This week, I had the pleasure of being invited by CognitionX to attend CogX 2018 — The Festival of All Things AI, Blockchain and Emerging Technologies — in London.
While the geek in me wanted to just play with all the tech, I wanted to take advantage of being surrounded by some of the best minds in the world of AI tech and research. There were two specific subjects that I wanted to spend some time learning about while attending:
- The impact of AI on HR and Recruitment
But first, the AI debate…
Artificial Intelligence has become one of the popular buzzwords of recent times. There’s been heated debates and apocalyptic warnings from tech leaders, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. However, is what we are seeing now in new and startup technology solutions really artificial intelligence? In my opinion, true artificial intelligence does not yet exist.
True AI is defined in its simplest terms as a computer (call it software, a robot etc.) that has the ability to do things that only a human can do AND use the same level of logic and reasoning that a human would. The last part of the definition is critical.
We can argue that robots who do what humans do already exist — they build cars, perform advanced computation etc. and they do it faster, better and are more consistent than humans. However, they currently do this following a set of orders, not using reasoning or logic of their own making. Even machine learning, as we know it, is telling a computer what to make of the data being compiled and how to “learn”.
Therefore, what we see nowadays as a mixture of machine learning and natural language processing is not true artificial intelligence. Most tech commentators (even IBM themselves) refer to this as augmented intelligence, but I would rather call it algorithmic intelligence (see, still AI, but not as you know it).
Taking all of the above into consideration, these are the areas where CognitionX thinks that HR and Recruitment will see the most impact from AI (not THAT AI):
Recruitment and Talent Acquisition
There are more vendors focussed on AI in this area, than any other HR area. Applications of AI include sourcing candidates, screening resumés, using chatbots to engage with candidates and using facial recognition within video interviewing to understand candidate emotions. This area is ripe for automation and augmentation using AI. There are many tasks that happen within recruitment and talent acquisition that are repetitive that can be facilitated by RPA (robotic process automation). As well, some say that the age of the CV/resumé is dead and that there should be different, more precise ways, to screen and interview candidates. Applications such as video interviewing and gamification have shown this to be the case and to keep those candidates engaged can now be done via messaging.
Due to advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP), sentiment analysis, and chatbot technology, it is now much easier for companies to analyse and receive real-time feedback from their employees to take direct action. There is an argument that employee surveys and annual reviews have limited impact on employee engagement, do not boost productivity nor motivation and continuous listening, or continuous employee engagement is the answer to this issue. How is it possible for the managers to remember a year’s worth of employees’ activities? Therefore, the once a year review is too late as managers cannot judge an entire year’s performance of an employee at one time. The answer is continuous employee feedback. This type of feedback could take up a lot of resource within line management and HR departments. Wouldn’t it be great to implement software, such as Peakon, to help enable all your employees to reach their full potential?
There are multiple AI products to assist HR in managing administrative tasks, such as chatbots to answer employee queries and technology that uses data to create perfect employee schedules, helping businesses predict and meet demand through effective and fair staff rotas. In fact, any administrative process that takes up valuable staff resource and time could and should be supported by intelligent software. Imagine the staff member in a school who spends days creating timetables or a retail manager who creates staff rotas, now using a platform such as Rotageek to handle the task for them.
L&D / Career Management
There are many applications of AI for Learning & Development, including personalised training recommendations and career pathing, individual coaching delivered by chatbots, and manager development prompted by real-time feedback from their team. With platforms such as Sidekick enabling confidential conversations and coaching for employees through messaging platforms, or Gweek helping improve communication and presentation skills (try it, it’s awesome), managers can now be augmented to help them create fantastic opportunities for their team members to develop and grow.
Organisational Effectiveness / Performance Management
Using data-driven software, which applies AI (machine learning) and data science, to provide people analytics, organisations and managers can now make better decisions about their people and workforce as a whole. There are now platforms that measure several data points to help organisations make the most of their investment in talent and people. Platforms, such as Worklytics measure and analyse collaboration and productivity tools, such as email, code/development sites (such as Github), meetings, documents, project management platforms and customer data to get real-time insights and analytics on engagement, performance and collaboration.
Most (81.5%) HR professionals, surveyed by CognitionX, are experimenting with some type of AI tool for at least one use case. However, there are also several areas where AI tools are not a priority yet, or adequate solutions do not exist, for example Total Rewards and Health & Safety.