How HR can use AI

How Businesses Can Use AI in HR and Recruiting

AI is an exciting, new, innovative and dynamic field. It has so many applications that it's hard to know where to begin. So let's start with AI in HR.

HR itself is not an exact science. A survey of HR leaders and hiring managers undertaken by IBM revealed that 39% of recent hires would not be rehired by the company.

It's clear that a lot of mistakes are being made, and there's loads of room for hiring processes to improve.

While this may hardly the stuff of science fiction, but there are real reasons to get excited about how your business could use AI in HR.

It's early days yet. We expect that there are lots of applications for AI that aren't currently in use - or even thought of - to come in the near future. But here are some of the ways in which AI in HR could benefit your business.

Dealing with high volumes of applicants

The job market gets more and more competitive each and every year.

It's not surprising to receive hundreds, or even thousands, of application forms for a single job. This is particularly true towards the junior end of the market, as well as in service industries.

This is a nightmare for recruiters and HR professionals. How on earth can you get a good feel of each candidate's abilities from their resumé, when you can only afford to spend a few seconds scanning the page before moving on to the next?

It's a problem that many companies have.

Here's where the strength of AI in HR really lies. A computer system can be built to deal with hundreds of application forms in a much shorter time than people can, cherry-picking the best candidates for further review by your human team.

It can be programmed to look for certain job titles, education requirements or other patterns you're keen on spotting - and whittle down the pile to a more manageable number.

This way, a human can give more time and attention to making the best choices of who to invite in for interview, based on their AI-filtered resumés.

Keeping candidates up to speed

While hiring is ongoing, candidates can be contacted by the AI system to engage them in the recruitment process.

While this might be limited to fairly simple reactions for now - a polite rejection or 'invitation to interview' response, for example - it's always nice for candidates to know what's going on behind the scenes.

And with 58% of job seekers saying that they are less likely to buy from a company who didn't reply after they submitted an application, even a rejection email can be good for business.

As AI develops, perhaps it could even perform live precursor interviews with candidates to help the human team gather more data and make a really well-informed choice.

AI in HR is not biased

As well as zipping through applicants with incredible speed, there's another major advantage of AI being used to draw up a long- or short-list of candidates that humans.

AI doesn't care about a candidate's history in the same way a person might. While it's programmed to look for certain things, it's not biased.

People have unconscious biases, that, despite their best efforts, are really hard to shake off when recruiting.

Research shows that we like to hire people who remind us of ourselves. That's not necessarily a bad thing in terms of being able to get along with new colleagues.

But it means that we might end up with a company lacking in diversity, or pass over a more suitable or qualified candidate without really thinking about it.

One survey shows that 37% of managers who self-identified as coming from a 'top school' said that they prefer to hire candidates from other top schools. Whereas only 6% of managers who didn't attend a top school said the same thing.

We'll probably never completely iron out these biases from the recruitment process because it doesn't seem likely that AI will take over face-to-face interviews.

However, discounting candidates on the strength (or not) of their education is risky. There are plenty of very intelligent, likeable people without an Ivy League degree (or a degree at all) who could be a brilliant fit for the advertised role.

Helping out new hires

Bringing a new person on board within your company can be time-consuming. They'll have a lot of questions, and HR has probably heard them all before - and their answers might be less than helpful if they're busy juggling other tasks too.

What if the newcomer could ask an expert-built AI system about key policies and even be brought up to speed on ongoing projects they'll be involved in?

This may lack the 'human touch' in some people's eyes, and in reality should be used in conjunction with the support of a solid HR team. But even in partnership with HR, the AI could save a whole lot of time for people throughout your business.

AI in HR for new hires may be best used as a 'reminder' system. People joining have so much to take on board that they forget around 50% of the information presented within just one hour. And after 24 hours, that figure rises to 90%.

Instead of bugging HR for information about things they've simply forgotten about, an AI system can provide your employees with the answers they're after.

This will be equally helpful for existing staff who need to find out the answers to rote questions about things like healthcare benefits or external policies.

The system can be humanized too - presenting the AI as a chat system gives staff an 'easy access' solution similar to one they're probably used to using in their personal lives.

Training old hands

HR often have an idea of the type of training which is necessary or desirable to enhance the workforce. Picking out suitable courses is more complicated. And some employees will be more knowledgeable than others and may resent sitting through a 'back-to-basics' training session.

In the same way that it whips through a list of candidates, AI in HR could trawl the internet (or a database) for potential training solutions and output a list of suitable options.

More than this, AI can respond to an individual user's needs as it realizes what kind of training and information they're seeking.

So if a member of staff needs to get to grips with, for example, new software or a new compliance initiative, AI could help by serving them up the right information at the right time.

Sorting out the meetings schedule

Putting together meetings in our day-to-day lives is a real drag. Between emails and phone calls, we finally manage to hash out a time that works for all ten attendees...

And then - inevitably - a key stakeholder drops out due to another, more pressing, matter and all the timings have to be figured out all over again.

Instead of wasting time organizing this, AI in HR can be used to pick out times where everyone has space in their calendars and book a meeting room.

If you have catering in your building, it could even react to the time of day and book in refreshments such as coffees, teas or even lunch for those attending.

This is far from the only admin task that a computer could soon take over...

Informing the performance review period

AI in HR can manage huge amounts of data about employees, such as their time sheets, line manager feedback on reports, their LinkedIn connections, and so on.

All of this data, and much more, can be used to help HR tell senior management about who has been performing well, who is under performing, and who needs a hand.

This can be used during the performance review period to address concerns and reward hard workers.

Meanwhile, it's often hard to spot when someone is thinking of leaving. Although HR professionals might be able to spot the more obvious signs, in a very large firm there's not a lot of chance of picking out the unhappy employees from the crowd.

AI can be used to alert HR to behavioral patterns that might indicate someone is not content - and also to check out their LinkedIn connections to see if they've recently been connecting with recruiters or HR bods at other firms.

There are some potential ethical issues here - some companies may feel that it's unethical to delve deep into a person's LinkedIn connections list, for example.

On the other hand, there might be someone you consider very valuable and wouldn't like them to leave. Being given a heads up to the risk means you might be able to act fast and coax them to stay.

What the future holds

AI is an emerging field. This means that the AI we've seen in use over the past few years is only the very tip of the iceberg.

As with all technologies, we'll only learn more as time goes on.

If you'd like to learn more about how AI in HR could dramatically alter your business today, get in touch for a consultation.

How Every Business Can Use AI

How Every Business Can Use Artificial Intelligence

Operating systems came into wide usage in the 1970’s, allowing computers to switch from running one application to another.
It wasn't long before personal computing made it possible for someone to switch from data entry to shooting alien spaceships in a video game.

Times have changed.

These days, computers are managing other computers, inanimate objects, and digital information. As far as managing human interactions, there's still a ways to go.

But it's safe to say that through artificial intelligence projects, we are entering an era in which machines are doing more than performing tasks. They're helping us understand the world and make better decisions.

Artificial intelligence projects benefit every business.

We're not talking about the frightening kind of artificial intelligence from science-fiction movies.

We're also not talking about artificial intelligence projects that take jobs away. Yes, there are robots on the factory floor and cars are driving themselves.

These are the artificial intelligence projects that seem to make the headlines. But there's a wealth of artificial intelligence being used in tandem with humans. 

And companies would be smart to use artificial intelligence projects in situations where their computers are already interacting with one another. 

The real potential of artificial intelligence lies in its ability to pull out insights.

The Internet gave us access to on-demand data. We've got so much data we don't even know what to do with it all.
Artificial intelligence is working toward a world of on-demand insight instead.

Even so, a lot of companies aren't fully embracing artificial intelligence projects. For most people, it seems nothing more than a curiosity.

But it's something to start watching more seriously. Artificial intelligence is expected to be a pivotal part of the business world - and beyond. 

Here are some of the ways artificial intelligence projects are changing the face of business. 


1. Automation of Manual Processes

As technology has advanced over the years, one of the constants has been the automation of work.
It started with labor saving machines such as tractors for farmers and appliances for running the home. Later, industrial robots and basic systems were incorporated. They were used to automate things like hotel reservations.

Today, we're seeing advanced robots working right alongside humans in factories.

Many have viewed artificial intelligence projects as the elimination of blue collar jobs. But it's not really blue collar vs. white collar. It's more a matter of routine vs. non-routine work.

In other words, as industrial era machines once automated physical work, artificial intelligence is now automating routine cognitive processes.

This isn't just some trend. It's already happening.

Smart algorithms are stepping in as junior lawyers for legal discovery. Or they take care of routine journalistic work like summarizing box scores or financial reports. Not only do they do it well, they can do it 24 hours per day. 
And without getting bored by the drudgery. 

But this is a good thing. A company could use artificial intelligence to automate the compiling of data from various reports. This includes industry reports not found in standard databases.

This is usually labor intensive and very time-consuming.

From there, artificial intelligence can then perform an analysis to determine a particular company's profitability. Artificial intelligence now covers these routine cognitive processes. That allows more time for humans to do their jobs without being bogged down by the routine stuff.

2. Virtual Assistance

This is probably the most obvious way people have incorporated artificial intelligence projects.

When you or someone near you talks into their phone to find directions to a restaurant, that is artificial intelligence.

This is common now. But if you're old enough to remember a time when this wasn't the way, it seemed like something out in the far away future. 

Companies are also using chatbots for different purposes. Customer service is the biggest of these. It may seem rather impersonal to have a chatbot deal with an unhappy customer. But, the potential exists for blending machine driven assistance with human customer service.

Chatbots can be helpful at times when there is a spike in demand for customer service. For example, when the internet goes out or a plane is delayed. Artificial intelligence can be deployed to handle the simple questions like when your internet will be up again or what other flights are available.

Then more difficult and specific questions can be handled by humans in a more enhanced way.

Chatbots are also proving to have value in marketing efforts. Chatbot apps have been used to help market various products and events. Plus, they're creating a shift in how people interact with technology.

Actual virtual assistants may soon be as commonplace as Siri and Alexa.

3. Generating Insights

Data is essentially the raw material of the digital economy.

Gone are the days of data being trapped in a crazy funhouse of incompatible database and protocols. Or worse yet, buried in those old metal filing cabinets.

But data is relatively useless if there's no effective machinery to transform it into something of value. Enter machine learning.
Yes, modern systems can take in billions of data points and analyze them in minutes. And that's pretty amazing. But they also learn from these data points and get better at it over time.

And the ability of artificial intelligence to learn is what makes its systems so powerful. Their ability to adapt when market behavior changes while improving performance as more data comes in makes them priceless to any business.

4. Unlocking Unstructured Data

What's the difference between structured and unstructured data?

Well, in the past, nearly all of the data we analyzed was structured data. That meant it got captured and immediately stored in some sort of database.

This could be in the form of cash receipts or answers to customer surveys, for example. Most of the rest of the data got lost.
That used to work until the digital world came along.

It's been estimated that 80% of digital data is unstructured. And while analyzing unstructured data is new, the importance of its impact is expected to increase dramatically over the next ten years. 

This is where artificial intelligence projects will really start making sense.

For example, imagine an energy company discovers it needs to lay a gas pipeline. They will need to know information from the past. Such as, what was built in the area before, how the area was used and what sorts of problems were encountered in the past.

It isn't helpful if most of this information is in paper reports that have been on a shelf for years.
Applying artificial intelligence projects to analyze unstructured data could also be used to understand consumer conversations. By being able to learn and identify customers’ personality types, they could then be served by someone with a compatible service style. 

That's an extra touch that doesn't really exist... just yet. 

There are a few main objectives to keep in mind as you begin to put in place artificial intelligence projects into your business strategies. 

They are as follows:

Pay attention to which activities have an immediate impact on revenue and cost.

Many companies, like Amazon, have seen the value of artificial intelligence projects to reduce fraud and bad debt. They've also decreased the number of customers who didn’t get their goods, as well as suppliers who didn’t get paid.

Artificial intelligence has made Amazon more operationally efficient and effective. And all of that equals an increase in revenue.

Focus on artificial intelligence projects that help you produce more without losing personnel.

Again, artificial intelligence doesn't equate to huge job loss. Or any job loss, for that matter.

For example, the staff of the Associated Press was once struggling to produce the massive numbers of earnings stories. The number of people on their writing staff versus the number of publicly held companies was just too extreme.

So they began working with an artificial intelligence firm to train the software to automatically write those short earnings news stories. They were able to greatly increase the number written.

That might sound like bad news for the staff writers, but the artificial intelligence software was just one machine. The other was the digital data feed that AP gets from a financial information provider.

In the end, none of the journalists lost a job. In fact, because of these artificial intelligence projects, they were freed up to write more in-depth stories on business trends. 
It was a win-win.

Move it from the front office to the back office.

It might seem like companies would get the greatest returns when their artificial intelligence projects interact with customers more directly. In areas like marketing, sales, and service, for example.

But the experts are saying to keep the focus on artificial intelligence projects more behind the scenes. Areas, where there is a lot of computer-to-computer interaction, is ideal. Think IT and financing.

If you haven't yet hooked onto the idea of using artificial intelligence projects as part of your business strategy, now is the time to get on board. 

On the other hand, if you HAVE had any experiences with artificial intelligence projects, feel free to comment below.