This week, GR8 People is releasing its first white paper of 2020, Brave New World of HR. Compiled from an analysis of secondary research reports and supplemented by the perspectives of HR practitioners, as well as the opinions of graduate students pursuing an advanced degree in human resources, the white paper offers insights regarding the influence of artificial intelligence and automation on the practice of HR and the profession’s future.
Admittedly, there’s no shortage of existing literature on the topic. However, we were compelled to conduct our own in-depth assessment of AI and automation given the complex landscape that HR must navigate and our role in supporting that journey. More specifically, we sought to better understand the challenges and opportunities that exist as we begin a new decade—one that follows several years of rapid and unprecedented technological change across nearly every aspect of talent acquisition and management.
The full report covers an exploration of the current state of AI and automation in HR as well as the promise these technologies offer when it comes to improving human capital outcomes. It also looks at the current barriers HR executives have faced when implementing AI-driven solutions, the importance of transparency and ethics, and perceptions regarding HR as a career choice for those just entering the field.
Critical implications include:
• The lack of an available budget to invest in AI and automation remains one of the most significant barriers to implementation. HR has struggled to get the budget approvals needed in order to purchase AI-driven technologies. Teams that are planning to request budget approvals for anticipated purchases can increase their odds of success by demonstrating the value these technologies will deliver to both HR and the broader organization in quantifiable terms. Vendors can play a part in helping to build the business case, as well educating leaders regarding the benefits of their technologies. The latter is equally as important as our research reveals that the lack of understanding of AI within organizations is another major barrier to implementation.
• The issues surrounding the use of AI and automation to reduce hiring bias will grow in complexity. First, there are ongoing questions about the validity of these technologies, which have led to concerns among not only HR leaders and job seekers but industry watchdogs and government entities. For those planning to use AI for candidate screening and assessment, it’s essential to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of how the application was built, how it works, and how HR will validate the application’s results both upon initial deployment and over time. Also, given that worker data is often used to drive AI solutions, HR will need to guide organizations in communicating their commitment to ethics and transparency in order to gain—and keep—the trust of current and potential employees. The risks of not doing so are significant, including a reduction of “up to 12.5 percent of revenue growth” for organizations that fail to adopt responsible employee and workforce data practices (based on an analysis conducted by Accenture).
• For all the buzz surrounding AI, most organizations appear to be in the earliest phases of adoption. We find that test cases and pilot programs are common among organizations that have implemented AI and automation for talent acquisition and management. In fact, very few HR leaders characterize their company’s current status as having applied AI broadly across their organizations and arrived at the metrics that clearly indicate success. So, rather than feel as if they’re falling behind in their use of AI and implementation, TA teams can take a step back and devote time to the careful planning and preparation required to ensure the best possible outcomes.
Lastly, it’s encouraging that, even as the HR profession will need to deal with significant disruption resulting from massive digital transformation, optimism abounds. Both current HR practitioners and the next generation of leaders view the profession’s future positively, in particular the opportunities it will present to grow one’s skills, to serve as a strategic advisor to the business and to use advanced technology to improve talent management outcomes.
Get all the insights in the full report—download your complimentary copy of Brave New World of HR today!