As we set out on the path to economic recovery, we must take stock of the disruption the pandemic has caused. While the economic impact of the pandemic may vary from sector to sector, there are some sectors that have suffered the most and continue to suffer. Industries such as manufacturing, aviation, travel and hospitality, and retail were compelled to take drastic measures including mass lay-offs, furloughs, or even shut shop altogether. However, the service sector has been spared from the brunt of the pandemic-led economic disruption. Organizations that were quick to adapt to remote work and build resilience among their ranks are markedly in a much better position as we near the end of 2020. On the other hand organizations and industries that failed to transition as smoothly into the new world of work are playing catch up. Regardless of the industry or sector, the common success and failure factor for organizations through the pandemic has been the people function or HR. It has played a central role in determining how organizations have fared through the crisis.
Going forward, HR will also determine how fast organizations rebound and how people adapt to the rapidly evolving realities of the new workplace. Before we begin to understand how HR can most efficiently leverage AI to win in the new world of work, let’s take a quick look at some of the key changes we expect to see in a post-pandemic world:
- Organizations will invest time in improving their communication with employees
- Increased focus on employees’ mental health and wellbeing
- Remote work will become the norm
- A shift in recruitment and onboarding process
- Embracing agility in every aspect
This shift demands large-scale changes at a rapid rate. Thankfully, giant strides in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) show optimistic signs for HR. In this article, we’ll explore how AI will transform HR in the post-pandemic world.
Let’s dive in.
1. Use AI for Candidate Sourcing and Screening
In the post-COVID world, organizations will need to ramp up recruitment efforts to reach pre-pandemic levels of productivity. Going through a pile of resumes manually is inefficient and hectic. Instead, AI-powered tools can help recruiters by sourcing and screening the right candidates with the right skillset and experience.
Recruiters can feed in the criteria such as the desired skills, experience, and specializations, and the tool will scour online resources to identify the right candidates. Sourcing tools can also evaluate candidates based on their assessment scores so that recruiters don’t have to rely solely on resumes. Newer screening solutions can also analyze past and present employees who have been successful in the role and extrapolate traits and characteristics that made them thrive in that role. The solution can identify and rank candidates in the talent pool that resemble those traits, making it easy to shortlist the prospective candidates.
2. Simplify Onboarding
The onboarding process is quite lengthy and requires someone to guide the employee through it. An AI-based system can now automate the entire workflow right from completing the onerous paperwork to making the employee feel like a part of the organization.
These applications help employees set up their profiles, submit their documents, and verify those documents without any HR intervention. Also, the round-the-clock availability of the app lets employees fill out details at their comfort. A built-in wiki provides all vital information employees need within a few clicks, and a chatbot is always available to answer any queries they may have.
Automating onboarding and administrative activities will allow HR and employees to connect more meaningfully, allowing them to get acquainted with the company culture from day one.
3. Keep Employees Engaged
COVID-19 has changed the workplace dynamics. Several organizations have opted for remote work and many expect to continue providing employees the flexibility to work from either the office or home when things get back to normal. This raises the question of employee engagement.
Chatbots are one of the key AI-based offerings that can help improve employee engagement. But AI is capable of more. One of the most adverse impacts of remote work has been on the mental health of employees. While a dip in productivity and performance are primary indicators, its impact runs deeper on a personal level and can cause mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, insomnia, to name a few.
By tracking performance and productivity, AI-powered tools can alert HR teams about the possibility of mental health issues in their workforce, that can be analyzed further using feedback and surveys. If an employee is facing a temporary bump in the road due to a life event, the organization can give them space to recover, and HR can extend support to guide them through the ordeal. HR can also recommend professional counselling for employees struggling with mental health.
4. Use Predictive Analytics
End-to-end HR solutions offer a wide variety of analytics data to help organizations measure performance and productivity. Crucial metrics like the turnover rate, revenue per employee, cost per hire, absenteeism, time to hire, etc. can be obtained using the said descriptive analytics data.
With the introduction of predictive analytics, HR can now build various models using this data to predict future events. Common types of predictive models, such as forecasting, classification, clustering, and outlier models, can help organizations anticipate outcomes with a wide range of variables. Some examples include predicting future employee attrition from a specific function/department, identifying exceptional performers, predicting threat-risk employees, measuring hiring success, and curbing absenteeism, among other possibilities.
This data can help the HR department improve or optimize existing processes to improve the positive impact and control potential losses.
5. Improve Agility By Upgrading Infrastructure
Organizations must be prepared to scale up their processes once things return to normal. Meanwhile, organizations should evaluate possible AI-powered offerings to accommodate the rapid changes in recruitment and enhance the candidate experience.
Organizations can improve their agility by integrating automation and AI in their HR processes like recruiter communication, automate onboarding workflows, learning and development, and performance management among pthers. This way, they can keep up with the changing landscape without disrupting the existing processes and organizational structure and making the HR function more human.
Envisioning the Future of HR with AI
Organizations are already choosing AI-based HR applications due to its process efficiencies. AI in HR in the post-pandemic world will be responsible for the de-siloing of the end-to-end HR processes.
So, will AI be a transformative force in HR? The answer is a resounding yes. The AI-fueled transformation will bring coherency to the existing HR operations, improve candidate experience, boost productivity, and, ultimately, increase the bottom line.