The years of 2022 and 2023 will be looked back on in the history books as more than the post-COVID era; they’ll be called the pre-AI era.
The last 18 months have introduced a swath of incredible new artificial intelligence tools that can create film VFX, write stories, paint like Renaissance artists, and much more. Every few weeks a new headline appears about an AI algorithm that’s more impressive than the last.
As fun as generating AI images and writing has been lately, it hasn’t yet taken over any industries or replaced human beings’ jobs. That, however, is the fear.
Digital artists are worried that AI art can quickly replicate pieces they spend weeks creating by breaking copyright law, and journalists can watch applications like ChatGPT whip up an article in seconds. We ourselves used an AI to generate this very article’s header image; the applications are endless. As more of these bots are developed, dozens of industries are looking on to see if they’ll be able to take advantage of AI before it takes advantage of them.
So, what about human resources?
Can an HR manager use AI algorithms to automate activities like meetings, performance reviews, and surveys? Or worse, could a bot eventually BE your HR manager?
I’m not going to bury the lede here – the answer is no, and here’s why:
Keeping the “H” in HR
It’s called “human” resources for a reason. If you’re an HR manager, your job is more than handling PTO and assisting with performance reviews – it’s building a culture that your employees love and a company mission everyone can be proud of. When it comes to the personal aspect of culture building, there’s simply nothing an artificial intelligence can do that can come close to the dynamic interactivity of a real person.
That much is obvious; of course there’s no AI that could perform tasks like handling an inter-employee dispute or teaching each of their employees in a way that fits their individual learning styles. Even if there was a million-dollar robot that could lead meetings and show empathy, a workforce would have an awful attitude about their human resources being entirely automated.
So, if your job isn’t going to be stolen by AI, can you steal some AI tools to make your job easier?
Can AI help with HR processes?
Constructing a Mission Statement
Let’s challenge ChatGPT, the internet’s leading language AI, to create a mission statement for an imaginary company named Purseify that sells purses made out of 100% recycled material:
Well… okay then, that’s pretty good. I will say it’s a bit generic, which is an inherent downfall of current AIs – they synthesize everything they can find and intelligently mash it together. This is a great starting point, though, so the verdict is… AI can lend a hand writing a mission statement.
You’re not going to use an AI to recognize your employees for a job well done. You could, in theory, ask a bot how to tell someone they did a great job on a project, but if your social skills are so inept you need to consult ChatGPT to speak with someone, you probably shouldn’t be a leader. The verdict is… don’t use AI to help you appreciate your team.
You’re never going to have an automated voice step in for you during an employee’s performance review, but can you use it as an outline? Let’s ask ChatGPT what we should say to someone who does great individual work, but doesn’t work well with their colleagues:
So, while this response is certainly long and offers sound advice, it’s very basic. If you used this as a script for a performance review, this person would think you sounded like a robot – and they’d be right! It’s extremely important to be knowledgeable about examples and specific scenarios that the employee could have handled more appropriately. If you really wanted to feed ChatGPT some details, you could, but the verdict is… you shouldn’t use AI to co-write your performance reviews.
As far as AI is concerned, a one-on-one is a much longer and more in-depth version of a performance review. It would be impossible for a bot to help you cover the breadth of knowledge needed to assess an employee’s status, as well as the comments they’ll bring you from their end. The verdict is… an AI will not be able to help you with a one-on-one meeting.
Quite frankly, it would be strange to ask an AI to develop a survey for you. They’re easy to write and usually involve specific options that can help you make the decisions that you alone face. But hey, let’s ask ChatGPT to make a survey about remote work to see what it can do anyway –
It impresses me yet again. As good as this result is, though, you can find the same sort of questions from a quick internet search for “remote work survey”, so it’s not working magic. These survey questions are still solid, albeit generic, so the verdict is… you can use AI to write at least part of a survey.
Goal setting simply does not work without specificity and personal variety, which AI won’t be able to assist with. You’re not going to inspire a worker by giving them the goal, “Improve your numbers from last quarter”, and an AI isn’t going to generate the suggestion, “Improve the floor maps to ease navigation around our hospital.” The verdict is… AI cannot help you set goals for your team.
We’re not even going to glance at the most in-depth HR processes out there, like learning management and community building. The evidence is clear already – while AI can help you with a few tasks, it will never threaten the jobs of human resources workers. Artificial intelligence capabilities do keep growing, so we’ll still be keeping an eye on how advanced they get. We can’t even be sure this article was written by a human!