SEPTEMBER 19, 2023 EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
Where Does AI Fit into HR? Anywhere It Makes Sense
Whether we want to accept it or not, AI is all around us, and we are interacting with it on a daily basis. While there’s a lot of debate about whether this is good or bad, it’s not going away anytime soon, so we need to adapt and incorporate it into our work.
When you consider the role of HR in most companies, we are traditionally under-resourced and stretched very thin. From business partner to employee advocate, and everything in between, we are constantly juggling many balls. Finding time and energy to be creative can be a challenge some days. This is where AI can be a useful tool.
AI Is a Partner in the Creative Process, Not a Replacement
I was talking with a peer of mine recently about brainstorming some names for an initiative we were working on, and after we kicked around a few ideas the next question was “what does ChatGPT say?” This has become a common step in the creative process for many professionals. Once you get all of the ideas out of your own head, you head to an AI tool and type in a question and explore the different results that pop out. Some may be relevant, some may not, but the beauty of using these tools is in the inclusion of more ideas, which is the whole intent of brainstorming.
When you are working solo or with a group, having access to AI can be so beneficial when you want to add some creativity. AI has helped me in so many different ways, from updating company policies, creating new training content and exploring different ways to express myself in company communications.
I was recently updating some training materials for leaders, leveraging content I had developed over the past 10+ years. I want to refresh it, make it more contemporary and was struggling with coming up with new words for some fundamental, and frankly boring, concepts. A quick query into an AI tool provided me with 10 different suggestions that helped me find new ways to explain concepts in a more creative way. I also used an AI image tool to update some of my old, outdated imagery from the same training.
Another example of where AI has aided me is in writing more interesting job postings. Most companies have standard job descriptions, which are factual but not very interesting. When posting a job for external candidates to apply to, you need to make the posting stand out. As many HR professionals know, just posting your internal job description is not going to attract candidates. By utilizing an AI generator and querying a characteristic that is important to your company, like “describe diverse mindset,” you will get a wealth of inspiration as to what you may want to elaborate on in your posting, and also ideas for how you might ask questions in the interview process.
The Key With AI Is to Use It as an Input or Data Point, Not the Final Answer
One of the concerns many seem to have with AI is the fear that it will discourage humans from using their deductive reasoning capabilities and make them lazy and complacent. Some worry that people will use verbatim whatever the AI generator spits out, and that doing so is cheating in some way. Sure, that could be a risk. But is it any more a risk than it has been in the past? Some people will absolutely not take the time to thoughtfully consider what they received from AI and just move forward with it. But the best HR professionals know that AI should be utilized as a tool to support the creation of whatever it is they are working on. They are savvy enough to know how to blend machine learning with real world experience to craft the best solutions for their workplace.
If we go back to the example of using AI for job postings, one of the key goals of a job posting is to make your position stand out from all of the others. If an HR professional is just copying and pasting exactly what an AI generator suggests, we will end up with cookie cutter job postings and no one posting will stand out. I would not be surprised if this is already happening at some companies!
Creating company policies can be another area where AI can help be an input but should not be followed 100% of the time. During the pandemic, most of us in HR had to pivot quickly, creating new policies for things we never even considered before such as vaccine or masking mandates, working from home, and additional sick time, to name a few. Since this was before the explosion of AI resources, many of us participated in calls across industries and companies, sharing best practices and sample policies so we could learn from each other. But no one example could fit every company, workforce, or scenario.
Even today, I typed “write a COVID-19 policy for me” into an AI generator and the answer back was “I can provide you with a template for a COVID-19 policy that you can use as a starting point. However, please note that policies should be customized to your organization’s needs and comply with local, state and national guidelines.” Even the AI generator itself is savvy enough to know that it cannot provide a one-size-fits all answer for something this complex.