AI is here to stay, and a willingness to embrace the oncoming wave of data and automation is key for HR leaders. As an HR professional, this is a moment to rejoice at automating repetitive processes and “outsourcing” time-consuming tasks via AI-powered chatbots. It’s also a moment to acknowledge that HR’s impact on the organization will only increase, as AI will empower HR and business leaders to better understand their people and how to drive the business forward. 

The question of whether AI will replace HR is admittedly a silly one. Machines can do a lot, but HR’s role will always require human skill, knowledge, and above all, empathy. AI will not replace HR, but it will undoubtedly enhance it.

AI presents the possibility to deploy HR skills in an entirely new and experimental way. Here are three ways in which the intersection of AI and HR will deliver a significant impact. 

1. Predict changes before they happen

Predictive HR analytics—which uses historical data to predict future outcomes—is gaining traction in HR departments to understand the workforce better. With the correct data on hand, HR can take a proactive approach to organizational challenges before they arise. One area where predictive analytics has had a significant impact is employee turnover. Predictive models can mine through employee data and find patterns that can clue HR into why employees leave, which can help HR figure out how to retain them. The models act as an early warning system, alerting HR and managers to the critical risk factors of employee attrition – and prompting managers to intervene before it is too late. One interesting example comes from Facebook. The company found that employees who don’t fill out either of their two annual surveys are 2.6 times more likely to quit in the next six months. With that information in hand, HR can alert managers to anyone on their team who is a possible flight risk, and managers can intervene. 

2. Enhance the employee experience with chatbots

Chatbots and AI-powered assistants have been around for a while, and their presence in our work lives will only increase. Gartner predicts that, by 2025, 50% of knowledge workers will use a virtual assistant daily, up from 2% in 2019. There are many potential use-cases for workplace chatbots and AI assistants—answering candidate questions during recruitment, offering extra assistance to new hires during onboarding, and delivering instant responses to employee questions. Chatbots are especially helpful when onboarding global hires. No matter the time difference, your new employees can get the help they need instantly. They can also boost employee wellbeing and monitor workplace stress. Some companies have even begun experimenting with AI coaches to provide personalized mentoring to hundreds of employees. 

3. Spend less time on repetitive tasks

Imagine an HR department free of time-consuming administrative tasks. AI can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete HR processes by automating recurring workflows and streamlining document-heavy tasks. When done manually, these tasks can take hours on end. Research from HiBob found that the average HR manager wastes 38 days a year sorting through spreadsheets and juggling data sources. One HiBob customer told us they spent around eight hours pulling data out of spreadsheets for their monthly management meeting. Another customer told us they were running performance reviews for their 800-person workforce using Google Docs. AI-powered technologies can centralize all of your employee data, run smart reports and help you save time for the important stuff. 

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Take time to understand HR 2.0

The one thing that unites all of these technology solutions is the need for human intervention. HR leaders have a unique understanding of what motivates and engages their people, and no machine can make up for that innate understanding. AI will not replace HR, but it will enhance HR’s ability to be effective and strategic.

Annie Lubin

From Annie Lubin

Annie grew up in Brooklyn, New York. On a Saturday afternoon, you'll likely find her curled up with her cats reading a magazine profile about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.