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Don’t Let AI Replace Good HR

Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to play an integral role in our everyday lives. Over the years, we have seen society become more reliant on smart technology. AI is built into personal and home devices from cell phones to tablets to refrigerators. On the work front, companies too have invested in AI technology to improve efficiencies across their organizations. The seemingly relentless development of new applications and tools has also led to a surge of interest among human resource departments looking to improve their processes.  

The topic of technology in the workplace almost inevitably leads to concerns about potential job losses. Countless studies have determined that repetitive, manual tasks can often be performed more safely and efficiently by machines than human labor.  While process automation has transformed various industry segments from manufacturing to healthcare, reducing certain types of roles, experts predict that using certain smart technologies in human resources may create new jobs that require uniquely human skills.  

HR Best Practices Remain Unchanged 

The use of technology in HR has not impacted the underlying best practices employed by industry professionals when dealing with employee matters or when the focus is on motivating individuals and teams. For example, the ability to listen to employee complaints and use discretion and good judgment in disciplinary action and performance management will continue to be critical elements of effective HR.  

The presence of skilled leaders also remains crucial. As new generations enter the workforce, what inspires employees to be more productive is somewhat of a moving target. But recent studies have shown that employees tend to be less motivated by financial rewards and put more value on non-monetary benefits such as training, mentorship, upward career mobility, and feeling connected to their work on a more meaningful level. Smart technologies and AI often fall short of helping companies meet these types of employee needs.

Find AI Solutions that Improve HR Efficiency 

In some cases, employing the right kind of AI will allow HR professionals to improve certain HR functions. One of the areas where AI has been widely adopted is talent acquisition. HR professionals can not only screen candidates more efficiently, some applications can help to remove unconscious bias from the hiring process, which is likely to result in a more diverse candidate pool.  Technology has also enabled employees to access information more easily on their own at work, such as workplace policies, employee benefits, and personal data. Streamlined, integrated timekeeping and payroll technology have further eased the compliance burden on employers, making it easier to remain up to date with changing recordkeeping rules and wage and hour laws.

The use of AI in human resources can be a good thing. Organizations can run specific processes more smoothly, save money, and provide employees with more of the self-service tools they want. However, in the practice of human resources, there remains no substitute for effective human interactions and a high degree of emotional intelligence -- a lesson learned during the COVID pandemic that will likely stay with us for years to come.