HR Department in Jeopardy: is Technology an Opportunity or a Threat?

Artificial intelligence is not a novelty. HR will soon be able to focus on more important issues.

Nowadays there’s been an increasingly high interest for investment in HR technology.

Study carried out by CB Insights (2016) revealed that over $1.96 billion have been invested in start-ups that exclusively dealt with HR tech. However, developments in technology require continuous workplace changes. Automation and artificial intelligence are among those tech practices that allow companies to become the definition of efficiency, high performance and cost-effectiveness.  While some worry about people losing their jobs to “superior” robots, others are optimistic that with technology we can all achieve greater things.

 The tech revolving around HR is there to automate and streamline practices

While there is a vast amount of HR management solutions available on the market, the pressure is perpetual. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is growing and a report by Accenture shows that with its integration, economic growth is expected  to double by 2035. With AI becoming more and more sophisticated, manual roles may eventually be taken over by robots. Robots are nothing new to such fields as law, journalism and medicine but what about HR? Will HR department soon be managed by non-humans? It’s already happening!  Talla is a Boston based start-up that offers companies a chatbot which performs HR department everyday tasks such as explaining company policy, surveying, collecting information and training. Talla bot operates inside enterprise group messaging software (e.g. Slack, HipChat) and uses language processing software to understand the messages and respond accordingly.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new factor of production and has the potential to introduce new sources of growth, changing how work is done and reinforcing the role of people to drive growth in business

Although the idea of HR being comprised of bots may seem frightening, there is a bright side – while chatbots are taking care of low-level monotonous tasks, HR staff can focus on more strategic and engaging activities.

One of the biggest challenges HR faces is lost time. It can often be related to recruitment process; HR department spends numerous hours browsing resumes of unqualified applicants. Implementing the right technology may solve the problem.  Al requires huge amounts of data; therefore, it could do a huge favor in recruiting. For example, imagine a database of resumes in a multi-national company. While users of applicant tracking software (ATS) can search through large amounts of resumes by keyword, education, location and years of experience, a search engine may not necessarily ensure that you are seeing the most relevant candidates. With the help of AI the exhausting screening process can become much faster and cost-effective. AI chooses a list of candidates with desired traits and background, and furthermore grades them from best to worst.

One of the artificial “assistants” that deal with communication process is Mya. Created by a Sanfrancisco based HR tech company FirstJob , Mya uses natural language technology to ask questions to candidates based on job requirements. Furthermore, it is there to answer any questions applicants may have about their employers, as well as to keep them informed about their hiring status.

Automation can be helpful in many ways

Technology development may also bring serious changes in training. It is known that with the help of virtual reality (VR) it is possible to simulate any type of environment. Universum Global recently published a study, evaluating how emerging technologies may influence business in the future. While there still isn’t enough research about the actual practice of implementing VR in workplace, it is claimed to ease the testing and training process tremendously.  This technology will also allow recruiters to assess candidate’s skills and abilities.  Moreover, VR could be a game changer for the whole HR industry; ability to provide potential candidates with a realistic view of the job will allow hires to understand company’s culture and thus help reduce turnover.

And last but not the least is a giant that will not only bring some serious changes to recruitment but also affect processes related to payroll. With Blockchain, also known as the world’s most popular digital wallet, applicants will have a comprehensive digital record of their experience and accomplishments accessible to all companies, managers and recruitment agents. Moreover, transferring money abroad using Blockchain will be less hassle and save you some money – no unnecessary fees from banks.

Artificial Intelligence heralds dramatic potential for growth for both the economy and for humans

The trend of HR bringing robots and human together does not necessarily mean the death of the recruiter.  Yet for the future of HR, it is important to recognize and balance the opportunities and threats posed by technology. While we should all embrace technology, there is also a risk of losing the personal touch. Therefore, as the workplace changes with the automation and implementation of digital technologies, HR must continuously update the way it applies HR practices and policies to the workforce. Let the robots take over day-to-day tasks, while you are focusing on the strategic development of the company!

 

Norberts.