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Data science and AI: The new wave of HR disruption
AI in human resources (HR) is currently one of the hot topics in the artificial intelligence industry, with many investing in AI solutions for HR: from predictive analytics to automation.
Broadly speaking, applications of AI in HR falls into two main categories:
- Solutions that improve recruitment by ensuring companies select the right person for the vacancies they are trying to fill.
- Solutions that improve employee experience.
“Employee experience” is one of the big buzzword in HR. This trend is driven by the higher expectations of employees as well as the challenges faced by employers finding the right people to recruit. These challenges mean the hiring process can cost tens of thousands, and sometimes more.
As a result, when companies find the right employee, they do everything they can to keep them and employee experience is a key part of that. AI and data science can play an important role in measuring employee experience, understanding the factors that affect it, and find ways to further improve. Furthermore, data science can be used to provide personalised improvements to each individual that better suit their particular personality, needs and expectations.
Data science in the Hiring Process
One of the main ways that AI and data science help with the hiring process is when screening applications. AI can fully automate CV screening for example, speeding up the hiring cycle, and freeing up resources.
This can also result in better hires, although there are challenges to overcome. Machine learning algorithms learn from data. Amazon met difficulties when it discovered that the training data of their hiring algorithm was weighted towards male applicants. This resulted in the AI model favouring males when it went live, so Amazon had to scrap it.
However, if these issues are to be overcome, there can be substantial benefits to using machine learning and AI in the hiring process. Automation is one benefit that was already mentioned. Another potential use case is the use of predictive algorithms that can assess a new hire’s future prospects in the company. The world of HR has already just recently started to explore the potential of AI, and there are many more potential use cases that can be explored.
Improving Employee Experience through the use of AI
There are several ways that AI is already being used to improve the employee experience. As these solutions become further embedded, and as new technologies are developed, this is set to increase.
One example of a solution that is available today is AI algorithms that help employers monitor morale among their employees. The algorithms do this by monitoring employee business communications. Everything is anonymised in the process as the objective is not to read what the employees are sending, but rather to understand how they are feeling.
As it’s AI technology, the algorithms get better the more communications they monitor. From this monitoring, they can determine when employees are feeling generally positive or negative. They are also able to go into more detail, including indicating whether the employees are happy or irritated, stressed or disappointed.
This information is helpful to managers and senior leadership teams as it is not always easy to spot when employee morale starts to dip. Bad morale, of course, is often obvious, but subtle shifts in morale can be an early indicator of a trend. Identifying it as soon as possible with the help of AI enables managers to respond quickly to reverse that trend.
Other AI software that is already in use helps managers improve the way they reward employees. In these cases, the software monitors various data points. This helps managers with everything from remembering an employee’s birthday to improving the quality of information available to the manager at performance review meetings.
The benefit is employees feeling more positive about their job. After all, employees want to be recognised for what they do – how they contribute to the company, their achievements, how customers perceive them, etc. It can be difficult for managers to be across all this information for all employees.
However, when they’re not, employees notice. In fact, a lack of recognition is a leading cause of employee dissatisfaction. AI could go some way to improving this situation.
Another area of HR currently being improved by AI is employee training. To be specific, using e-learning to make training for employees ultra-personalised – down to individual employee level if required.
AI does this by assessing the employee to identify their weaknesses and areas that can be improved. It then customises courses and modules for that employee, creating a bespoke training pathway.
Finally, HR chatbots driven by AI software are being used by HR departments to handle HR queries and requests. Of course, there are situations where employees need to talk to a real person, but there are many areas where an intelligent chatbot could fill the role. One example is requesting time off for holidays.
What’s the Future of HR is Going to Looking Like?
AI and data science are transforming HR, but this technology is not about replacing people. Instead, AI enhances decision making, gives managers and HR professionals better access to data, and improves general HR performance, including return on investment.
If you want to learn more about this subject make sure to check out my book, The Decision Maker’s Handbook to Data Science, where I explain in simple words, how data science can be used in any organisation in order to improve efficiency and margins. Also, make sure to check out The Tesseract Academy‘s YouTube Channel, where you can find more videos that explain applications of AI and analytics in the business world.