The growing influence of Artificial Intelligence on the HR function

November 30, 2020

Featured-Image_Blog_The growing influence of Artificial Intelligence on the HR function_EN

Artificial Intelligence (AI) includes all the methods and devices that enable the resolution of complex problems or recurring actions via algorithms and/or logical paths, most often self-learning thanks to ML (Machine Learning). The role of the Artificial Intelligence in the HR function is becoming much more substantial.

This technology is interesting because it can “communicate with each other with another AI program”, which suggests that a company could have several Artificial Intelligence systems that would exchange data and give a broad and accurate answer to a problem. Indeed, researchers have connected two Artificial Intelligence systems, which, in a few hours, have ‘invented’ their own language. Among the forms of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is possible to identify the following branches*:

  • Machine Learning (ML), which will be discussed later in this article.
  • Mastery of language with machine translation tools, extraction of information in a given context, classification, and enrichment of this information.
  • Expert systems enabling the reproduction of human cognitive mechanisms.
  • Voice recognition systems.
  • Robotics allowing to group together some or all of these technologies.

Barriers to the use of Artificial Intelligence in HR functions still present 

In 2019, 95% of the managers consulted by Markess by exægis had heard of Artificial Intelligence (AI), but only 17% of them claimed to be willing to. In fact, 49% of the managers consulted, stated that the obstacles to the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) remain important:

  • The cost of the solutions, for 56% of them, still remains too high.
  • The technical and technological difficulties in the deployment of such tools underlined by 46% of respondents. Indeed, the implementation of such solutions may require a specific environment and the development of APIs.
  • The return on investment (ROI) of such an expense is difficult for companies to assess and therefore constitutes a barrier highlighted by HR decision-makers.
  • A double ‘reluctance to change’ must be taken into account as it is mentioned by 41% of HR managers. On the one hand, the refusal of some employees to see their working environment change. On the other hand, the moral importance and the weight that the ‘man/machine’ binomial will have on certain HR processes between now and 2022. 50% of HR decision-makers mention this last point.

This tool is above all a decision-making tool and is mainly intended to support the employee to make appropriate choices. It also contributes to improving notable elements such as the automation of HR processes and de facto simplifying the daily life of all the company’s employees. 63% of the decision-makers consulted mentioned the importance of Artificial Intelligence in the automation of HR processes.

However, paradoxically, the direct impact of these technologies on broader dimensions, such as employee well-being, is not emphasized by the HR managers interviewed. This is probably due to the fact that the use of Artificial Intelligence is essentially targeted at tasks designed to optimize the performance of employees and therefore of the company, rather than to develop their well-being. 70% of HR managers consider that the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the well-being of employees is moderate or even absent. Other elements such as flexible working hours or access to new working methods contribute more directly to this.

The use of AI should accelerate in the near future

Today, Artificial Intelligence is undergoing a profound acceleration. 65% of the decision-makers consulted by Markess by exægis believe that their company will have to acquire expertise on the subject by 2022. On top of that, the subject of Artificial Intelligence is even becoming a priority for 45% of respondents.

The significant use of Machine Learning (ML) tools illustrates this point. 48% of the managers consulted emphasize that their company should equip itself with Machine Learning (ML) tools by 2022 and 40% of them believe that investments are planned on the subject.

The recruitment process is also a meaningful example of the growth in AI’s relevance for the HR processes. Physical contact made difficult by health constraints and digital tools, originally intended to support physical recruitment, are now becoming ‘full-fledged’ stages in the recruitment process. We are gradually moving from ‘intuitive recruitment’ to ‘data recruitment’.

By 2022, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will affect the majority of a company’s HR processes. Recruitment is mentioned by 61% of HR managers. The use of this technology will make it possible to limit recruitment errors and boost the selection process. Other processes such as workforce planning are cited by 50% of respondents. In this context, Artificial Intelligence will enable a better understanding of the company’s human needs and therefore a better sizing of the teams.

Nevertheless, there is a gap between the enthusiasm expressed for this technology and the reality of the budgets allocated to it. In fact, 50% of the managers surveyed consider that their AI budgets are not sufficient. The reasons are those given at the outset: cost of the solutions, return on investment difficult to estimate, fear of change… These reasons are largely amplified by the current economic context and the health crisis.