As technology rapidly progresses, one thing is certain: automation, which includes areas such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, is going to change the way businesses operate and reduce the need to have more employees. The future of human resource management is no different.
Why Will Human Resource Management Be Affected?
Many people incorrectly think that human resources is totally about soft skills and concepts such as emotional intelligence. This is far from the truth. Human resources also requires quantitative skills, but more importantly, it is full of repetitive tasks. Recent history in a wide variety of industries and business operations has shown that where there are repetitive tasks, automation can and will take over. In fact, it turns out that human resources may be one of the easiest areas of a business to automate.
Types of Tasks Automation Will Take Over in Human Resources
Many repetitive tasks in human resources will or already are being taken over by computers through automated software based on artificial intelligence and big data. One of the most time-consuming tasks of a human resources department, especially if it is staffed by only a few people, is answering in-house questions from employees. Company wide, employees frequently have questions about internal policies, sick days, vacation days, maternity leave, health insurance, retirement benefits, and payroll. With all the questions coming in, research has shown that human resources representatives can only quickly solve employee questions 40 to 70 percent of the time. This type of task is perfect for automation. A database with all of the correct policies and answers can be created and then intelligently accessed by employees verbally asking questions at a kiosk in the office or through a website portal. This artificial intelligence-driven solution can instantly eliminate the need for humans to waste time answering in-house questions.
Another major area of repetitive tasks is in the selection of quality job candidates and subsequent training of them. Both of these types of tasks can be automated with the right artificial intelligence. In late 2017, algorithmic-based candidate hunting software is already being used in some companies. These algorithms and matching software are used in web crawlers to scale for candidates who aren’t even looking for a specific job at the moment. The crawlers look at social media accounts, personal websites, online resumes, and more to find great matches to recruit. These algorithms can scan far more data than a human can in a fraction of the time, and make intelligent connections between data that humans would never see. This same type of idea applies to initial training on the job site that can be customized for each candidate based on experience and intelligence, all without human input.
Will Humans Still Be Needed in Human Resources?
The good news for human resources employees is there will still be a need for them. Humans are definitely necessary to check final report information and ensure all processes are moving along smoothly and without mistakes. Almost certainly there will be times when automated processes make errors and human judgment is required. The bad news is the job market will likely shrink. It may be wise for human resources professionals to keep themselves up-to-date on the advances of automation and work hard to ensure they are a top performer in their field.