A Beginner’s Guide to AI in HR
Technology plays an important role in human resources management. As more HR professionals and employers are likely to embrace artificial intelligence for HR in the coming years, it’s important to get a good understanding of how human resources can utilize AI to get more out of their teams.
In this article, we will dive into how AI is redefining the HR function and give you practical uses of AI in HR departments. From recruiting to employee development and everything in between, we’ll look at HR trends in the age of artificial intelligence.
DID YOU KNOW:
The HR Technology Conference and Exposition has an entire educational track on AI in HR, part of the 70+ sessions in this year’s program.
Let’s take a step back before we dive into everything and define the term “artificial intelligence”. The true definition of artificial intelligence (AI) is defined by many textbooks as the study of “intelligent agents”. An intelligent agent is any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that enhance its chances of successfully achieving its goals. In HR, we tend to define artificial intelligence a little more informally as programs that mimic cognitive functions that most people associate with human thinking. Things like learning, problem solving, language, etc.
Machine Learning in HR Technology
An important feature of artificial intelligence is machine learning. Machine learning uses complex algorithms to build mathematical models based on a sample set of data. As more data is fed through the algorithms, the smarter the machines become. The models then make the predictions and decisions without being programmed to specifically do so.
There are three main types of machine learning: supervised learning, unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning.
In supervised learning the program is trained with a predefined set of examples. The computer will then use those examples to help build an accurate conclusion when new data is introduced. It’s called supervised learning because we know the outcome we want the computer to produce and we judge the accuracy of the program's conclusions based on a predefined answer. The learning can stop once the program has a high enough level of accuracy that is acceptable.
An example of supervised learning would be to ask a computer to sort through a series of photographs of vehicles and find the blue pickup truck.
In unsupervised learning we give the computer a series of data, usually very large amounts of data, and tell the program to comb through that data to find the hidden patterns. This data is then grouped into different categories based on its characteristics.
An example of unsupervised learning is Google’s news algorithm. It finds news articles from around the internet and categorizes them by topic such as business, finance, world news, local news etc.
The last type of machine learning is reinforcement learning. In reinforcement learning, the computer interacts with the real world and is used to train the computer to complete tasks. It gets feedback from the real world and updates itself to reach the reward that is defined.
An example of reinforcement learning is teaching a computer to play chess. It will lose in the beginning, but it will learn what doesn’t work and eventually become unbeatable by learning from its mistakes.
AI is increasingly being used in multiple facets of HR and the trend is continuing. From talent acquisition and resume screening, to employee learning and development, AI powered technologies are reinventing human resources and helping improve the quality of HR interactions.
Now that you have a basic understanding of some of the terms, let’s jump into the different segments of HR and how human resources can use AI.
Using Artificial Intelligence in Recruiting
When most people think about AI in the recruitment process, they think of screening candidates. However, AI technology has an important role in nearly every aspect of recruiting. From creating to advertising positions through selecting a candidate, AI is helping HR departments find a diverse pool of qualified candidates. Let’s look into how artificial intelligence is being used by HR departments for recruiting.
Using AI to Eliminate Biases in Job Postings
The goal of every hiring funnel is to have a steady flow of candidates. By removing things like business jargon and clichés, gender-biased language and unnecessary descriptions, we help eliminate negative aspects of job postings that actively, and sometimes passively, deter otherwise well qualified candidates from applying. Tools that utilize AI help to find these aspects in the copy and recommend suggestions that would improve the posting overall. They take real world data from thousands of job postings and calculate what’s working in the market to get more qualified candidates to the listing and reduce time-to-fill.
Using AI to Find Passive Candidates
Posting your open positions to job boards are good for candidates who are actively searching for a job, but what about the large pool of candidates not actively seeking new opportunities? AI is helping HR find highly-qualified candidates through matching a job description with potential candidates’ online behavior, interests and location. Artificial intelligence can then recommend the best online channels to buy programmatic advertising to show hyper targeted ads to those individuals when they go online.
How AI is Helping Companies Engage with Potential Candidates
Artificial intelligence can help reduce time consuming, repetitive tasks when engaging with a potential candidate. AI that is connected to a company's email, calendar and applicant tracking system can look for patterns in the data and determine when the candidate is engaged and recommend the best time to approach them about the position.
AI also helps in the form of chatbots while a candidate is in the application stage. The software can review a candidate’s resume and then ask contextual questions based on job requirements. The chatbot can be taught to give personalized updates and feedback as well as offering suggestions for next steps to both the company and the candidate. The AI chatbot, through machine learning, can also contact the human recruiter to ask for answers to any question it doesn’t currently have the answer to and use that for future dialogs.
How To Use AI for Candidate Screening
When you receive hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes, it is hard to sort out which candidates are best suited for the job. Artificial intelligence can scan through resumes and score them based on the job description and shortlist the best matches.
AI can even go a step further and compare the candidates resume to those of the current team members and recommend those it determines have a desired skill set. Additionally, if a skill set of a quality candidate doesn’t quite meet the needs of a particular role, artificial intelligence can help look for other roles within the company and recommend the candidate be considered for those roles.
Using Artificial Intelligence to Conduct Interviews
Video interviews are becoming mainstream in 2020 and we see that pattern continuing going forward. Early round interviews can be executed by AI — a huge help to cut down the size of the field especially for positions that tend to have higher volume of applications.
In essence, the candidate will interview with AI instead of an actual person. AI can read facial expressions and evaluate audio responses to pre-selected questions that every candidate will be asked. The program will then score the candidates based on their responses and sort them to filter out the bottom tier. In theory, this will help eliminate biases by giving each candidate the same experience no matter their age, gender, race or color.
What’s Next for Artificial Intelligence in Recruiting
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but as you can see, AI in HR can save time and drive efficiency in many ways. the HR Tech Conference and Exposition has an entire educational track on AI in HR. There, you’ll learn the latest in artificial technology and see first hand the software that is changing human resources. To find out more, visit https://www.hrtechnologyconference.com/
Using Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources Management
Now that we’ve successfully recruited the right talent to our organization, let's take a look at how artificial intelligence helps with managing employees.
Using AI to Help Onboard New Hires
The candidate has accepted the offer and now it's time to make them feel welcome and help them get set up for success. Getting required documents together and making sure they have everything they need can surely be done by a human, but artificial intelligence can ease these administrative tasks and can be beneficial to the new hire as well.
A study conducted by Jobvite revealed that recruiters say they’ve seen a candidate change their mind after signing an offer letter and that nearly 33% of new hires leave that job within the first six months of hire. Having a strong onboarding strategy that can be keep both employees and management engaged can have a significant increase in employee retention and reduce employee turnover.
A virtual assistant, as an example, can inform new hires of what documents they need to bring on the first day, answer any question they have about those documents and even schedule their first day for them. The VA can then inform the IT team that a new hire is coming and to make sure that their workstation is set up prior to the start day.
The virtual assistant can even help during the new hire’s first few days at the company. It can recommend what compliance training needs to be completed, make sure the new hire is clear on what their job-related expectations and responsibilities are and even help set up meetings with fellow team members for introductions.
We’ve just scratched the surface of using AI for new hires. As you can see, there is a lot of potential in helping boost the confidence of a new hire that they have made the right decision and helping them start off their career with the company in a positive light.
How Artificial Intelligence is Helping Boost Employee Performance
When customers call into your business, they have a wide variety of needs. Artificial intelligence can route calls to the correct department and select a customer service representative based on the level of expertise needed. This helps prevent customer frustration of being transferred to another, more qualified, person after explaining their situation. And by eliminating the time it takes to get to the right department, employees can be more productive by only working on the calls they are qualified to answer and service.
AI can also help with conflict resolution with customers by compiling data across multiple conversations and offering a solution that has the highest probability of satisfying the customer. This can alleviate the need for management to get involved in these more complex conversations and allow them to focus on other tasks that may require a more thought out response.
Artificial intelligence is also helping boost employee production by helping decide which rewards programs are more likely to succeed in keeping employees happy. With the ability to pull data across multiple departments and employees, AI can help determine which programs are more likely to have a positive outcome for your employees and even help choose the right employees to reward.
Using Artificial Intelligence in Workforce Management
Another interesting area where artificial intelligence is helping HR is workforce planning. AI can be used to predict future demand for employees based on multiple data points such as weather forecasts, day of week, holiday, closures etc.
Also, employee engagement can increase by introducing artificial intelligence into workforce management. AI can look at the tools employees use and see how often they answer with emojis, the phrases they use towards one another in chat and email and can even provide real-time feedback to HR about the overall morale of employees so any issues can be addressed immediately.
Using AI for Self Service HR
As an HR professional, you hear the same HR questions day in and day out. Nearly half of HR requests are repetitive and using artificial intelligence to answer those questions frees up time for you to build real relationships with team members. Whether it’s a chatbot/virtual assistant, a portal with intelligent filtering, or even email triggers, AI is helping eliminate some of those more repetitive questions and giving the employee the power to efficiently, and effectively, own and control the entire process.
For example, an area of topic that gets HR lots of questions may be in regards to the company’s 401(k) plan. Is there a match? How do I sign up? What are my investment options? Your friendly AI chatbot can walk them through answers to all these questions and offer them suggested reading to help them make their final decision.
Some Final Thoughts About AI in HR
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways artificial intelligence can be used in human resources. Though it’s just an introduction to AI in HR, we do hope you found it useful. You can see why we feel AI is a very important HR tech tool that you should be learning more ways it can help your company. Remember, it’s not about technology vs human resource professionals. Rather, it’s about human resource leaders being empowered and freed up by technology. AI is not about replacing workers, it’s about helping workers get the most out of their role.
If you want to get real world experience and training on the different aspects of AI for HR, come learn with us at the HR Technology Conference and Exposition.