AI in HR: The transformative impact

Stephanie Thomas

Written By Simon Fowler, CEO of Empowering People Group and AdviserPlus

27th June 2024

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The impact of AI is akin to social media’s transformation of how we interact as a society. HR experts should view AI as an incredibly powerful tool to streamline tasks so that teams can focus on the aspects of their role that require human interactions.

Industry insights on AI in HR

A recent article in People Management Magazine looks at this transformative potential, highlighting key insights from industry leaders.  Simon Fowler, CEO of Empowering People Group and AdviserPlus, shared his expert perspective on the matter, emphasising the importance of targeted AI application to enhance HR efficiency and employee experiences. As companies increasingly turn to AI for performance reviews and feedback, Fowler’s cautionary advice emphasises the need for a balanced approach, ensuring fairness and individual consideration in sensitive HR processes.

The mainstream rise of AI tools

The rise of AI tools like ChatGPT has made it mainstream, sparking debate about its use in HR and people management tasks and caution is crucial.

AI can help take a data-driven approach to people management and performance, helping to identify trends and areas where there may be issues that need to be proactively addressed.

Addressing bias and privacy concerns

However, AI algorithms can introduce biases that result in unfair outcomes, particularly in areas like performance evaluations where a customised approach is necessary for each individual. Utilising AI to collect performance data can reduce reliance on anecdotal evidence and potentially decrease unconscious bias by relying on objective data instead of personal opinions. Nonetheless, there is a concern among employees regarding privacy when their work is being monitored by AI.

Balancing benefits and risks

So, there are significant benefits and risks to consider. Transparency and clear communication about how data is collected and used are essential to reduce apprehension and improve adoption where AI adds value.

Responsible integration

The key is responsible integration. HR and people management tasks shouldn’t be replaced by AI, but people leaders can be empowered by it. Human Resources and people managers alike are irreplaceable for reassurance, effective employee engagement, and for complex situations that require human judgement, empathy and a personal touch.

Strategic AI investment in HR

Investment in AI should be focussed where it can simplify work, remove admin burdens and repetitive tasks that don’t require specialist skills. This would then free up HR to focus on delivering people-focussed interactions for the unique matters that support organisational effectiveness.

The Key to Successful Digital Transformation in HR

Digital transformation is not merely about digitising processes; it’s about investing in the right solutions that simplify work and empower your most valuable assets: your people. Many organisations fall into the trap of investing in solutions that streamline processes but are not equipped to manage the complexity of employee relations data.

The most effective transformation solutions will provide line managers with the necessary resources to better manage people matters, while also giving HR the visibility and control needed to manage risk and drive positive change. By focusing on these principles, HR leaders can ensure that AI and digital tools serve to enhance, rather than disrupt, their workforce, leading to a more efficient, fair, and human-centered workplace.

Future Considerations

The ongoing advancements in AI are exciting, yet its intended purpose must be carefully considered. It shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all solution but rather targeted at specific pain points to enhance HR’s efficiency and employee experiences. Understanding employee needs is essential for successful technology adoption. By taking a considered approach to the risks and benefits, while engaging people across the business in the decision to invest in not just AI, but any technology, HR leaders can ensure it serves, not disrupts, their workforce.

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