AI in HR management
AI is gaining an all-pervading role. HR functions are increasingly carried out using AI and the whole concept is getting perfected:
Until recently, the primary use of technology in HR management was to improve efficiency and derive cost savings by automating repetitive tasks. This has changed and smarter technologies are helping HR teams to solve critical business challenges, drive exponential performance improvements and even impact larger business outcomes and profitability. Here, artificial intelligence is creating a transition for HR from administrative to strategic to mission critical. It is a given fact that the next competitive frontier for businesses is employee experience and the future of HR will be centered on this aspect and personalizing engagement.
Technology has helped to provide real-time HR data available for business decisions, yet manual methods still are being used to get the insights from this data. This naturally creates a bottleneck. Here is where AI is poised to step in and extract insights from data and deliver recommendations in real time. It can also eliminate common human bias es and inconsistencies in sensitive decision-making. Decisions powered by AI have the potential to be faster at scale and more data-informed, as well as more consistent and unbiased.
AI in HR has limitless opportunities. It has proven roles in at least 5 areas: in recruitment, in HCM, in employee engagement, in employee benefits and in learning and development.
Kishore Poduri, ED & head, Human Resources, DBS Bank India, says today AI is everywhere, and HR is pretty much in the thick of things. “You name it, from chatbots, RPAs, analytics to automation, and HR services is successfully utilizing the full spectrum of available technology,” says he.
At DBS there are chatbots carrying out various interactions with internal as well as external stakeholders and dedicated. AI algorithms are communicating with candidates/employees and addressing their first level queries at the time of interview or/ and post joining. “Our recruiters have access to the latest tools that analyze resumes and compare them with existing employee data to identify suitable candidates who match the job description and are suitable for the organization in the long run. Automation in payroll and claims processing is already in full effect at DBS and ensures smooth processing. However, the impact of AI in this space could be taken a step further in detecting frauds in claims, maximizing utilization of benefits, and providing individuals with customized packages as per their needs,” says he.
He cites the instance of cloud-based learning management systems, which use AI to make personalized courses, or certification recommendations, help employees collaborate, create communities of interest, and engage in mobile education anytime, anywhere.
He, however, is cautious: “As optimistic as I am, of the use of AI to enhance certain
experiences, I am also a firm believer in the fact that AI could never replace the human touch, which is of the essence when it comes to being an HR professional.”
SANS HUMAN TOUCH
He explains: AI could never do a ‘tough talk’ with an underperforming employee unhappy with his or her assessment or manage the simplest case of grievances redressal between two individuals. It could never do an emotional analogy of an individual and determine whether they are in alignment with the culture of the company.
“Experiences and journeys,’ he says, “are of the essence to us at DBS. Our people must develop a direct connection with the ethos of the organization. This is again something we could not expect AI to replace a human being at. I do not think we are there yet where the human mind could be completely replaced by AI.”
Dr Vishalli Dongrie, partner and head, People and Change, KPMG in India, believes there are considerable tasks that are repetitive, low-value in most functions including human resources and AI presents an opportunity to automate these and help free up time for more strategic work. “For a meaningful impact, the area of focus for HR today is Digital Labour,” says she.
“The augmentation and automation of human labour is increasingly finding its way across HR processes (ex. recruitment, employee onboarding, per formance management etc) as well with business unit employees. Most companies leveraging these technologies today are utilizing co-bots, ie. bots that work alongside humans, and HR is getting involved in training employees to work with such co-bots. The other area of focus for HR today is how to manage the digital native talent that is coming in today and how to build the right mindset to leverage their skills across the organization,” says she.
According to her, activities that require human empathy, personal connect and emotions, like grievance handling, coaching, counseling which need the ‘connect’ and ‘trust’ quotient to be established will remain difficult for AI to impact.
Vinay Deshpande, chief people officer, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services, speaks about AI gaining popularity in HR for its two-fold benefits of prescriptive and predictive patterns. He says lot of HR activities involve coordination, scheduling, responding to repetitive employee queries, following up for closure etc and AI simulates human intelligence to perform such volume-based operational tasks with ease. “This gives an edge to HR with respect to speed, accuracy and volume of operational tasks to be performed. The effort invested in operational tasks can now be redirected to strategic decision-making with AI based results,” says he.
Similarly, he says, AI is also leveraged for its predictive insights. “It studies the past trends and predicts the future occurrences of events. This helps in anticipating contingencies and acting proactively in the VUCA world. It can be a great tool in predicting the attrition triggers for an organization. It can study the productivity cycles of an employee to identify a pattern in the highs and lows,” says he.
He, however, maintains that while AI will evolve a lot of roles in HR, it cannot replace the creativity and empathy quotient attached to HR. “The softer aspect of HR would still require a personal intervention of Human Beings to understand various behavioral patterns of the employees. All roles which have a close connection with the psychology of human beings have to be refrained from the AI framework. Example are organizational culture, employee engagement,” says he.
Like in several other domains, HR leaders can deploy AI-based solutions to find objective insights from raw data, feels Priti Singh, vice president, Human Resources, South Asia, Mastercard. For instance, she says it can help HR professionals identify the most relevant candidates out of a heap of aspirants’ resumes. “This is not same as using specific pre-defined metrics to shortlist the resumes. It means making decisions that reflect human intelligence. While resume screening is just an example, such insights can be implemented in every HR function such as administration, talent management, performance reviews, learning & development and so on.”
She also concurs that AI can only assist a human HR professional in making the final decision. “We will always need a human being who brings experience and cognitive abilities to make strategic decisions, she asserts.
Ajith Kumar K.K., executive vice president & CHRO, Federal Bank, maintains that AI is the inevitable next step for high-growth companies, and no one disputes its ability to drive efficiencies, scale and effectiveness. He says the topic of ‘AI in Human Resources’ evokes excitement and the excitement is because of the impact it can bring to the innovation landscape in HR. The coverage of impact is huge, ranging from reinventing employee experience to data driven decision making.
“For us in Federal Bank, strength of the business case, certainty of the business need, the solidity of value preposition and surety of the benefits lay the foundation of embracing technology, be it AI, RPA or ML. HR should be prudent in modelling the business need and break down the business challenge to strategic objectives to pick the right technology. I must say we have an interesting case study of AI in recruitment, christened as
Fed Recruit. With the success of Fed Recruit, we feel AI is promising in HR,” he says.
He points out that the recruitment strategy at the bank follows the brand’s core theme of ‘digital at the fore; human at the core’ by creating a robust recruitment framework that aligns culture, talent, organizational structure and processes through technology. “Our focus is beyond just providing the human touch to the candidates, but more on creating a candidate experience similar to a delightful customer experience through new technologies. Fed Recruit is designed to help talent acquisition teams reimagine people and talent processes so as to attract the best talent, build stronger teams, and enhance the candidate experience. With the help of this AI powered data-driven platform and HR analytics, every step of hiring can now be measured and tracked. The data predictive hiring technology lays the foundation of a strategic plan that helps to make reliable decisions while hiring talent,” says he. And AI can certainly do some data processing and decision making faster.
BOTS ON THE JOB
Vishwesh Padmanabhan, partner and head, Digital Consulting, KPMG India, underlines the fact that any transactional activity across the entire employee lifecycle that HR as a function undertakes - be it related to recruitment, onboarding, talent management or separation - is being gradually automated and driven through bots. “Whilst it’s only the tip of the entire scope of work that could be automated within HR, in the current business scenario, AI-driven transactional services seems to be gaining the maximum traction,” he opines, pointing out that this includes chatbots as a tool to drive preliminary HR query resolutions mechanism for employees.
“Given the success of bots in handling basic transactional activities, more mature firms have now also started to experiment with the idea of leveraging bots/AI to drive end-to-end HR processes. Cases in point are the recruitment AI tools that keep scanning a firm’s talent acquisition system for new job postings basis the job requirements, crawl through the recruitment sites to identify the most suitable candidatures and then to shortlist and interview the ones shortlisted. This helps shorten screening time per candidate by approx. 60-70% and in other recruitment areas as well,” he says.
He mentions that some organizations are also exploring/implementing ‘humanoids’ to help achieve these objectives. HR humanoids structurally represent a human and with AI they are able to formulate the basic connect and help address the simple queries (eg, employees record details, onboarding details, training details, issue raising and tracking etc) of the workforce with speed and agility.
Poduri of DBS Bank India says the bank in the last year itself beyond doubling its headcount, had increased its geographical spread and diversity count (in gender, culture, and multigeneration). In such circumstances, he says there are several instances where speed is important for the HR team.
“Payroll processing is something where speed and accuracy are important. Nothing can set an employee off more than a delayed paycheck or less salary credited to the account. The whole candidate to new joiner experience is speed-dependent, owing to the bulk of data processing and the number of people in need of attention at the time. There is nothing worse in terms of experience for a new joiner, if they have to go through a labyrinth of tedious paperwork. In the interest of our technology center, hackathons are very effective in meeting our hiring targets. These events draw huge crowds, and the company can capitalize on the quality and quantity of hires at the same time. Speed again is crucial, and automation is the solution,” he says.
Deshpande of Mahindra & Mahindra Finance emphasizes that when using AI to the company’s advantage, there is need to feed the appropriate algorithm to derive the desired output. “Organizations today are identifying processes which are a low value addition but high on transaction and creating algorithms to automate these processes. This will boost the speed of execution with accuracy, and also reflect underlying faults in the process, if any. These algorithms, or ‘bots’ in other words, however, need to be trained by humans. For instance, the intelligence part is limited to AI’s ability to match the JD and the qualifications; rest of the interview and selection process is human. So, it is a ‘Robotic Process Automation’,” says he.
CLOUD VS PREMISES
What is the preference for HR professionals - cloud-based solutions or premise based solutions?
Vishwesh Padmanabhan says cloud is proving to be a platform for innovation. “Many new and innovative cloud-based solutions are being offered today and quite a few solutions are from new startups. A large part of the innovation will be seen through innovative technology platforms on the cloud and therefore, cloud-based solutions will see far more momentum,” says he.
Deshpande avers both offer appealing AI Solutions. And there are startups which have mastered the capability of offering more appealing AI solutions for specific problems, and a higher degree of customization of the solutions.
He adds: “A key difference between the 2 offerings is of financial. Cloud-based solutions are treated as operational expense (OpEx) because they are rented monthly. In contrast, premise-based solutions are treated as capital expense (CapEx), because
they are purchased just once. Therefore, cloud-based solutions are preferred; since you pay for the service.”
Poduri paints a scenario where everyone is putting in a lot of innovation when it comes to AI and there is cut-throat competition. And everyone is offering customization.
“There are the startups (Domino Data lab, Quid, Data Robot to name a few); then there are the big players (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, the usual). The choice comes down to business relations unless someone in the market is offering something really out of the box. Cloud is the status quo at the moment and DBS Bank has heavily invested in it. All HR processes and data have been moved to the cloud,” he reveals.
Priti Singh is of the view that on-premise vs cloud is again a choice based on several factors, which could be specific to the business or the industry.
When it comes to the aspects of training, AI has a definitive role. Poduri believes Learning & Development is the space where AI can have the most profound impact. “We are looking at very exciting times, where learning experiences are getting enriched by augmented reality and virtual mentors. In the future, learning would become even more fun, compact, purposeful, relevant, all at the same time and all made possible by AI.
“At DBS Bank, we are already delivering personalized learning journeys to our employees, and I feel we have just managed to scratch the surface here. As AI algorithms become more complex, we are looking at more exhaustive content curation, refinement in the targeted skill set of individuals, more incisive analytics, and more agile practices,” says he.
Vishalli Dongrie feels AI is primarily used in the area of on-job learning. For example, specialist workers, especially those working in hazardous environments (like crane operators) can be trained using a virtual setup to reduce health and safety risks. The other area, according to her, is to increase productivity and efficiency of workers on the shop floor, sales force, plant operations etc, where conventional classroom-based training models are not efficient at scale.
“Let’s take the example of a leading streaming service platform which helps stream ‘ on-demand’ content to the ‘preference’ of the user. In learning too, HR/L&D teams are now experimenting with ‘real time’, ‘ on-demand’ learning, which offers customized learning to the workforce matched to career preferences, thereby helping i mprove the overall capability of the organization on a day to day basis,” she explains further.”
Deshpande points out that AI produces more reliable and insightful reports in comparison to the conventional MIS reports. “This brings more precision to the Training Need Analysis and the desired outcome of training effectiveness. AI is able to personalize the training programs based on the learning styles of the user. It can predict and show content as per the learner’s consumption capacity. AI also helps in curating content from various sources and brings it on an aggregate platform thereby enriching the learner’s experience,” he says.
Preeti Singh too says AI is playing a crucial role in enabling personalized learning experiences for every individual. This experience can be delivered through video modules, blogs, virtual chatrooms and many other digital-first methods.
The learners can set the pace of their own learning and ensure an effective outcome, according to her.
What are the pitfalls that HR should be aware of when using AI?
“From how I understand,” responds Poduri, “technology is not only creating jobs, but employment is becoming a more fulfilling experience.”
He then talks about a flip side: “What are the functions that are most conveniently deployed to the machine? The most mundane, everyday operations which forms the base of our vocation. For HR professionals at the onset of their careers, making recruitment calls, processing paperwork, or scanning through a pile of resumes to find the perfect fit for a job description, these are the fundamental functions which form the foundation of their career. Now with AI taking over, we are completely phasing out these basic functions and we run the risk of having a generation of unaware professions. Then again, with a plethora of possibilities, there is always the chance of redundancy creeping in. AI-generated email responses are the most relevant example. Very often these machines-generated e-mails are out of context, unnecessary, or misinformative. There has to be a line, beyond which we must trust in human discretion.”
Deshpande says we should be cautious of overdependence, because “here the principle of ‘ Garbage in, Garbage out’ is also applicable. If you have not trained the system correctly, it will not give the desired product. We should remember that AI is still at a nascent stage and it requires human monitoring.”
Vishalli Dongrie believes mundane things like chat bots pose no big threat as they are mostly based on existing ‘available’ information. “However, in the case of enhanced AI, for eg, when we move to predictive analysis-based user interactions or information extraction, the power of AI is best leveraged when there is sufficiency of information that the system, algorithm can process,” she says.
She adds that in most organizations structured HR-related data capturing are
just being introduced over the last few years. Thus, lack of accurate, enough and authentic data could lead to wrong decisions by AI and HR professionals needs to be mindful of this when creating AI-based systems.
“On top of this human psychological biases are another big pitfall we need to be cautious of while designing AI/ ML systems. For example, a recruitment system by a large online major de-selected female candidates based on the data that most existing tech workers in the firm were males. Thus, it’s all about how HR frames the problem, how choices are made and available data/contexts or the lack of it will simply influence what the machine needs to discover. This is a major pitfall,” says she.
EMPATHY, A LETHAL WEAPON
Vishalli Dongrie also cautions that empathy is a hidden nuclear weapon that can touch millions in one go and have a far deeper impact than any AI system. This skill, she says, is already in shortage, and HR leaders now need to ensure that empathy and emotional intelligence are not being affected by AI systems and applications. She quotes research by Harvard University, which emphasized that these aspects are key predictors of success across managerial roles.
“Last but not the least, HR needs to ask the tough question and not go with the herd mentality - ‘whether machines should be allowed to make decisions about the future of human beings,” she adds.
According to Priti Singh, HR roles involve interaction with human beings and AI cannot always be the perfect solution. Since AI is entirely objective in its decision making, the data involved in the decision-making needs human interference to improve decisionmaking capabilities. Therefore, AI needs to work in sync with human intelligence.
Ajith Kumar recalls the bank’s corporate credo ‘human at the core, digital at the fore’ to emphasize how the combination only works effectively. “We are deeply aware of AI’s potential as well as pitfalls. So, when we set out to tap into the incredible power of AI and create an HR platform with AI at its heart, we were driven by this credo, he adds.
HR professionals generally believe AI will help transform HR from an administrative role to a mission critical role. Poduri is emphatic stating with AI taking over the routine administrative stuff, it looks almost inevitable that HR functions make the shift to a mission-critical role. Job descriptions, he expects, will increasingly focus on specialization within functions. “We already have individuals in our organization who are focused on business advisory, journey thinking, employee experience and engagement, employer branding. Now, these are functions which are defining the organization of the future, and as we realize the future these functions become mission-critical.”
Vishwesh Padmanabhan says HR has always been on the journey of transitioning away from an administrative role to a more strategic role, and with the advent of AI, this journey will only be expedited. “The ‘new normal’, says he, “encompasses constant disruption, game-changing trends and perpetual transformation in the workforce and ways of working (eg, gig economy, millennial workforce, remote working etc.) and in such an age, the role of HR has become more pivotal and critical than ever”
Ajith Kumar believes focus should be on an entity’s HR strategy. “We believe that the best technology platform for an HR function will be the one that best aligns with the HR strategy that supports business goals. Hasty decisions in the bells and whistles of technology might not help. Needs are unique to organizations and due diligence should be exercised before picking AI or any other bleeding edge technology. In recruitment we, exercised strict vigil before adopting AI. Once the mindset was created after modelling the need, it became easy for us to reach the solution,” says he.
Vinay Deshpande foresees all routine tasks would be taken care of by AI and bot workers and HR will be more focused on decision-making and course correction. “HR will, additionally, have to cater to training the bots and ensuring their alignment to the HR processes. This would require the HR to upskill themselves to train the bots and ensure the usage of relevant algorithms. AI cannot take decisions for you; it can only help you make those decisions. AI will induce a paradigm shift from an administrative role to a consultative role for HR for sure,” says he.
Poduri believes there are several avenues within HR functions where AI has been implemented to monitor t he recommendations and decisions emerging from AI. “Diversity in functions means that the moderation process needs to protect the essence of that function. Frequent simulation runs and provisions for a human override are some moderation techniques that I can think of. To eliminate errors in procedure, ultimate decision-making needs to be vested on humans, supported by an exhaustive feedback mechanism,’ says he.
Deshpande feels the recommendations and decisions have to be constantly reviewed. There has to be a pilot project, there has to be a trial of the pilot project, and there has to be an analysis on the basis of how the work is going on, he says. Beyond this, there has to be a human intervention to validate the recommendations made before it is scaled up.
“Humans also have to explore any alternate best method of performing the same task which the AI might not be programmed to consider. There will also be a cost benefit analysis attached to the
final solution that has been considered and then building a culture to embrace AI, especially in India. But that will become easier when more bot workers come into use,” he elaborates.
Vishalli Dongrie argues that there needs to be a review mechanism in the form of a steering committee with representation from HR as well as other functions, to successfully drive outcomes and review such recommendations from AI projects. Such an arrangement will allow the leadership to work together during all phases – ideation, realization and change adoption, she adds.
DBS Bank has already covered some ground in redefining job descriptions in the light of using AI for HR functions and the next step would be to push for more comprehensive specialization. Poduri is confident this would give rise to refined skillsets and the inclusion of a plethora of new avenues into the mainstream. Cultural architect, emotional analyst, policy strategist, change manager and Org Dev manager are some of the roles, where the functions are already under implementation in the bank, he reveals.
Deshpande expects the job descriptions will evolve from the current context. There will be need for more techno HR professionals, who will appreciate technology, adopt the same in the HR scenario and train the algorithms (bots) to enhance the HR processes. Someone proficient in data science, who can evaluate the quality of recommendations made by the AI tool, will be the preference, according to him.
BETTER TOOLS, MEANS
For Vishwesh Padmanabhan however, the headline requirement still remains the same and it all comes back to managing people. “What emerging technology trends will do is give HR better tools and means to manage and ‘delight’ its people. So, in essence, the role and success for HR leadership will still be defined through same metric. However, middle and junior management roles may become less transactional and more strategic and data driven – with need to enable better employee experience, engagement, enablement and education,” he elaborates.
Preeti Singh believes that AI is impacting the job roles and expectations of the organization from the employees. Since most of the functions are now evolving and incorporating new technologies, employees need to have the ability to work with these changes, she says. “Going forward, they will be less required for iterative functions which a machine can learn and perform faster. The real jobs for HR professionals will be to add human intelligence on top of the insights generated by AI-based platforms and make the right decisions, says she.
AN INTELLIGENT ASSISTANT
One model often proposed for using AI in an organization is that it serves as an intelligent assistant to individuals. What are the pros and cons of this model?
Poduri believes this is an interesting proposition. Says he: “With virtual home assistance taking the market by storm, we are already some way out there. However, the proposition of a personal intelligence system does come with its pros and cons. The idea proposes to raise the performance standards of the whole organization, as instant, customized assistance would allow the individuals to focus on aspects of their career which are aspirational and more fulfilling to them. At the same time, there is the stark possibility of over dependence on machine, and a cut away from human connections. We need to be very thoughtful and have a balanced approach on what and how we implement AI,” he says.
Ajith Kumar believes the benefits are numerous. It can speed up activities, it can help make faster decisions, many small aspects of the daily working life can be handled with ease and in a more organized and coordinated matter.
He points out that the Fed Recruit mobile application is integrated with NLP-based chatbot that not only turns the topdown employer-applicant monologue into a horizontal dialogue, but enhances the entire candidate experience.
“By employing NLP based chatbot solution to complement our recruitment team, we eliminated the repetitive tasks of answering phone calls. The well-optimized chatbot communicates only the essentials and does not overwhelm the candidate. The chatbot represents the organization when it is communicating with the candidate, so, from a branding point of view, it is a perfect way of employer brand building,” says he.
Deshpande reiterates that while AI will ease the process of HR execution, it will not be able to replace the Empathy, Creativity and Strategic Thinking in an organization. According to him the pros of this proposition are:
Speed: AI produces diagnostics on real time data faster than manual conventional MIS reports. It will automate all the non-value activities like coordination, scheduling, data mining, data collation etc.
Cost: AI will help streamline lot of processes, thereby keeping the HR team Lean and reducing the manpower cost.
Quality: Since the analytics is programmed, there is no scope for deviation, thus controlling any errors.
Quantity: AI can easily handle large volumes of data from various sources and derive results from it, which would be restricted in case of human driven analytics.
And the cons are:
Re-skilling and up-skilling the workforce: While AI will not cut down jobs, it will require employees to up-skill or re-skill themselves in order to adapt to the AI-based models. Someone who fails to
match pace with the evolving nature of HR will have to part ways eventually.
Soft skills: AI will not be able to replicate the same degree of empathy towards its employees as an HR person. For example, if an individual has to nudge you for a reminder, he/she will do it in a human way, keeping your mental and physical health in mind. The bot will do it in a very mechanical way. It won’t consider such parallel factors.
Vishalli Dongrie believes AI can serve as intelligent assistant to individuals in the areas like sales, marketing, HR & recruitment and customer service. She says some of the most mundane office tasks like writing emails, scheduling meetings, taking notes, making travel arrangements etc can be handled by such assistants thus helping the employees save on time. This will work quite well with the more tech savvy younger generation.
“The cons,” according to her, “could be ‘addiction’ - becoming slaves to technology and also losing out on the humane elements of the task - a complete transformation of how we think, live and feel. AI as intelligent assistant is mostly reactive in nature and not proactive. Loss of creativity of the human mind could be a major drawback for this model. The worst part is AI learns from us and hence if we embrace the wrong behaviors, then this is what AI will start believing as normal and respond in that manner.”
Vishwesh Padmanabhan emphasizes that increasing use of AI in HR will create newer positions and roles in the HR department. “With AI playing a bigger role in driving HR processes, HR will have more people data to analyze than ever before - which will require HR to become more analytical and build capability around creative design thinking to reshape the way employees are serviced in future. In addition, we could also see tech roles or competencies like data mining being added to the HR functions. There could be roles like chief ethical officer, a role that ensures technology is used in an ethical and humane way, and human resources tech trainer roles, etc,” he says.
Poduri says with the increasing use of AI, people can develop their niche and specialized skills and with more focus on specialization, it is only a matter of time before the contributions made by individuals require the creation of new positions.
Ajith Kumar says Federal Bank has positioned AI in recruitment as an enabler, not just safeguarding rapidity, but reinventing the human intervention. “For us, the HR intervention is now required in fewer ways for the operational areas of talent acquisition and is far more imperative in the analytical and intellectual aspects. The data predictive hiring technology lays the foundation of a strategic plan that helps to make reliable decisions while hiring talent. The engagement focused talent acquisition can scale up to very large talent pools while still preserving the quality of candidate experience,” he explains.
Deshpande also agrees that with the evolving role of AI in HR, there will be techno HR professionals. “You will need a special skill-set to train the AI, and to use the related applications in a manner that is productive. There will also be a need to do a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA), and therefore, specialists who can do that job efficiently, will be welcomed,” he says.
Finally, what is their take on the mostoften stated fear that AI will take away jobs?
Priti Singh states it is a fact that the fear that AI and robots will automate many jobs has been growing. She points out to studies carried out in the US, which have predicted that 40%-50% of jobs in the country could be automated in the next 20 years, and many people are worried that they could be forced into retirement. “However, the way humans work has always been changing. Ever since the First Industrial Revolution to this day, when we talk about industry 4.0, people have not lost jobs because of technology. They have instead got a higher level of functions and had to upskill accordingly,” she avers.
Poduri says emphatically: “That is not in the very least true. I believe that technology is creating more fulfilling jobs for the people, where they can dive deeper into their subjects of interest. However, they must be open to change, be stoked at the opportunity to learn, unlearn and do it again.”
And Vishalli Dongrie points out that we have seen this question coming up with disruptive technologies in the past as well, and this is not the first time that a new technology has impacted jobs. “This happened when electricity came in and replaced steam power, computerization came in to replace manual processes and many others. What we have learnt from similar technology changes in the past is that the initial period requires adjustment, but after that time period, technology creates new jobs and roles for employees, which are often hard to envision at the start of the journey. However, when it comes to AI integration today, the keyword is very much ‘augmentation’ - the idea that AI machines will help us do our jobs more efficiently, rather than replace us. A key idea is that they will take over the mundane aspects of our role, leaving us free to do what humans do best - tasks which require creativity and human-to-human interaction.”
Deshpande, however, admits that some jobs will definitely be affected, especially the routine jobs, transactional jobs and jobs which are low value-based. “For example, nowadays, hardly anyone uses a physical dictionary to find the meaning of a word; instead they Google it. However, creativity is the one aspect with regards to AI that is possible, but is still restricted,” he highlights.
Kishore Poduri underlines the fact that speed is crucial in HR on account of several parallel activities and automation - basically use of AI - is the solution
Vishalli Dongrie emphasizes that activities that require human empathy, personal connect and emotions will remain difficult for AI to impact
Vinay Deshpande avers AI is gaining popularity in HR for its two-fold benefits of prescriptive and predictive patterns
Vishwesh Padmanabhan speaks about how increasing use of AI in HR will create newer positions and roles in the HR department
Priti Singh insists we will always need a human being who brings experience and cognitive abilities to make strategic decisions
Ajith Kumar believes the coverage of impact of AI in HR is huge, ranging from reinventing employee experience to data driven decision making