tasks can free up time in your team’s day to focus on strategic and value-adding areas, such as professional development and/or employee engagement programs. For example, at Humi, we’ve recently adopted using AI to craft our job descriptions, and while the AI-generated job description is not perfect, it creates a great starting point and has saved my team hours of time.
Another use for AI in your HR team is data analytics. AI can be used to analyze the data your HR team might have from employee surveys and questionnaires, and turn this data into valuable insights into areas such as turnover, performance, equity, diversity, and inclusion. These insights can be used to identify areas of improvement, optimize HR processes, and inform decision-making.
The collaboration between AI and recruiters can have a meaningful impact on bettering the recruiting process, as well as the candidate experience. Recruiters can now use AI in a number of creative ways, such as:
Ultimately, AI can complement and optimize the recruitment process in many ways, which adds significant value to the candidate, recruiter, and the business.
Here are some key considerations that we need to think through before we can begin to implement AI in our HR teams – and in any part of the company, for that matter.
One of the most crucial steps a company has to take before implementing any kind of AI is creating a clear AI policy. The policy should be a clear framework for how AI is to be used and include:
It’s important to remember that AI in HR is a critical collaboration between a number of functions in the business – including Information Technology (IT), Legal, and Engineering/Data. Many employment contracts and/or Employee Handbooks will refer to data sharing and privacy – not all will refer to AI (yet). Before making new policies, consider how your current IT policies will overlap with a new one, and consider integrating them instead.
With the rise of AI comes the question of liability: who is responsible for what AI produces? Ultimately, it is the organization’s responsibility and in this case – it’s HR leaders’ responsibility to ensure there is a review of what AI produces for HR content. This was also confirmed by a data expert, in one of my shared links, below. After speaking with Humi’s in-house legal counsel, it also raised discussion about whether AI content can be protected by copyright, and how using AI will impact the organization's intellectual property (IP). Because some jurisdictions require human ‘authorship’, it begs the question as to whether content can be published purely by AI (and be enforceable). This is pretty significant when we think about HR processes and policies, confirming for me that although AI can make our life easier, there is still significant risk if a team member isn’t editing and reviewing, before publishing.
Given some of the legal discoveries in the section above, the role of human validation is an important one. While AI can be used to make our jobs easier, there will always be the need for validation of anything AI produces. For example, you might want to use AI to help create an employee handbook for your company. You can write prompts and feed talking points into the AI, but once it writes the copy, you’ll still need to validate its accuracy and confirm a good fit for your company. Another example here is AI can help you build a policy for remote work, but you’ll still need to validate how it will impact your company’s insurance, and make sure it’s enforceable and compliant with laws in your region.
On the surface, this might seem like bad news – because AI can’t do everything we want it to – but it’s actually the opposite. There’s always been a fear that AI will take over jobs and eliminate the need for people in the workforce, but the need for validation and the human touch proves that AI isn’t here to replace us. It’s here to enhance how we work, and we just need to learn to work alongside it.
All of the things I’ve talked about in this Think With Humi are top of mind for me as Humi builds out its own approach to leveraging AI in the workplace. I’m still having conversations with stakeholders and leadership, but everything is new, so we don’t have a formal policy yet (but we’re working on it!).
What I’ve come to see is that due to the nature of Humi’s product, certain teams need to default to a “no use case” when it comes to using AI in the workplace, however, in other areas (e.g. marketing), Humigos have the opportunity to build a business case and use AI in their day-to-day.
AI policies aren’t one-size-fits-all; they have to be truly customized to each company, its product, and its industry – so what Humi eventually decides on might be entirely different from your company’s approach. By leveraging the framework in the previous section, and involving the proper stakeholders in the process, you’re sure to learn what works best for your business, and how to adapt to using AI at work.
AI is going to be around for a while, so I’ve been keeping tabs on articles, videos, and other media that touch on the topic, and specifically, how it impacts the HR industry. Here are a few of the resources that I’ve been using to keep myself updated on the topic of AI in HR:
(list of resources)
Yes, Andrea is actually writing them every two months. Got questions about something in an email? No problem – reply to the email and she’ll get back to you.
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Hey there 👋 my name is Andrea Bartlett.
I’m the VP of People at Humi, and I’m obsessed with all things people and human resources. Throughout my time working in a range of industries, I’ve learned that one thing is clear: the world of work is changing and HR professionals are leading the charge.
I believe that businesses should know their people as well as they know their product. But people are complex, and the solutions aren’t always easy. That’s how Think with Humi will help.
Written by me, this newsletter is designed to give you insight into the relevant and raw people challenges, and give you the tools to enable you to continuously to shape the future of work.
Written by a people leader, for people leaders.