Five Ways AI Is Disrupting Human Resources Management

Technology is the great liberator of HR, freeing time to focus on the people interactions that matter

What does a future of HR Management, disrupted by Artificial Intelligence look like? The future of HR, is undeniably one that combines human and technology focus, with the latter being viewed by some as a potential threat to Human Resources as we know it.  However, the more pragmatic and optimistic view is that the continued evolution of AI will be the great liberator of HR’s time, resulting in HR leaders, practitioners and people managers having that time back, to re-focus on the people interactions that matter.

What is AI?

AI or artificial intelligence is an area of computer science that enables machines to think like humans. The aim of the AI field of computer science is to focus on machine-driven intelligence that can solve cognitive problems typically associated with that of human intelligence. As a result artificial intelligence can perform a variety of human thinking tasks that include learning, problem-solving, reasoning, and even the processing of language. 

Can AI replace entire HR roles, or will this technology be a powerful enabler?

Essentially, AI is the understanding that machines are able to interpret, process and then learn from external data, which has been based on the idea that human thought processes can be replicated and then mechanized. 

AI works by using machine learning algorithms that imitate the cognitive functions of human beings. Which translates to the algorithms learning to predict what a human would actually do in any situation, followed by carrying out the next appropriate task at the next appropriate point in time. 

The continuous development of AI has resulted in most industry sectors who work with a large amount of data and information, leveraging the value that machine learning technology can bring. From financial services to government, retail to healthcare, energy to transportation the insights that machine learning can bring allow organisations from these sectors to work more efficiently.

AI in HR

The field of Human Resources and its multitude of functions has already begun to experience the influence of AI. The value to be gained through the optimisation of processes in combination with the human mind and human empathy, are well understood by HR professionals. 

While artificial intelligence (AI) is the broad science of mimicking human abilities, machine learning is a specific subset of AI that trains a machine how to learn

An overwhelming benefit of AI in HR is the scope it has to make real-time decisions based on pre-installed algorithms. These in turn result in HR processes that are automated, augmented but also amplified, which translates to improved efficiencies but also enhanced experiences of HR’s customers, the people within the organisations themselves.

Disruption #1️⃣: Talent Acquisition

The first foray into using AI for HR management, for many companies is in their recruitment and talent acquisition process. AI has successfully augmented candidate screening, scheduling interviews and even answering candidates questions. 

As a result of these AI interventions, the time to hire for companies can be reduced significantly, as can the time that HR would previously have spent on mundane administrative tasks like maintaining candidate databases. 

Companies see significant and measurable results almost immediately by using AI to support talent acquisition efforts, which in addition to reducing that all too important time to hire, a productivity uplift is also experienced for those recruiting. 

However it’s the combination of AI and human intelligence that together can enhance candidate experience. One of the key issues reported by candidates in recruiting processes, is the time the application to the selection stage of the process can take. Successful AI integration can make this process shorter, but also more communicative, intuitive and seamless. 

Sage HR’s recruitment feature has been designed with these benefits in mind. Our end to end recruitment software accelerates the process with automated tracking, on demand applicant screening and advanced data analytics – All crucial to enhance the experience felt by prospective candidates. 

From the perspective of uplifting productivity, those recruiting can easily manage each stage of the pipeline with the hiring pipeline tool. Along with interview scheduling that can sync automatically with workplace calendars. The time and effort gained back by the HR team are invaluable in enabling that focus to be placed on other more meaningful, interactive areas of the recruitment process. 

Disruption #2️⃣: Onboarding

Once the crucial task of hiring has been completed, the next step is to successfully onboard talent to the organisation in a way that starts the employee journey off on the right footing. 

AI integrated into the onboarding process can cover off introducing new employees to company information on their first day and the completion of essential new starter documentation. It can also highlight company policies, and where to find shared work areas, fellow team members, and introduce any week one training assignments. 

The useful aspects of AI in onboarding is that it can often be customized to suit the individual employee and the level that they will hold in the organisation. Making the onboarding process feel more personalised and ultimately more impactful.

Disruption #3️⃣: HR Administration

The administration element of Human Resources is renowned for how time consuming it can be. Administration aspects ranging holiday entitlement, absence management, performance data and timesheet management, can all be time consuming and particularly in the case of holiday entitlement, duplicated in the number of times requests for information are received from employees. 

But the administration doesn’t end there – HR Management also comprises data gathering and reporting, on everything from employee monitoring to salary and pay information, along with team and individual performance rankings. 

AI also has the potential here to positively disrupt the time taken to perform these tasks, through effective automation.

Sage HR’s functions spanning leave management, performance management, and shift scheduling all take the timely administrative aspects out of these processes, so that rather than HR needing to take time to answer the same questions again and again, or dig around in spreadsheets to find the relevant employee information, this time can be better spent discussing with the employee aspects relating to career development or focused on improving critical internal processes instead.

Disruption #4️⃣: Learning & Development

Continuous learning and development is essential for both individuals and their respective careers, but also the organisations those individuals are playing a part in. The challenge however in today’s rapid moving landscape is that skills have a far shorter shelf life than they would have previously. 

This is where AI in learning and development can truly add value, where some of the key impact areas of artificial intelligence on L&D include personalised learning pathways, augmented to the needs of the learner, conversational interfaces and analytics for e-learning. 

Knowing, as HR L&D practitioners do, that each person has their own preferred learning style, AI developments in learning programmes are helping organisations to spend less time on having to assess these learning styles, to develop courses that suit the broad array of style preferences. 

AI-centred adaptive learning programmes, effectively modify training courses to suit the student’s learning as the course unfolds. A helpful value add to l&d in organisations of all sizes.

Disruption #5️⃣: Talent Management

Many emergent HR AI tools sit within the talent management space. Talent management as the bolt on to talent acquisition involves the processes of retaining high-quality employees, whilst developing their skills and continuously motivating those employees to remain within the organisation. 

AI developments in talent management can include algorithms to help predict the likelihood of an employee leaving, by evaluating employee data that includes pay and reward, time in role, performance scores, whilst measuring these against overall attrition levels. 

The advantages of this support HR and people managers to have an awareness of any potential problems before they arise, and allow for interventions to occur before matters become more serious. 

The importance of Talent Management
The importance of Talent Management | Source: Valamis

AI can also be used to make improvements to in-house training and coaching, which is a valuable build to learning & development offerings. Through the use of AI applications and databases in talent management, it’s possible to track working experience and the career path of new to the organisation employees and those who may have moved on. Which in turn, supports HR in their development track planning for high potential employees, whose talent may require additional investment.

Bringing it all together

There are a multitude of benefits for Human Resources thanks to developments in Artificial Intelligence. Ultimately some of the more arduous tasks that could be considered dull or repetitive are being handed over to AI systems to be handled in ways that can positively impact practitioners’ time, whilst also reducing issues that can sometimes occur with human user error. 

Gartner says by 2020, Artificial Intelligence will create more jobs than it eliminates

The upside for HR professionals is that the disruption brought to HR tasks and processes by AI are enhancing, rather than replacing the need for HRM to be performed by humans. As a report by Gartner noted, AI is predicted to create 2.3 million additional jobs, which is significantly more than the 1.8 millions that Gartner predicts will be eliminated in middle and low-level positions. 


Sage HR

For companies where people are paramount to success, Sage HR  helps businesses overcome the complexities of managing their people, so they can focus on growing their business.

Written By

Jade Taryn Graham

Jade is the founder & CEO of Inspired a people & talent consultancy working with the most innovative early stage companies worldwide. Founder & CCO of Inspired Talent Media Ltd and contributing writer for Sage HR where Jade writes about people, leadership, work/life balance and change.