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 In Documentary

Artificial intelligence has been seeping into our workforce slowly over the past decade but it wasn’t until the past couple of years that it’s truly started to shape how we work. Digital disruptions and the threat of robots taking away jobs has some people worried about their future, but instead of fearing new technology, we should be prepared to embrace it.

According to research from Deloitte Consulting LLP, approximately 39 percent of organizations are currently using AI and automation: 24% of respondents are using AI and robotics to perform routine tasks, 16% to augment human skills, and 7% percent to restructure work entirely. Interestingly, a separate study of 1,500 senior executives found that only 17% of them were familiar with the concept of AI and its applications at their companies.

To clear up any confusion about how AI, automation, and robotics will serve an organization (and not have all of us hailing robot overlords), we’ve compiled some of the unique ways companies are harnessing the power of technology.

Recruiting and sourcing candidates

Automation in recruiting has significantly altered the candidate sourcing process. Different technologies and algorithms allow recruiters to automate many of the administrative aspects of the job so they can focus on tasks that require a more human touch. Chatbots can communicate with candidates and provide updates on application status, schedule interviews, and send reminders. Algorithms get smarter with every new set of data, which then makes sourcing the best candidates, either internally or externally, much easier. By identifying the key characteristics of high potential employees, AI can create a top candidate profile against which it analyzes all applicants.

All competitive HCM platforms are updating their technology with analytics and AI to help companies maintain an accurate database of employees. AI has gotten so smart that it can identify patterns in the hiring process and highlight areas of potential bias (such as hiring applicants of a certain age, gender, or race).

Employee experiences

Netflix is possibly the best example of personalized AI–based on a user’s watch history, it suggests TV shows and movies they may enjoy. As users continue to watch Netflix, the algorithms collect data and can better tailor its suggestions. This level of personalization is something employees are starting to expect at work. Some companies are leveraging personalization through their learning management systems. By offering employees access to limitless content, they can choose when, where, and what they want to learn. From these data, AI can eventually narrow down relevant content based on the learner’s history.

Another interesting AI feature comes from IBM’s Watson. Managers using Watson get “cognitive talent alerts” that bring attention to employee behaviors and recognition that often fly under the radar. For example, if an employee hasn’t taken vacation in the past year or hasn’t received an annual review, the manager receives an alert as well as a list of actions to take to remedy the situation. These alerts can significantly improve employee engagement by highlighting blind spots in a manager’s day-to-day routine–a simple act of recognition could re-engage an employee who would have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

AI of the future

The beauty of tech and AI is the nearly limitless possibilities to improve work flows, organizational processes, and more. One type of tech that we’ll see more of is conversational AI. Hands-free driving through Bluetooth connectivity and Google’s voice search are a couple of current examples. Amazon’s Alexa is also a hugely popular consumer product, which now has more than 15,000 skills ranging from telling jokes to creating shopping lists and managing your calendar. As with other AI-based tech, Alexa gets smarter each time you chat–even if it’s just about the weather. For now, these solutions are primarily designed for personal life, but as with all technology, it’s only a matter of time before its optimized for a broader audience to include the workplace.