HR and AI: a match made in Heaven?
Since the start of the year, AI and ChatGPT have been dominant news stories, and you may be dreading the ‘new advancement in AI’ articles appearing, as it means even more change. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. There is a lot to get our heads around lately.
In the companies we work with, and even within our own Jaluch team, there seems to be a spectrum emerging…
Technophile or Technophobe?
While most of us will be sitting somewhere in the middle, there are two very distinct camps at either end, let’s call them the technophobes and the technophiles.
While most of us our dipping our toes in and out of this new technology, it begs a few questions, what happens when your technophiles automate 50% or more of their own jobs, where does this leave your technophobes? And the biggest question of all, how do we use this technology in our own roles.
Questions from the HR and Training team for your favourite AI tool…
Let’s start with us as HR professionals. Many of us have grasped using generative AI for basic admin tasks, but here are a few prompts you could input into your AI tool that you may not have already thought about…
- What does ACAS say about note taking in grievance appeals?
- I need to write a training course about negotiation, recommend some credible websites and books to start my research
- Here is a link to an industry magazine [xxxxxxxx], analyse it and tell me what are the key emerging people trends.
- Please review this contract clause and make the language more friendly and/or less formal.
- Here is a training agenda, please suggest the key learning points.
- Look at this job description and recommend interview questions based on the content.
- [Using the information on this page www.acas.org.uk/checking-holiday-entitlement] calculate how much holiday a part-time permanent employee working 25 hours should receive.
- Look at this job advert and identify any problematic language that could increase bias, then make suggestions to improve it.
- Look at this grievance outcome letter, suggest recommendations to make it more concise while keeping the meaning the same.
Opportunities for the future
So if this is what we can ask/get it to do now, what are our opportunities for the future?
In the 1980’s when hand-held calculators began to be introduced into the classroom environment, there was UPROAR from educators all around the world. They were terrified that their students mathematical abilities would be absolutely ruined. But what quickly became apparent was that the students still needed a good understanding of how maths works, or the tool was useless.
As a society over time, we have been faced with technological advancement that has fundamentally changed the way we work, and we have managed to muddle through.
So what feels so different this time?
When speaking to friends, clients, and colleagues there seems to be a real fear surrounding AI enhancement and it’s place in the working world. Technology is advancing at the fastest rate ever and there are groups of people who are genuinely terrified that continued automation will eradicate their jobs, and this fear will only increase as the automation tools get smarter.
But as HR people and business leaders what can we do?
For a touch of irony I asked Bard (Google’s newest tool) how to best manage people during the introduction of AI enhancement. It said:
To effectively manage people who may be using AI bots like Bard, follow these key strategies:
- Foster open communication and address concerns.
- Educate on AI’s capabilities and limitations.
- Set clear expectations that AI should complement, not replace, human work.
- Promote skill development and continuous learning.
- Recognise and reward achievements that require human judgment.
- Monitor performance beyond output.
- Encourage collaboration and teamwork.
- Stay updated on AI advancements to adapt management approaches.
Thank you Bard, a textbook perfect answer, and some really great points we should all be thinking about.
Practical, human things to consider
As we navigate this new territory with different levels of adoption of AI tools what are the practical and ‘human’ things we need to consider?
Let’s get into it…
- From fear to opportunity
Let’s be really honest here, most humans are lazy. We will try to find the solution that takes us the least time, effort, and energy, to solve a problem. You can guarantee that the laziest among us are automating our own roles as we speak to make our lives easier, and to this end AI can be used to streamline, drive efficiency, and reduce costs.
However, this can only happen if your organisational approach as a whole is to run towards change, not away from it, and this can only start at the top. Once again for those in the back… if a business doesn’t adapt, it dies.
- Bring everyone along for the ride
Adaptability is the one key skill we seem to be coming back to time and time again recently. To be able to adapt to change, innovation, and thrive in uncertainty is in our opinion the number 1 skill required in a modern workplace. But don’t forget adaptability doesn’t come naturally to everyone and it is a skill we can enhance through training and coaching.
- Set the standard
As an organisation you really need to consider and decide what you are comfortable with, and as with everything, ideally document it and communicate it to your teams!
If an administrator or developer in your company can automate 30% of their role are you ok with them being idle for that 30%, should they clock off early, are there other tasks you can give them, or should you consider reducing their hours? AI is giving us a huge opportunity to restructure roles within the workplace, but deciding on a standardised organisation approach is critical to ensure all employees are treated fairly.
- Invest in what makes us human
AI, like the calculator before it, can only function based on the information it is provided with, and sometimes it gets the output wrong. This is where our human abilities come in. Unlike AI we can employ critical thinking, emotional intelligence, empathy, and ethical reasoning to question the outputs AI generates.
Without enhancing and developing the skills that make us human, organisations are at risk of making serious business decisions on AI outputs that may not be morally, ethically, or factually correct.
To sum it all up, a cautionary tale… In recent weeks the first UK student at a university has been caught using ChatGPT to write his submission essay. On the topic of leadership ChatGPT had cited a quote from ‘ Leadership Insights for Wizards and Witches’ a fan-created book linked to the Harry Potter series.
Though the threats of regulation are still looming which could potentially limit it’s use in some countries, AI is seemingly here to stay, but as the wand is to a wizard, AI is only a tool, and we would recommend using this particular tool with caution, care, and intelligence.
How we can help
If you want to talk to us about the ways AI can work for you and your business, or for anything else HR or training related, get in touch.
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Disclaimer: The information contained within this article is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of employment and associated law and employee relations issues as at the date of publication. Jaluch Limited, or any of its directors or employees, cannot be held responsible for any action or inaction taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be sought on all individual matters.