AI is going to have a “massive” impact on HR, but it is not something to fear – that’s the view of HR tech guru Josh Bersin.
“This is not the first time that HR departments have had to adapt and evolve their technology”, argued Bersin. Instead, it has huge potential to transform the future of HR for the better.
In a new report, based on in-depth interviews with 40 senior HR tech leaders, Bersin and his colleagues at The Josh Bersin Company explored the use cases for AI at work.
First of all, AI can help recruiters build a diverse pool of candidates. Of course, this is only the case if the AI is well trained, and stripped of biases – it is crucial to avoid so-called garbage in, garbage out.
Bersin argued that properly trained AI will be much better at human sourcing around diversity, but also for skills.
Since AI models start with data, and then interpret said data, the tech can quickly and efficiently identify the skills that candidates have and match them to the right jobs.
Along a similar vein, AI can go beyond talent acquisition, and help organizations and HR teams with talent mobility. It can look at employees’ data, successfully identify their skills, and match them with open roles within the organization.
According to The Josh Bersin Company’s report, “many people believe they should self-assess their skills, or their manager should assess their skills”, but “one AI senior scientist told us that for every three skills you think you have the AI can find five others you also have and ten adjacent skills you can develop easily”.
Ultimately, doing internal mobility based on skills, rather than other factors, helps take the bias out of career advancement and promotions. There are some organizations that are already doing great work on this – one example is Accenture.
Bersin’s report goes one step further and talked about using AI to fix pay equity:
“If you added your company’s pay data to this system, you could certainly see the system giving you ‘predictions’ for pay, which would immediately show groups who are underpaid, overpaid, or otherwise.
“Pay equity and diversity and inclusive promotion are enormous new applications for AI”.
Make sure you talk to tech vendors about AI
Talking about the report, Janet Mertens, senior vice-president of research at the Josh Bersin company tells UNLEASH that these use cases help to demystify the ‘hype’ around AI.
But there is still lots of work to be done, and HR leaders need to work with their tech vendor partners if they want to apply HR successfully in their organizations.
Mertens adds: “Making a concerted effort to understand the realities of AI solutions is a great starting point. The myths surrounding this emerging technology can prevent organizations from strategically considering the opportunities it offers.”
The Josh Bersin Company’s research suggests that there are three types of AI – emerging AI, which is built on top of existing tech, first generation AI, which is built into the system, and second generation AI, this is where the technology is built on AI.
The latter – second generation AI – is the technology that will allow HR teams to reap the benefits mentioned above.
Examples of second generation are Eightfold, Gloat and SeekOut, while the bigger, more legacy vendors, like Workday, Cornerstone and SAP still sit in the first generation camp.
These offer some benefits of AI, but are less good at things like skills prediction and matching. They don’t have the power of deep neural networks or large language models – they often focus more on natural language processing.
Mertens concludes: “Exploring the three different categories of AI solutions…can guide your decision-making process.”
As HR leaders:
“You can identify whether existing technologies supporting your organization have untapped AI functionality or explore how other solutions may align with your current tech suite,” she continues.
“A phased strategy allows you to manage internal stakeholder concerns, the change management process with employees, and the risks involved with making too many changes at once.”
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