Artificial intelligence (AI) bots have flooded the Internet. Since the release of ChatGPT, AI’s potential to revolutionize the workplace has become apparent, especially in the field of HR. With the ability to create e-mails and even lengthy articles, AI can streamline HR tasks like drafting employee communications, writing job descriptions, and analyzing data. That being said, professionals who want their teams to use AI should take a few key steps first.
Become Familiar with AI
AI is a tool that, like any workplace technological advancement, can help HR leaders do their jobs more efficiently. Technology has transformed the daily work routine of employees in the past several decades, as computers, personal laptops, cloud-based systems, and smartphones have become commonplace. To implement these technologies effectively, HR leaders had to learn best practices themselves and train their teams. AI needs the same approach.
The first step is for HR leaders to spend as much time as needed to grow familiar with the AI technology they want to use. Almost every office worker can use AI to save time on administrative or repetitive tasks. For instance, AI can generate summaries of articles and even videos, which can save time for your HR team as they try to keep up with the latest developments. After HR leaders identify how AI can increase productivity for their teams, they can train them to use AI.
This training is crucial to maximizing the benefit to productivity. Without training, employees may not be aware of AI capabilities beyond ChatGPT or feel reluctant to use them without encouragement from managers, or they may rush to use the tools but not realize the tools aren’t always accurate or their use may be subject to other regulations. HR leaders benefit everyone in the organization when they take the time to learn AI and how to use it properly.
With AI likely to become ubiquitous, HR should collaborate with management to implement policies around the use of AI in the workplace. These policies should set guidelines for the use of AI and mitigate risks for the company.
Every company will need to consider its own workflows when developing AI policies. In general, AI policies should make it clear when and how employees can use AI tools. They should also emphasize employees’ responsibility for any work product they submit and encourage employees to double-check AI-generated content for errors.
AI remains a cutting-edge technology, so best practices in risk mitigation could evolve quickly as organizations discover new challenges and opportunities around AI. AI may seem to users like a sentient being, but AI experts have expressed concern about AI failing to understand nuances and may produce results inconsistent with the values of its human users, such as empathy and diversity. With that in mind, organizations should caution employees against relying on AI for fairness, business strategy, or ethical decisions.
Get Ahead of Potential Compliance Issues
HR leaders should pay particular attention to setting guidelines around the use of AI for HR compliance. Any information generated by the AI tool needs to be verified for accuracy, even if the AI bot insists it is or provides citations to sources. Already, seemingly reliable AI-generated citations have been uncovered as fabrications, sometimes well after an organization has used that information for important purposes.
Finally, HR professionals should be wary of using AI to make hiring decisions. If AI has a disproportionate impact on a protected group of people, it could subject an employer to liability. Some AI algorithms allegedly discriminate against certain groups despite the best intentions of their creators, reflecting their unpredictability. Organizations should determine whether to accept the risk of using AI to make recruitment decisions now or hold off until more is known about AI and its biases.
Various laws are already being enacted regarding the use of AI in the workplace, and as AI grows more prevalent, additional laws and regulations concerning the use of AI should be expected. It’s critical to monitor these developments state by state so organizations can maintain compliance. As always, organizations should consider how existing regulations impact their use of AI. For example, laws protecting employee data vary between states, so HR professionals may need to consult with their legal counsel to understand what data they can provide to an AI bot.
Emphasize Human Connection in Communication
AI is a useful, even revolutionary, tool for many office workers. However, human connection remains at the heart of HR. AI can’t build relationships between HR and workers; it can only help facilitate communication and lighten the load of administrative tasks.
With the importance of human connection in mind, HR leaders should be aware of how AI impacts their communications and workplace relationships. For example, AI can be useful to generate a first draft of employee communications. The best opportunities to use AI for communication are for e-mails that already follow a highly structured format, such as outreach to potential job candidates and rejection e-mails.
Even at challenging times, like amid layoffs or a crisis, AI-generated content may provide a starting point for HR leaders at a loss for words. However, AI content needs careful review and, often, extensive editing. HR leaders have a “voice” their employees have come to know and trust. While AI can propose unexpected ideas and lean on commonly used phrases, AI isn’t yet capable of capturing an individual’s tone. HR leaders should continue to communicate in supportive, caring ways true to their own voice, even if AI provides the building blocks of their messaging.
AI may be new to many HR leaders, but it’s critical to learn about its capabilities to improve efficiency. So long as leaders establish guidelines, stay aware of compliance concerns, and continue embracing human connection, they’ll find themselves successfully navigating the AI revolution.
Mark Berry is a senior HR specialist with Insperity, a provider of human resources offering the most comprehensive suite of scalable HR solutions available in the marketplace. For more information about Insperity, call 800-465-3800 or visit www.insperity.com.