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Artificial Intelligence: The Human Resources Game-Changer

By Emily He, SVP of HCM Cloud Business Group, Oracle

Emily He, SVP of HCM Cloud Business Group, Oracle

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming every facet of business: from marketing and sales to finance and operations. AI makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, make helpful recommendations and perform human-like tasks. But while AI is simplifying and streamlining many activities, many question if we are moving to an era of over-automation, leading to transaction-based, unengaged workplaces.

"By balancing emerging technologies such as AI with a ‘human touch’, modern HR leaders can benefit from the best of both worlds"

In areas such as human resources, maintaining a hands-on, personal approach to everything from hiring and recruiting to talent management and training is vital to maintaining a happy and productive work culture and continuing to foster success across the board. Yet to continue to stay competitive and attract the best talent, HR leaders simply cannot ignore emerging technologies like AI that can add great insights and value—not only to employees but also to the overall business.

By balancing emerging technologies such as AI with a ‘human touch’, modern HR leaders can benefit from the best of both worlds. Here are three ways how:

The Strategic Role of HR

The role of HR has traditionally been mired in paperwork. While HR professionals know a more strategic view of the business is necessary, the day is often filled with time-consuming functions such as payroll and compensation, benefits, reviewing resumes, drawing up contracts, onboarding and the like.

Advancements in HR technologies are changing this paradigm by automating many of these mundane tasks, freeing HR personnel to more effectively address the more strategic and personal tasks associated with their role. As such, HR departments are poised to operate faster, smarter and more efficiently than with traditional processes.

For example, Wagstaff’s chief human resource officer, Wade Larson, wanted to move his HR department from a process-heavy system to one focused on efficiency, timeliness, and effectiveness. Technologies such as AI are able to automate processes including payroll and workforce compensation. By implementing these technologies, Wagstaff was able to save hundreds of hours in human resources and payroll processing in conjunction with workforce compensation—reducing overall processing time by 25 percent.

Attracting Top Talent

Competition for top talent, especially in high demand areas such as technology, is fierce. Quirky benefits or over-the-top perks aren’t enough to find the right talent—or that potential diamond in the rough. Thankfully, today’s AI-infused Human Capital Management (HCM) platforms are getting increasingly more intelligent. With the ability to learn about what has made past and current employees successful, these systems can filter through large volumes of application data to find the best possible candidates for the organizations’ unique requirements.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of service is 2.6 years for millennials. As job-hopping becomes more and more commonplace and job sites such as LinkedIn offer an endless supply of resumes, it’s near impossible to expect one HR department to thoughtfully review what could be thousands of eligible applications for a new position. Not only can AI produce a short list of people who match an ideal candidate profile, it can also rank candidates based on who fits the needs of the open position best. Add in machine learning to gradually improve the quality of people it selects, and the HR department’s talent acquisition is operating faster and more intelligently than ever.

Personalized Employee Experience

Despite some misconceptions, AI can actually improve and personalize employee experiences by simplifying and automating time-consuming internal processes and helping employees balance their workloads. For HR professionals, this means less time spent reading resumes, filing paperwork and other labor-intensive tasks, and more time devoted to strategic management responsibilities.

For example, AI can simplify hiring and training processes by creating individual onboarding curriculums for each new position within the company. An AI-enabled platform could offer answers to a new employee's most pressing or job critical questions to help get them up to speed quickly, or provide training suggestions and contact information for people a new employee should connect with during his first week. AI engines could also direct that employee to a new hire webpage that provides ample useful information regarding his or her new position.

Additionally, chatbots, built on top of AI technologies, can improve employee satisfaction by increasing speed and providing greater consistency in answering frequently asked HR questions and enhancing the online learning experience.

The traditional role of HR is still essential, but it is evolving. They need to operate faster, smarter and have the agility to move with a changing workforce dynamic. AI can help fuel this change by eliminating manual tasks and providing new levels of intelligence when it comes to talent planning, success, and engagement. HR leaders proactively embracing the enormous power of AI are giving themselves and their company a significant competitive advantage. Those whom aren’t risk not only finding the new talent they need, but also in keeping the staff they already have.

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