The Future of AI in HR: Why Success Hinges on Continued Human Involvement
AI is no longer just a technology used by coders and developers. It's a tool we rely on across all aspects of our working lives. From crafting resumes, generating marketing scripts, and penning corporate reports, there are no limits to how generative AI can support us.
When it comes to HR, AI is already infiltrating key talent management processes.
And the future? It's a collaboration, not a takeover.
Forward-thinking companies must anticipate their business needs, including how AI might help them achieve their organizational goals. Faster, better, and more cost-effectively.
This article will showcase how we can expect AI to support (not replace) people teams.
We'll also be talking about how the future of AI relies on a balance between technology and human involvement.
🚷 Is AI going to replace HR?
The question on everyone's lips: Will artificial intelligence phase out Human Resources entirely?
The short answer: Of course not.
AI already supports HR teams by automating routine tasks, sorting through mountains of data to reveal employee trends, generating company policies, and more.
But will it replace HR entirely? No. Human Resources practices rely on human sensitivity, interpersonal relationships, and intuition, which are not skills AI can replicate—at least, not yet.
AI is an invaluable ally in the HR space, freeing up time and resources so HR professionals can focus on more strategic initiatives. And, according to Gartner data, it's proving popular so far:
- 81% of HR leaders have already leaned on AI to boost proficiency efficiency within their organizations.
- 76% of HR leaders are concerned that if their companies do not implement AI solutions in HR within the next 1-2 years, they will fall behind in terms of organizational success.
🤖 How AI is reinventing HR: 7 Expectations for the future of AI in HR
People leaders can incorporate AI, to some degree, into all areas of HR. But the technology is ever-evolving, so it's exciting to forecast what we can expect in the coming months and years and how it might impact the different elements of the employee experience.
Predictive analytics is the practice of extracting information from existing data sets to determine patterns to predict future outcomes or trends.
Example: HR teams might use AI algorithms to analyze employee data and forecast:
This helps HR teams make informed decisions about hiring, training, promotions, and succession planning.
Forging ahead, expect AI algorithms to get even more intelligent, especially in how we use them in the recruitment process.
Gartner predicts that "an AI algorithm could predict which sourcing channels would most likely attract the right candidates for a specific role, decreasing your sourcing spend. Or it could take data provided on an online candidate intake form and trigger next steps."
➡️ Learn more about how to use predictive analytics in HR to augment your decision-making.
Next-gen L&D personalization
Effective employee development depends on providing tailored experiences for every individual in your organization. AI solutions create personalized learning paths based on employee data, skills gaps, and career goals.
Example: Diving deeper into a specific skill gap, AI could analyze an employee's past training experiences and preferences to suggest the best delivery method:
- eLearning modules
- Podcasts during commute time
- Content gamification
- Skills workshops
However, AI in L&D is poised to incorporate AI tutors in the marketplace. Following the 2023 ed tech conference, ASU + GSV Summit, Forbes reported that Microsoft's Bill Gates and Open AI's Sam Altman are excited about the potential of generative technologies to become tutors, providing learners with instant feedback. We can expect AI tutors to:
- Complete projects.
- Help students discover answers.
- Dig deeper into topics.
➡️ Check out our guide to using AI in learning and development.
Self-service AI enhances the employee experience by providing instant solutions to common HR-related questions using natural language processing. For example, AI chatbots or virtual assistants can answer employee questions about:
- leave requests;
- payroll inquiries.
This reduces the need for human intervention and frees up time for HR professionals.
The best part: AI-powered chatbots are available 24/7, making it convenient for employees to get the information they need whenever they need it.
Expect AI digital assistants to become even more sophisticated, incorporating voice recognition and emotional intelligence capabilities as machine learning advances. AI-powered platform Yellow promises,
"Advancements in NLP and ML are propelling chatbots toward a future where their conversations closely mimic human interaction. Users will experience more natural and engaging interactions with chatbots, improving satisfaction."
Augmented reality and virtual reality
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are in the mainstream, with applications in gaming, entertainment, and marketing. But they've yet to hit HR with the same force as other types of AI.
So, how can HR leaders leverage these technologies to enhance the employee experience?
Here are some ways we can expect AR/VR to merge with HR in the near term:
- Creating immersive experiences for candidates to provide a glimpse into company culture.
- Assessing a potential candidate's current skills in real-time.
- Onboarding new joiners with VR tours of company offices and introductions to team members.
- Training leaders on soft skills such as conflict resolution in a simulated environment.
The development of AR/VR is still in its infancy in HR due to the cost of wearable devices, associated training challenges, and difficulties in assessing the results of using this technology.
However, the research paper Analyzing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) recent development in education suggests that the future is bright for AR/VR up until 2030 and beyond. Perhaps the biggest development we can expect is faster processing speeds from 5G and 6G networks, leading to enhanced user experiences with reduced latency.
Strategic “just-in-time” suggestions
Employees meeting their managers for regular check-ins or performance meetings are an example of the human relationships that AI can't replace. But what the technology can do is optimize the output of your meeting by creating an actionable follow-up plan with prompts, suggestions, and milestones embedded into the human-robot partnership.
Example #1: An accounts team member named Eli expresses interest in moving from accounting to data analysis but is unsure how to make the transition. An AI-powered LMS recommends a course in data analytics based on their current and required skill level. The tool regularly encourages participation by sending out prompts to Eli so they can progress toward their learning goal.
Example #2: A team leader named Chris is struggling to resolve a conflict between two team members. AI can oversee this interpersonal problem by prompting Chris to check in daily with the warring team members and check that the conflict resolution processes are taking hold. These prompts can lead to better behavior, more frequent check-ins, and, ultimately, improved working relationships.
➡️ Check out our guide to using AI in performance management, including how top companies like Spotify are getting involved.
Generative multimedia training content
Generative AI in HR allows L&D teams to write a lesson, a whole course, or even an entire training library in just a few clicks. The technology will enable us to generate multimedia training content, which integrates different types of media, such as:
This would enable more engaging and interactive training programs, improving retention and knowledge application.
Plus, generative multimedia content will be personalized for each employee based on their learning style, preferences, and individual performance gaps. This will lead to a more efficient use of time and resources while delivering higher-quality employee training experiences.
Example: Imagine you've already created a training template for your entire onboarding process. Using generative multimedia content, you can easily customize it for new hires in different job roles, locations, or departments by adding relevant videos or audio as required. This will ensure that each employee receives tailored training that meets their learning needs and aligns with the company's goals and objectives.
Talent acquisition enhancement
Arguably, one of the most significant areas of HR that AI can overhaul is talent acquisition.
Companies like Hilton have already embraced AI-based tools during recruitment to reduce their time-to-fill rate by 90%.
Finding qualified candidates is a challenging task, but AI enables companies to build a strong and diverse talent pool of candidates, which requires anti-bias mechanisms.
Eightfold AI CEO and co-founder Ashutosh Garg speaks about the importance of eliminating bias from the sourcing and screening stages of talent acquisition.
"Anything that is not relevant for the job should not be part of the resume. Your name is not relevant; your age is not relevant; your gender is not relevant; your race is not relevant; your ethnicity is not relevant. It does not even matter whether you worked at Google versus Facebook versus Microsoft. What is relevant is your skills and your learnability." Anti-bias AI solutions already exist in the market that have adopted techniques such as resume anonymization and resume scoring to give everyone an equal chance of progressing through the hiring process, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or gender. We expect further advancements, including machine intelligence and sentiment analysis, to eliminate bias in job descriptions and candidate communications.
➡️ Not sure which AI tool for HR is the best fit for your organization? Check out our comparison of 7 tools in the market.
🕵️♀️ How can companies ensure they don't lose the "human touch" in HR?
It's easy to get carried away by the brilliance of AI and what it could do for your organization.
The truth is: HR professionals mustn't overlook the human element of dealing with people alongside the excitement of AI's progression.
We spoke to some people leaders who offered their tips on how to blend technology and human involvement so that they complement each other and never jar.
Embrace interpersonal skills
Fractional Chief People Officer Heidi Hauver stresses the importance of maintaining a solid foundation of interpersonal skills:
"One of the key aspects of success is maintaining strong connections built on trust, transparency, and continually enhancing our interpersonal and communication skills. As leaders, we must guide our teams in embracing and adapting to the ever-changing landscape that lies ahead.
An important part of this process involves our own willingness to embrace AI as our ultimate co-collaborator. Recently, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the remarkable power of AI in supporting an HR team when I showed how to leverage AI to create a new, customized program with global reach in a fraction of the time it would have taken through traditional means.
By collaborating as a team and using AI, we were able to conduct extensive research, gain access to global best practices, tap into valuable insights, explore relevant samples, and ensure that the program was inclusive and met the needs of the entire team. The outcome was positive, productive, and powerful."
Invite employee communication
As with any aspect of HR, it's vital to keep two-way communication channels open with your employees. Giving your people a voice is powerful in understanding how they engage with the technology. It also reminds them that you're there for a conversation, in person, when they need to clear the air or share an idea. Because, let's face it, sometimes your team members won't want to defer to a chatbot.
"Feedback from within my organization is that losing the human element is what people fear most. "Human Resources" has "human" in it for a reason. While implementing AI will help immensely with menial tasks and admin, it's vital to keep lines of communication open. Offer open-office hours, similar to an open-door policy, where employees can meet with you in person or online to maintain or build relationships."
Be selective about when you use AI
AI won't be the right fit for every element of your HR processes. Just because technology can perform a task doesn't mean it's the best solution or will achieve the same results as a human. Matt Erhard, Managing Partner of Summit Search Group, explains how to be selective about using AI:
"Maintaining the human touch can be achieved by being intentional in the areas where AI is employed. Automation can enable a more personal touch in interactions with employees if used correctly. We achieve this by employing AI for time-consuming, mundane tasks that are necessary for the business but don't involve interactions with team members—things like data entry, payroll processing, routine benefits management, and similar types of tasks.
By using AI for these functions, more time is freed up in the HR team's day to engage with employees on a more personal level, whether that's talking to employees about issues they're having or focusing on integrating employee feedback to improve their overall experience.
This approach to the use of AI at Summit has proven effective in finding that balance of operating as efficiently as possible without losing the "human" side of Human Resources."
Understand overarching people strategies
AI's most significant contribution to HR teams is the time it frees, enabling them to focus on people strategy rather than repetitive tasks. But as with any technology you introduce into your organization, you must understand how it will gel with your overall strategy and company mission. Mindy Honcoop, Fractional HR Leader and Advisor at Agile in HR, explains that companies should examine their organizational capability strategy for human touch and AI to be an intelligent match. She told us:
"Organizational capability is the intersection of people, processes, and systems. Companies should craft a digital strategy aligned with their business capability strategy. Having the Chief People Officer as a co-owner in this strategy is vital. In doing this, a robust digital strategy will encompass the human element.
By utilizing AI to enhance the digital workplace experience, we create room for employees to exercise autonomy and informed decision-making. Equitable access to data empowers them, fostering better business outcomes. The true synergy lies in seamlessly integrating technology and consistent processes with the human touch."
➡️ Using AI in your HR processes is only a good idea if your employees continue to thrive. Learn how to successfully combine AI with employee engagement in your organization.
➡️ Give your employees a brighter future with Zavvy AI
There are plenty of AI-powered tools in the market, but one stands out from the crowd: Zavvy AI. Our Slack-based assistant offers the following features that will slip seamlessly into your HR processes:
- 🧑🎓 AI training: Short on time? Design an entire training library of courses, workshops, microlearning units, and more in just a few clicks.
- 🌱 Growth plans: Connect the dots between performance management reviews and progress by building customized training plans for every learner.
- 🧭 Career frameworks: Provide organizational transparency and encourage growth by defining role expectations, job competencies, and leveling so every employee knows how to progress in your company.
- 📊 AI feedback: Make sense of all the feedback you collect with AI-generated feedback summaries.
- 💰 AI training budget: Unlock the potential in your L&D budgets to understand the ROI of every dollar invested in your people.
📅 Ready to support your people, now and in the future? Book a demo of Zavvy today.