Does artificial intelligence have a place in human resources?

Artificial intelligence has found its way into human resources departments and is expected to continue as a growing trend in the coming years, according to a new report by the Human Resources Professionals Association.

The report, which explores key areas in which artificial intelligence can help organizations reduce their administrative burden, recruit staff, reduce bias and improve employee engagement, also includes a survey of the association’s members. 

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It found that 14 per cent of respondents already use some form of artificial intelligence to assist with human resources decisions in their organizations. In addition, 73 per cent of respondents said they’re somewhat or very familiar with the application of artificial intelligence in the human resources field. At the same time, 84 per cent of respondents believe artificial intelligence is a useful tool for human resources.

But many respondents believe their workplaces are either not ready (33 per cent) or not at all prepared (35 per cent) for the trend. Nevertheless, nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents believe their organizations will use artificial intelligence to address human resources challenges in the next five years. Of those who indicated their organizations are unlikely to adopt the technology, 36 per cent said they believe their company is too small to do so, while 28 per cent said senior leadership didn’t see the need for it.

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The paper also sets out a number of recommendations for employers and human resources professionals around the use of artificial intelligence, including: 

  • The need for a cost-benefit analysis to gauge the viability of implementing artificial intelligence applications for human resources supports in every organization;

  • Organizations should consider using artificial intelligence to better narrow down hiring decisions by pinpointing which factors make a candidate successful;

  • Human resources professionals should leverage artificial intelligence applications to reduce biased language in job postings and unconscious bias in the hiring process; and

  • Organizations should consider artificial intelligence technologies to help manage internal mobility efforts, which can allow for better matching of candidates.

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“The future is here and employers have good reasons to embrace AI’s increasing role in HR functions,” said Scott Allinson, vice-president of public affairs at the Human Resources Professionals Association, in a news release.

“Utilizing AI is not about worker displacement but a useful tool paired with human judgment to allow HR professionals to focus on strategic planning on an organizational level by reducing administrative burdens.”