The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in the past years has profoundly impacted a tremendous number of companies and sectors. Take the example of supply chain functions – these have been completely reshaped and fully robotized warehouses are now the new standard. In parallel, other support or corporate functions have also caught this technological wave, but not with the same speed and pace. Human Resources today are the perfect illustration: the shift towards Digital HR has started for pioneer organizations, but the majority of companies are still in the reflection and conceptualization stages. On one hand, there is an overwhelming feeling related to the immensity of ‘the possible’ in terms of HR technology offerings, and on the other hand, there is a need to answer growing expectations from an evolving workforce.
Today, HR C-levels are facing a common main equation: Ensuring that HR roadmaps will become even more relevant in the C-suite and help streamlining organizations while improving the employee’s experience.
But how are AI technologies concretely impacting the HR community?
Beyond the reflection and conceptualization stages mentioned earlier, AI is clearly acknowledged as a critical component of the future HR service delivery model. Most of discussions today are about how to incorporate chatbots, robots or other cognitive solutions within Human Resources departments.
Just to name a few examples:
- Robotic process automation (RPA) is a new norm today. Any process optimization exercise almost always considers robotic automation as a solution. In this context, almost all HR processes are subject to automation. The main recurring ones that we observe are related to recruitment, core HR administration, compensation, payroll and performance, but all HR processes that require significant manual input are candidates for automation.
- Chatbots are also getting a lot of traction. For example, in the HR space, chatbots are replacing traditional FAQs. Cognitive chatbots can also be trained by humans in order to improve their correct answer rate. This is a real game changer and robust accelerator to change the employee experience.
- Robots are less and less considered as exhibition gadgets and can now be found in some HR front office departments.
- Voice assistants on mobile for any employee, anytime, anywhere are becoming more common – say hello to the new HR ‘Siri’. A vacation request for example can then be part of a quick phone conversation, instead of several less efficient transactions involving HR systems and emails.
What we are observing, is that AI technologies are becoming fully embedded within the HR community. The initial doubts and fears have been overcome by most HR professionals and AI is recognized as a real added value to the employee. The HR operating model shift is ongoing and we are only at the early stages as the technological change is evolving at an exponential speed. Tomorrow new Artificial Intelligence offerings will emerge and will continue to reshape HR departments.
Author: Thomas Dorynek – Manager, People Advisory Services, EY
Thomas is a seasoned consultant with extensive experience in HR Digital Transformation projects. He is a high energy professional with an infectious enthusiasm for Technology. Views are his own. Follow @tdorynek