Artificial Intelligence, is the Future of Human Resources
Artificial intelligence AI takes the lead over intelligent automation IA. Intelligent automation is the combination of “‘robotic process automation and artificial intelligence to automate processes,’” according to a recent article on the topic in HR Dive, a publication for human resources professionals. Organizations that embrace intelligent automation may experience a return on investment of 200% or more, according to an Everest Group report cited by HR Dive. However, that doesn’t mean organizations can expect a reduction in headcount, according to the report. In fact, projections of a reduction in workforce thanks to intelligent automation may be “highly exaggerated,” the Everest Group noted.
The Everest Group identified eight companies it called Pinnacle Enterprises — companies “‘distinguished by their advanced intelligent automation capabilities and their superior outcomes.’” These companies generated about 140% ROI and reported more than 60% cost savings, thanks to artificial intelligence and intelligent automation. The companies the Everest Group identified as Pinnacle Enterprises also experienced a 67% improvement in operational metrics, compared to the 48% improvement reported by other organizations. The Pinnacle Organizations also experienced improvements in their top lines, time-to-market, and customer and employee experiences as a result of using artificial intelligence and intelligent automation in their businesses, according to the Everest Group report.
Technology, particularly artificial intelligence, and now, intelligent automation, is infiltrating businesses little by little, particularly in the human resources space. In fact, artificial intelligence in HR has been cited as a top employee benefits trend for 2020. It’s a trend employers would do well to pay attention to, especially since cost savings and ROI seem to be significant potential positive outcomes of adopting such technologies.
Technology such as artificial intelligence and intelligent automation makes human resources more efficient. According to a Hackett Group report from 2019, HR in organizations that leverage automation technology can do more with fewer resources — an important distinction in a department that’s often considered the heart of an organization, and that typically has more work than staff to complete it. In addition, the utilization of artificial intelligence and intelligent automation are hallmarks of a distinguished organization. Per the Hackett Group data, cited by HR Dive, ’world-class’ HR organizations leverage [artificial intelligence] and, as a result, have costs that are 20% lower than non-digital organizations and provide required services with 31% fewer employees.”
Despite the apparent benefits, not everyone is a fan of automated technologies such as artificial intelligence and intelligent automation. Professors at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and ESSEC Business School, an international higher education institution located in France, Singapore and Morocco, cautioned employers about the potential downsides of using artificial intelligence and intelligent automation in human resources functions. Specifically, they warned that artificial intelligence could create problems for human resources because it’s “unable to measure some HR functions and infrequent employee activities because they generate little data, can solicit negative employee reactions and is constrained by ethical and legal considerations.” However, human resources professionals are finding some success in using artificial intelligence and intelligent automation to perform functions such as searching through resumes for keywords and assisting with other recruiting functions, for example.
Despite the concerns of some, it’s likely that artificial intelligence and intelligent automation will continue to command a presence in human resources. As such, automation will prompt organizations to make a heftier investment in talent, noted a study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group’s BCG GAMMA and BCG Henderson Institute. The study found that employers who successfully embrace artificial intelligence and intelligent automation will build technology teams in-house and rely less on external vendors. They’ll also poach artificial intelligence talent from other companies and upskill current employees to be on the front lines of the automation movement. Artificial intelligence and intelligent automation is here to stay, and it’s only getting more pervasive, especially in human resources and employee benefits. Employers should be ready.
Steff C. Chalk is Executive Director of The Retirement Advisor University, a collaboration with UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Education. Steff also serves as Executive Director of The Plan Sponsor University and is current faculty of The Retirement Adviser University.