AI for HR

April 29, 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds the promise of enhancing productivity, creating efficiencies and increasing effectiveness for everyone – including human resource departments and their respective companies. As guardians of their organizations, HR professionals should have a specific set of expectations when it comes to managing AI.  

AI’s reach is quickly expanding – 42% of businesses in the US are using AI tools, according to the 2023 IBM Global AI Adoption Index. And these tools offer real value. AI frees up valuable human resources and empowers HR professionals to focus on strategic initiatives to drive organizational growth and success. But it’s not all good news. AI technology can also introduce potential risks and deeply worrisome ethical considerations. 

What Is AI?  

Let’s first set our understanding of AI. AI refers to computer systems and software that can perceive, learn, reason and make decisions that mimic human intelligence. AI-driven tools can automate time-consuming and repetitive tasks by analyzing data, recognizing patterns and making predictions to streamline workflows, provide valuable insights and free up human resources. 

How AI Benefits HR  

AI-driven capabilities can empower HR teams to cultivate a thriving workplace culture, foster talent growth and drive organizational success: 

  • Improved efficiency: AI-enabled chatbots make onboarding smoother and more personalized by guiding new employees through the process of verifying documents, scheduling induction training and providing access to company hardware and software. 
  • Reduced costs: AI can analyze which sources of hire generate the most promising applicants to help an HR department optimize its hiring budget and drop ineffective recruitment channels. It can also identify patterns and factors contributing to turnover so HR can implement proactive retention strategies.  
  • Better decision-making: AI can analyze resumes, determine the most qualified candidates and provide information to help recruiters make better hiring decisions.  

Potential AI Concerns For HR 

There’s no question that the potential benefits of AI are vast, but the risks can be significant. Chief among these concerns is potential bias and discrimination inherent in AI algorithms. If trained on flawed or biased data, AI systems can perpetuate and amplify existing biases, potentially exposing employers to legal risks if they run afoul of federal, state and local anti-discrimination laws. For example, companies should clearly communicate they use AI to screen potential job candidates. Illinois, Maryland, and New York City have passed laws requiring employers to ask for consent first if using AI during the hiring process.  

The sensitive nature of employee and customer data also necessitates robust data protection measures to ensure AI systems are compliant with privacy regulations such as the GDPR, CCPA and HIPAA and do not pose a security vulnerability or data privacy breach. 

Lastly, employees using unapproved AI software at work without a company’s knowledge can put the organization at risk legally. It’s essential for companies to have comprehensive policies and training that clearly outline acceptable and prohibited uses of AI tools in the workplace. 

Navigating The EU AI Act 

The passage of the European Union AI Act in March 2024 underscores the importance of responsible AI deployment. The comprehensive legal framework aims to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of AI by establishing four risk levels: unacceptable risk, high risk, limited risk and minimal or no risk. The law bans AI practices posing unacceptable risks and places stringent restrictions on the use of high-risk systems that include comprehensive risk assessments, adherence to strict data quality standards and human oversight to mitigate risks and ensure ethical and responsible usage.  

Steps To Harnessing AI Benefits 

Employers should take steps to create an environment where employees understand how to responsibly use AI-powered tools and mitigate the risks. 

  • Develop policies and training: Establish clear policies addressing the use of AI and provide training to employees on AI ethics, usage guidelines and limitations.  
  • Assure compliance: Conduct AI inventories, perform impact assessments and ensure compliance with data privacy regulations to mitigate legal and ethical risks. 
  • Promote transparency: Implement transparency policies to inform employees, customers and stakeholders about an organization’s use of AI and encourage reporting of any deviations from these policies.  
  • Human oversight and investigation: Ensure that mechanisms are in place for employees to report misuse and suspicious outputs of AI tools and establish procedures for thorough investigation and corrective action.  

AI technology offers huge advantages for HR, but it must be accompanied by responsible practices and comprehensive training to maximize the benefits and mitigate the risks. In a future where AI makes us all more effective and efficient, there will always be a need for humans, and especially HR professionals, to ensure that its power is used safely and ethically. 

Click here for a course preview of Traliant’s AI Ethics and Responsible Use training


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Mark Hudson