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Pete Cooper


Director of People Partners, Planning & Analytics

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The rise of AI: How HR can work with it, not against it

Instead of being concerned, HR now needs to consider how it can use AI to its advantage. Here we share our advice on how to do so.

What the future of AI looks like, and how large its impact will be, is already dividing much of the world. While some predict AI will be the key to boosting efficiencies and enhancing human capacities, others are more concerned. The UK Government’s Artificial Intelligence advisor has even warned that AI systems could wipe out humans within the next two years.


It is no wonder then, that our research found that two fifths (43%) of HR managers are worried they’ll lose their job as the HR function becomes more automated.


However, while AI can provide major efficiencies, it also has limitations. Despite its contextual and conversational capabilities, AI on its own cannot give a complete picture of a situation. AI doesn’t understand empathy, and it can’t provide the unique flexibility of human touch that we all require. Ultimately businesses can’t communicate anything produced by AI blindly.


It’s clear that businesses still need to keep the human, in human resources – with our research also finding that nearly three quarters (73%) of business leaders say HR will be more important to businesses in the future.


So, instead of being concerned, HR now needs to consider how it can use AI to its advantage. Here we share our advice on how to do so.


HR needs to use AI to empower the function


HR must remember that AI is there to support them, not replace their jobs. In fact, AI is helping HR move from process to purpose to focus on more strategic work. HR teams must now ensure that they are set up to embrace AI, and the benefits it can bring.


For example, AI could automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as payroll, or recruitment admin. This would offer major efficiencies for HR teams, streamlining their work flows and allowing them to focus on what is most important, people. AI also has the potential to improve decision-making by providing valuable insights and analytics from the data in HR processes. These can help to eliminate biases by ensuring that businesses are choosing the right candidate or offering the best compensation and benefits plan for each individual employee.


By working with AI, instead of against it, HR will benefit from these major efficiencies, allowing them to focus on what matters most: communicating and connecting with people, empathising and ultimately, problem solving.


Demonstrate your value to the C-Suite


While HR proved its value and more during the pandemic, they still need to continue to demonstrate their true potential to senior business leaders, particularly as budgets become under threat amidst rising costs.


Ultimately, HR should always be business orientated. Their role is about supporting businesses to make sure their most valuable asset – their people – are empowered to do their job, be productive and help the organisation succeed.


Now, equipped with HR technologies and the advent of AI in the workplace – HR are able to focus on initiatives like measuring and assessing engagement and culture, and be freed from time consuming administrative tasks. HR has never been in a better place to be able to step up and take the lead as a key driver of productivity and business success.


How can HR prove itself as a strategic partner?


HR teams are the eyes and ears on the ground in a business. And therefore, they’re the best equipped to advise on, and solve, the people problems that are impacting the business. For example, our research shows that 39% of C-Suite Leaders would like to see HR proactively advising on strategy in relation to business issues.


But, in order to be a strategic partner to the C-Suite, there are some key things to consider. Measurement is important. HR needs to “show not tell” by creating clear KPIs, goals and metrics to link the corporate strategy, strategic HR priorities and key performance measurements for HR and for the business – for example, around hiring and productivity.


To do this, HR needs to utilise the data goldmine it sits on, from recruitment data, career progression data, personal development reviews to staff satisfaction data. HR can use this data to improve decisions, and optimise processes – ultimately adding value to the company.


However, HR must be mindful to anticipate and consider the business context when offering proactive recommendations and solutions. For example, considering the long-term goals and financial situation of the business.


Looking to the future


Automation has already changed the way HR teams operate, by allowing them to work more efficiently and make better, data driven decisions for the entire organisation. By allowing HR to focus on strategic initiatives, this has allowed them to play a larger role in driving business growth.


We are already seeing the need amongst our customers for more automation, and with the latest advances in AI technology, we will be able to tackle even more challenges we have not yet been able to. For example, AI will allow us to further help free HR teams from repetitive and administrative tasks and improve efficiencies.


However, AI isn’t going to replace HR. But it is important that we keep both HR in control and the human touch for employees.



Author Profile Picture
Pete Cooper

Director of People Partners, Planning & Analytics

Read more from Pete Cooper