I recall having written an article on RRM – that’s Robotics Resources Management replacing HRM in the next few years.
This article raised certain apprehensions about the future of Human Resource Management in general and Human Resource Managers in particular.
Is the shift from relying on human beings to rely on Machines or Artificial Intelligence (AI) really happening and if it’s happening, the pace and whether it will significantly change the spectrum of Human Resources in near to not so distant future.
Let’s admit, the change is happening for real. Thanks to a plethora of HRMS tools available, many tasks have become easy and less prone to errors. Be it Talent Acquisition or Talent Management, you can have all the data and many analytics related to that at the touch of a button. Though different companies are adopting technologies at various paces, these changes are happening to save on time and resources.
Deloitte conducted a study to illustrate the co-relation between Level of Automation and Employer-Employee relation. A look at the chart below would reveal that on the X-axis is Level of Automation and on Y-axis is the Quality of Employer-Employee relationship. Based on these two axes – they came out with four distinct scenarios.
A high level of automation and a high level of employer-employee relationship was christened as “HR 4.0”. When most of the HR solutions are highly automated, the companies are investing more in hiring the right talent and retaining the best. This leads to a thriving relationship between employers and employees.
In the “Welcome to 1984” scenario, the relationship between employers and employees are merely reduced to only exchanging the work with money combined with a high level of automation in the HR department. This leads to standardized low-cost HR solutions.
In an “Old School in a new sharing world”- employers are interchangeable, at the same time HR automation is low. In the “Only Humanity matters” – companies return to old values and more stringent data outlook resulting in personalized HR processes, where human interaction is still the key.
In order to understand how these four scenarios could impact employee performance – Deloitte also conducted a survey of over 200 HR professionals. To do this, each participant watched a video depicting the world of one of four scenarios and was afterward asked to perform a task that required a high level of concentration.
At the end of the exercise, the findings were that high performers may prefer to be assessed by an automated system to minimize the impact of personal relationships on their evaluations. Median performers on the contrary may be keen to be evaluated by a person to compensate for the potential performance gap through establishing a personal relationship with their evaluator.
On the other hand, isn’t it ironic to discuss Human Resource Management and Artificial Intelligence in the same breath? How can we have HR Deptt without Humans? But the truth is, with the help of AI, humans in the HR department are slowly but steadily getting freed up for doing higher things. Consider, for example, an HR Executive taking care of resolving queries of employees. Sometimes back and in many companies even now, this must be happening. But if an HR department makes an exhaustive list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and puts it on the intranet – the majority of the queries would be sorted at a click of a button. AI or Chatbots can further offer a better solution and can provide answers to the queries.
In the short term, it appears that the main role of AI in HR is to increase efficiency, but there are applications that help in cultural fitment at the time of recruitment or retention by understanding his typical engagement needs and catering to his requirement.
As HR fraternity, we need to gear up and be future-ready. More specifically, the following steps need to be taken on an SOS basis :
- Increase Transparency
- Procrastination – a big NO
- Analytical Mindset
- Quantifiable Approach
- Internal Customers (Employee) First
- From Employee Engagement to Employee Involvement
HR tools empowered by AI and ML (Machine Learning) are going to stay and will acquire increased space in our life. But there is no one that can take the place of the human intervention. Humans bring on the table analytical mindset coupled with their own experienced based judgment and assessment capabilities that even best of AI, ML empowered tools can not learn to perfection – well at least in the near future.
It is never right to predict the future – especially the unforeseeable future