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Is the Future of HR, AI?

Bertrand Dussert, VP, HCM Transformation and Thought Leadership, Oracle

Bertrand Dussert, VP, HCM Transformation and Thought Leadership, Oracle

With digital technologies now woven through every facet of our society, HR, and almost every other business function, has to rethink processes to meet the demands of the changing marketplace and enhance the employee experience. They understand that investing in their employees, is investing in the company.

"From AI to virtual reality and data analytics, the one thing that all these new technologies have in common is that they inform forward-thinking business decisions"

New technologies entering the workplace will empower HR professionals with insights needed to transform the employee experience, but just like any other major change, this also creates uncertainty about HR’s evolving role. While no one knows exactly what the future has in store, HR professionals can count on the partnership between HR and AI technologies in the next five years as we see several aspects of the digital transformation gaining traction within the workplace. 

Redefining HR’s Role

Despite what some experts might have you believe, robots are not coming to replace the role of HR professionals. In fact, the reality could not be further from the truth. Today, we are seeing more recruiters and HR departments lean on automation and AI to make their business processes more agile, effective and less time intensive.

So what does the new HR role look like as a result? What processes are actually affected? Roughly 1/3 of all HR questions are focused on employee pay or scheduling requests. These basic information requests and manual tasks, while important, are a time drain for HR professionals. Learning to work with cloud-based AI technologies to address these types of inquiries will benefit the HR function by helping to redefine the role and remove manual processes. This by no means eliminates the role of an HR professional, rather it refocuses their efforts on more strategic matters that machines simply can’t handle.

Digital Transformation at Work

Technology advocacy for employees is a core function for HR. However, when it comes to the technology HR professionals use themselves; research shows that on average core HR management systems in the workplace are more than seven years old. In a time where employees are driving the use of advanced and emerging technologies in the workplace, companies must take note of the fact that offering leading technologies to various business functions is also critical. While there are many business areas where companies can best utilize cloud and other emerging technologies, HR continues to be a great starting block for companies beginning their cloud journey.

The two top reasons companies choose to welcome digital transformation as part of the HR function are: to improve the employee experience and to offer systems simplification. Now, more than ever, companies understand that the core foundation of company growth is through engaging the employee. Bringing in technologies that help HR professionals foster positive employee experiences with a company encourages those employees to not only stay with a company, but also to truly contribute to the success of that company through their day-to-day work. Just as important, is to seek a solution that helps streamline HR practices, making them simpler to work with and easier to maintain over time. Whether it is workforce planning, global compliance or talent and recruiting – locking down a service that offers a full suite of services for these issues is the first step towards digital transformation for a business.

Artificial Intelligence and Human Interaction

With such clear and tangible business benefits, we expect rapid adoption of emerging technologies in the years to come. With that said the very nature of HR dictates that there will always be a critical role for the human element. While AI aggregates the information needed to answer essential questions about their workforce, HR professionals will always need to provide the intuition and qualitative layer that is required to effectively apply insights for meaningful interactions with employees. AI solutions provide third party data and look at the factors that could be externally impacting employee behaviors, but it is HR’s responsibility to know what beyond this data motivates and impacts each employee and how personal matters could be affecting their work product. In other words, new technologies will enhance the science of HR, but the art will always rely on the human touch.

Automation and Recruiting

When it comes to recruiting, searching for and retaining the top talent can be extremely time intensive and even difficult without all of the information at your disposal. Yet, with automation HR professionals are able to pull out high-level, actionable context to inform recruiting decisions and provide specific steps toward finding the ideal candidate. With Cloud Workforce Predictions, alongside other automation software, HR is now able to reduce the uncertainties that surround the workforce. What if employees are under performing? What if they are dissatisfied or are looking for opportunities outside of the company? By leveraging current and historical employee indicators, HR departments are now able to predict performance and attrition to highlight real ways to take corrective action. In this sense, automation and Cloud Workforce Predictions are not so much about recruiting new talent, but instead, focused on how to retain your top talent, making recruiting less of a routine and time intensive task.

An Empowered and Strategic Future

Just like almost every other business function, technology, customer, and employee expectations will drive the future of HR. As new technologies become available to HR leaders, some people will understandably question the stability of their role. Rather than worry about jobs being replaced, HR professionals should view new technologies as an opportunity to transform the role of the HR department and expand their careers. 

From AI to virtual reality and data analytics, the one thing that all these new technologies have in common is that they inform forward-thinking business decisions and add to HR’s value. Not only will new technologies help make tedious and low-value processes disappear, but they will also empower HR professionals to enhance the employee experience with insights that improve recruitment, retention, and development of top talent.