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The AI Feast

16 May 2024

Sue Turner OBE

Story by
Sue Turner OBE Founder AI Governance

Sue Turner, Founder and Director of AI Governance asks if now is the right time for HR to feast on AI technology.

If you believe the hype, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the hot new sous chef in the HR kitchen, promising to automate tasks and whip up solutions faster than you can say ‘performance review’. You’re probably being bombarded by third party suppliers selling their latest AI-powered tech solution, but before you ditch the paper resumes and invest all your budget in robot recruiters, take time to explore the pros and cons.

What AI is good for

AI is great at finding patterns hidden in large amounts of data.  Once the patterns are uncovered, we can use them to predict, personalise or automate to give management insights, improve productivity or create new services.

From analysing video interviews and sifting CVs to personalised learning recommendations, there are AI tools for every HR activity.  Companies are increasingly experimenting with generative AI-powered chatbots as the first port of call for employees’ HR queries. If you have a database of past queries and answers, building your bespoke HR bot on top of a large language model can give you a sophisticated, always-on service, which could cut the volume of queries to HR by as much as 90%.

Wellbeing support

Some companies are going further and incorporating AI into their employee wellbeing tools. Whilst some people respond well to this, do you trust the virtual therapist will be as good at identifying potential burnout as a human?  Is there evidence either way?  Recently we’ve seen cases of companies putting too much trust in AI-powered tools, for example using the prediction from video interviews of which candidates to put through to the next round en masse, without any human oversight.

Some AI tools are like that fancy kitchen gadget you bought on a whim – complex and confusing. It might be tough to understand how they arrive at decisions, which can be a recipe for disaster, especially when it comes to high-stakes decisions like performance reviews or disciplinary actions.

There’s no doubt that some AI tools are giving us meaningful insights into our current and future employees and automating repetitive, non-productive work. But to use them with wisdom and integrity, you’ve got to do your due diligence. If you want to use online games to assess personalities, ask how the algorithm works and what data is it using? And keep asking questions. Does the speed of mouse clicks in a game really tell you anything useful about someone’s about personality? Does it actually matter for the job you’re hiring for?

HR needs to be the watchful host at the AI feast, constantly checking the AI for bias, hype and how it can shift power too far away from people and make sure everyone gets a fair shot.

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