Address the impact of AI: the 3 key focus areas for HR leaders

Since the AI landscape is rapidly changing, HR leaders must stay ahead by understanding the core capabilities and use cases available, while planning for the effects GenAI will have on their organizations.

Drive organizational success by implementing AI in HR

76% of HR leaders believe that if their organization does not adopt and implement AI solutions, such as generative AI, in the next 12 to 24 months, they will be lagging in organizational success compared to those that do.

CHROs must take a structured approach, using this three-step framework, to assess technology trends to be able to make an effective decision on whether to adopt new AI solutions into HR.

1. Distinguish reality from myth

The first step in assessing a new technology trend, such as Generative AI, is to distinguish any myths from reality and eliminate any preconceptions. The HR technology lead should work with IT, legal, compliance, and industry and subject matter experts to understand the true potential of the technology and report back to the HR leadership team and the CHRO.

Common myths about AI in HR technology usage

  • Myth one Tech will replace employees when it performs better than they do in current tasks.

Reality – AI tools are designed to enhance human capabilities and can be useful in delegating tasks. Technology will be pervasive in most employees’ activities instead of replacing employees altogether.

  • Myth two HR leaders are holding back on AI-powered tool implementation because of concerns.

Reality – Despite data privacy, bias and ethical concerns, AI is being deployed at a rapid pace. 52% of HR leaders participating in a June 2023 Gartner benchmarking session stated they were exploring potential use cases and opportunities when it came to generative AI (a subset of broader AI).

Once HR leaders better understand what the technology can do, they can assess the potential use cases and benefits.

2. Establish the potential of AI and its benefits for HR

The next step will involve HR leaders establishing the true potential benefits of AI and, most importantly, aligning potential use cases to organizational goals. Focus on how AI will help alleviate any functional pains and meet your goals by allowing you to perform activities better, faster and cheaper.

3. Assess and score against success criteria

The final step includes assessing and scoring AI solutions against key success criteria to determine if adoption should go ahead or not. Each organization will have different criteria, but some of the key areas HR leaders should take into consideration include governance, workforce readiness, risks and ethics, and the vendor landscape.

Tackle what AI implementation means for your workforce

The continuing evolution of AI will dramatically affect how organizations hire, develop and derive value from their people. HR and senior executive leaders need to identify an AI talent strategy that fits their context and plan for the talent transformations to come.

Gartner expects two broad impacts from artificial intelligence on the workforce, each with significant implications for executive leaders:

  • Implementing AI within the current boundaries of professions and industries will result in the shifting of roles over time. Fewer people will be needed to complete the same amount of work. Executives implementing generative AI in this context should anticipate headcount reductions over time.

Leaders will need to redesign jobs disrupted by AI into smaller numbers of multiskilled generalist roles that encompass a more comprehensive range of capabilities and offer a more compelling employee value proposition.

  • Race for performance. Performance expectations will increase in newly configured roles, and organizations won’t be able to compete without using AI. New, highly specialized jobs will emerge where generative AI and related technologies are used creatively and strategically to transform what teams do and what their clients expect. This requires a rich blend of business and technological acumen that few currently possess.

Evaluate the risks and benefits of AI implementation in your HR function

Artificial intelligence will have an effect on the work conducted by the HR function, across the employee life cycle. This impact includes HR operations and service delivery, recruiting, learning and development, and talent management. In a first step, AI will lead to new sets of employee expectations about how employees interact with HR and HR technologies. Over time, this shift will lead to rethinking the purpose and structure of individual HR roles and teams.

Improve efficiency and support leveraging AI in HR use cases

Some HR leaders may see AI human-like text generation capabilities (such as ChatGPT) as a way to save time and effort for the HR team.

Potential applications of AI solutions span the entire HR function, including talent acquisition, voice of the employee, career development, learning, and HR service management.

63% of HR leaders aim to use generative AI for improving efficiency and improving the employee experience (52%), among other goals (see figure).

Accuracy and data privacy concerns

While AI is creating excitement and hype, 77% of HR leaders are concerned about things like accuracy and verbosity when applying the technology for business use cases. There are also currently no clear assurances of privacy or confidentiality. And, in addition, any information posted may be used to further train the model.

However, leaders remain cognizant that initial generative AI solutions may be subpar solutions. Hence they may not be able to immediately use and benefit from the true potential capabilities of mature generative AI solutions.

Given these concerns, organizations must issue guidance about the potential risks of generative AI. HR guidance should be clear that employees should not use sensitive or confidential details in their prompts, and they should err on the side of caution.

Source: Gartner