Technology

Should HR Care About Artificial Intelligence?

By / Feb 6, 2018 (MF3d/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

While AI definitely isn’t in the job title for human resources departments, the move toward automation could change the way you manage your organization’s talent.

Your organization may be built around human resources, but the growth of artificial intelligence could create some fresh HR concerns. Really.

Recent research has pondered the impact of AI on the workforce, and there are legitimate, practical concerns that need to be discussed as automation becomes a more prominent part of the workplace. (Of course, there are some less practical worries, too.) This impact takes a lot of angles, including:

Improving HR processes. Over at Ladders, writer Tom Edathikunnel notes that automation may have some very practical use cases for the HR department, including improving job descriptions so companies can recruit and hire better, automating the onboarding process, and improving response strategies. “Human resource professionals of the future won’t be replaced by AI bots, but they will need to learn to incorporate them into their workflow,” Edathikunnel writes.

Reshaping the ways employees work. As for the people HR helps to manage, AI holds a lot of potential for opening up employees to new, less automated kinds of work. This was a focus of a recent Accenture report, Reworking the Revolution, which made the case that more automation will allow companies to reorganize their workforces around changing business models, revamp corporate skill sets, and reimagine the work that gets done. The problem is, many businesses struggle to figure out how to do so. “While businesses are successfully using Al to improve efficiencies, many are struggling to use it to drive growth,” the report states. “The ability to create new customer experiences lies at the intersection of humans and intelligent machines.”

Generating larger existential questions. Here’s one you haven’t thought of—if bots are doing most of the work, who should they report to: HR or IT? Odd as that line of thinking sounds, PA Consulting Group’s Rob Mettler says this is a valid concern as AI takes roles beyond grinding out automated tasks. “We must resolve the issues of accountability and responsibility as these developments accelerate, and HR must be involved in the discussion,” he writes at Consultancy United Kingdom. “We are surely bound to witness a shift in reporting and accountability from robots’ technical guardians to an adapted HR function.”

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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