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Opinion | The role of Artificial Intelligence in talent management

AI is not set to put HR executives out of work, rather it is set to transform HR departments across organizations

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ith young entrepreneurs acting as its early advocates across industries, technology promises to be a strong game changer. In today’s day and age there cannot be a more perfect meeting place for human and artificial intelligence (AI) than human resources (HR). The synergy of the two is all set to transform the way organizations recruit, assess, manage and motivate talent.

One has to understand that AI is not set to put HR executives out of work, rather it is set to transform HR departments across organizations. Therefore, it is not surprising that many see AI as having the potential to transform and alter key HR functions, such as recruiting, performance evaluation and capability development.

KPMG International’s latest global survey The Future of HR 2019, indicates that 60% of HR executives feel “very confident" about HR’s actual ability to transform and move them forward via key capabilities like analytics and AI.

Talent acquisition, for example, is a key responsibility for an HR department. A question which an organization should ask oneself is how do we ensure that what we have hired is indeed talent as there can be scenarios whereby a street-smart employee fails to live up to potential.

Pertinent to note is HR departments in organizations are inhabited by fallible humans and are not immune to human bias in such situations. AI here can help restructure such processes with the help of analytical processing of data instead of on individual observations.

For a start, AI can help in designing questions for an interview that wholly disregard someone’s background at the expense of focusing on their competency for a role. These questions more often than not are based on an individual’s earlier work records and, the pre- requisites of the job they apply for. Also, AI’s assistance with talent management helps the personnel in charge of performance evaluation. An employee’s performance can generate volumes of data, which AI can sort out within minutes, further aiding HR managers with swift access to systemized insights.

Oddly though, while organizations in India are recognizing how AI can drive significant value in HR, they are in the minority by a long way. The KPMG International survey revealed that a mere 50% of HR functions have started to introduce AI and only 26% have invested in AI in the past.

This indicates that India is marked with a series of dichotomies. Though HR leaders here have shown the intent to strive towards transforming their businesses and HR functions like their global counterparts, a majority of them want to take it slow, doing so at the risk of becoming outdated and irrelevant.

Lastly, the HR department is probably the most promising field to put AI to use as they are the first line in dealing with the “human" component of their businesses. AI, could serve as a great ally to them at each stage, right from sourcing talent, shortlisting applicants, screening, on-boarding and performance assessment, making it a key tool in HR management, with benefits that are already ripe for picking.

Vishalli Dongrie is partner and head (people and change) at KPMG India.

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