Innovation

Why AI could be the tool your HR team needs to hire and retain the best talent

A new crop of vendors offer artificial intelligence solutions to augment human HR workers and automate repetitive tasks.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will soon impact nearly every industry in some way, but the technology is poised to make waves in one industry in particular in 2018: Human resources.

A growing list of vendors in the HR sector are offering AI solutions to help HR professionals find and retain top talent, according to a recent Glassdoor report—especially in competitive fields such as tech.

Vendors include Entelo, Textio, Textkernal, HiringSolved, and x.ai offer AI solutions that help recruiters sort through resumes, make predictive matches between job seekers and positions using data, correct biases in the language used in job descriptions, and use bots to schedule candidate interviews.

But don't expect to see an android HR agent at your next job interview.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

"Rather than replacing HR experts, revolutionary new AI tools are complementing people's skills," wrote Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor's chief economist, in the report. "AI is taking over low-value aspects of many HR jobs, allowing professionals to focus on higher-value uses of their time."

However, with advances in neural networks and natural language processing, business processes including talent management that were previously human capital-intensive will be considered for automation, according to Phil Alexander, CEO and founder of Nexus A.I., software that helps enterprises find employees or teams that match their project needs.

"AI allows humans to have a sanity check with an unbiased recommendation," Alexander said. "It allows vast amounts of data to be collected and processed that would be beyond human capability."

Ultimately, humans still need to be involved in the process, as many AI models are not yet mature. "But having the data crunching capability and insight of AI can validate the innate human 'gut' feel, and allows a business to help free up its valuable human capital to focus on more urgent or critical activities," Alexander said.

Finding and retaining talent

AI tools can potentially help companies identify hard-to-find candidates at scale, as well as correct gender and other biases in hiring, according to the Glassdoor report. HR teams that are faced with "resume overload" can also use these tools to more effectively identify needed skillsets.

"Many AI solutions today are affordable and easy-to-use, and we expect to see much broader adoption in recruiting and HR in 2018 and beyond," Chamberlain wrote in the report.

As companies grow, it becomes more difficult to keep track of all of your talent, according to Guibert Englebienne, co-founder and CTO of IT and software provider Globant. AI products that list employee skills and test their engagement can democratize recognition for the value employees bring, he said.

"Using technology, we can overcome many of the limitations we have in an organization," Englebienne said. "We can predict people who will leave the company before that happens, and we can predict their performance before that evaluation happens."

In terms of tracking employee sentiment and engagement, Glint is a platform that allows companies to conduct internal employee surveys on demand, and uses AI to draw conclusions and get them to leadership so they can take action quickly. Companies can use this to identify teams that are less engaged or unhappy, and focus their efforts on those areas.

The platform uses machine learning to constantly scan all populations in a company to identify regularities and alert managers. For example, you could get an alert that your female engineering employees in the UK who have been with the company for more than five years and received an "outstanding" rating on their last performance review are reporting declined engagement, according to Jim Barnett, Glint CEO and co-founder.

"It's an extraordinary opportunity, because now we've got data at our fingertips, but it's no longer about a team of data analysts who are trying to sift through it," Barnett said. "It's guiding and assisting managers and administrators about how to improve the health levels of their team."

Despite all of the possibilities, it's important to remember that AI remains a relatively immature area of technology, and businesses still have many lessons to learn, Alexander said. "Using AI in businesses processes requires a holistic approach from technology, research, deployment, feedback and iteration to deliver meaningful and long term results," he added.

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Image: iStockphoto/maxsattana

Also see

Special report: How to implement AI and machine learning (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Practical AI for the enterprise: Getting past vendors blowing smoke (ZDNet)

Machine learning: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)

Five tech jobs that AI and automation will make radically more efficient (ZDNet)

The automated office: 8 ways companies are using AI to increase productivity (TechRepublic)

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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