Ben Eubanks is an HR industry analyst and influencer. He is the Principal Analyst at Lighthouse Research & Advisory where he oversees the development of research, assets and insights to support HR, learning and talent executives. He is also the founder of HR community upstartHR, the co-founder of the HRevolution movement and host of the We're Human podcast.
Attendees will learn about the key areas where algorithms, machine learning and chatbots are being leveraged in the employee experience and explore new trends such as vendors’ artificial intelligence ethics councils and what new consolidations mean for buyers looking for the latest technology in the market. Ben will go beyond just theory and leverage deep research, case studies and examples of practical use cases for you to utilize AI to create more human workplaces, not less.
With so many excellent sessions at HR Tech, it will be difficult to decide which to attend – and as is usually the case -- many of your top picks will occur at the same time.
I asked Ben a few questions to give attendees a better understanding of the information his session will deliver.
Ben, what was your inspiration for creating the session “Tech Market Landscape: AI for HR” for the Human Resources Executive 2019 HR Technology Conference & Exposition?
The thing I've noticed in the last year is that while many of the great vendors in the HR technology space are aware of AI and promoting it heavily, today's HR leaders are often unclear about what it is or why it matters to them. This session will explore AI applications across the employee experience and will be a valuable way for today's business leaders and HR professionals to get a grip on what AI is but more importantly how it can help them to minimize bias, hire better and manage more fairly.
Where is AI having the most impact and providing the most value for HR now?
The recruiting function is still benefiting the most from AI in areas like scheduling, screening and sourcing, but that is steadily changing. My team is seeing incredible impacts in employee engagement, for instance. Our research shows that AI is better than humans at analyzing emotions and sentiment and can help us to more quickly zero in on the issues that need addressing in the employee experience. That's incredibly powerful.
What do you think is the biggest misconception HR professionals have about AI?
For the foreseeable future, AI isn't going to be taking any jobs away from HR unless it's a scheduler or basic administrative role, which isn't really "core" HR anyway. AI cannot replace our human capabilities for creativity, compassion and collaboration, but it can enhance those things by automating away the tasks that don't add value and leaving time for us to focus on our core human capabilities.
What advice can you share with HR professionals who are looking to incorporate AI into their HR tech? Where’s the best place to start?
The best place to start is looking at your current processes for two things: first, something that is very structured and repetitive (interview scheduling, employee self-service, data reporting, employee engagement survey analysis, etc.) and then think about how you might use your time more strategically if your time spent on those activities dropped by 90 percent. That's the reality of many of these solutions in the market today. The other thing to keep in mind is that automation for the sake of automation isn't going to lead to positive outcomes. Employees and candidates that feel "automated" in the process are not going to appreciate the experience. Automation needs to be balanced with personalization in order to deliver the best, most positive experience that blending humans and machines can create.
What is your goal for those who attend your session? What do you hope they will learn?
My hope is that attendees can walk away with a sense of the value AI can bring to the function of HR and to the business as a whole while also seeing the value of both automation and augmentation. Automation is about handing basic tasks over to algorithms, but augmentation is about bringing insights to us as practitioners to help us do our jobs better. Both have value, and I will be giving away a list of companies that are focusing on AI, automation, and machine learning as a special takeaway to help make this more concrete. This isn't a session on theory or prognosticating by a "futurist," it's practical and research-based.