Technology has become a buzzword among HR professionals - and for good reason. HR, which up until now was relegated to mundane process-oriented administrative work, is coming out of the fringes to the centre of workplace management.
New AI innovations have automated bureaucratic workflow to enable HR groups to become more strategic in delivering an enhanced experience - both for employers as well as employees. These technological capabilities have improved employee engagement, helped optimize talent management and increased operational efficiency - empowering everyone along the way.
A number of organizations in India are already embracing emerging HR technologies, led by a top talent attractor here - Oracle.
"The advantage with the Indian market is its ability to skip steps and trench technologies," says a Senior Director for the company's Asia Pacific operations, Shaakun Khanna. "In India, companies are relatively young and can embrace technologies faster and leap straight into the future," he adds.
According to him, AI has regularly been changing our lives and he illustrates this with a fitting example:
"If an employee were to tell Amazon's Alexa that she was pregnant, it will not only congratulate her, but also inform her about the pregnancy-related assistance in the employment package. Similarly, when prompted, it will also write an email to the HR along with the benefits she wishes to avail and the maternity leaves she is planning to take," he adds.
And this is only one among the many advantages provided by AI and automation to positively manage an organization's HR needs.
Traditionally identified as a human-intensive department, HR has been diving deep to leverage the solutions that technology has to offer. Simple automation of processes is giving way to data-driven insights in employee performance, work culture and talent management.
"The key challenge for any employer is to strike a balance between the human-element in the employee and the machine-element that the employee needs to be at the workplace," says Country Manager of Kronos Incorporated, James Thomas. "This transformation is being led by automation and technology in HR processes," he adds.
Be it providing the convenience of hiring and working remotely or enabling better decision-making with the help of data, technology has been making these business processes more efficient.
For instance, PVR Cinemas has been using Oracle HCM Cloud technology to create a seamless HR experience for employee-centric processes. The employee lifecycle process - which was earlier stored in Excel files - has now been migrated to a single source on the cloud for instant visibility into employee performance.
Correspondingly, UST Global has improved process efficiency by up to 40% since the implementation of the same technology. Employees can now perform the same tasks with 40% less time, leading to a significant shift in employees' customer satisfaction.
"The underlying capabilities of AI are enabling a more intuitive and engaging experience for employees," says Oracle's Khanna. "Imagine a user interface for employees that collates broad data about what is most important to each employee and serve up relevant company news and task updates based on that information. Employees can get a personalised snapshot of everything they need to know. At the same time, AI could leverage that same data to provide tailored training and development recommendati based on each individual employee's performance objectives and noted challenges," he adds.
Additionally, AI-based chatbots enabling quicker customer service on social media can also be used within the office environment to answer routine HR questions, so that everyone can save time looking up these details and spend more time getting deeply engaged with the work they've been hired to do.
According to the Employment Outlook Survey for April-September 2018, employers are looking to hire bigger numbers in the coming quarters on the back of cutting-edge technologies. AI and machine learning capabilities are helping cut down the time it takes to onboard talent by identifying candidates who should be invited to apply.
"These technologies allow companies to re-audit their processes from resume-screening and evaluation, to interview scheduling and candidate selection," says a spokesperson from talent assessment technology platform, Talview. "It can expedite recruitment and hiring by generating behavioural insights with the help of psycholinguistics, tone and emotion analysis, leveraging data to predict performance, and more," she adds.
Chips in Senior VP–Product at Indeed, Raj Mukherjee, "From predicting what profiles would interest a potential job-seeker, to suggesting postings that would best suit the skills listed, as well as safeguarding the user from poor quality postings and possible scams, AI goes a long way towards democratizing access to jobs."
One area where the application of AI has resulted in significant improvement in efficiency is the analysis of job descriptions and applicant resumes with natural language processing (NLP) in order to better match potential employees with the openings best suited to them. According to Indeed's findings, the application of NLP has increased employer-job applicant match by 10% across industries and by 15% in the tech sector alone.
Early adopters of technology in HR have already seen the benefits - it takes lesser time and resources to hire quality candidates - and executed well, it can further help remove the human biases that result in diverse-challenged organizations.