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HR and AI: A Powerful Pairing When Done Right


June 27, 2024

HR and AI: A Powerful Pairing When Done Right

Home > Blog > HR and AI: A Powerful Pairing When Done Right

The technologies associated with AI are rapidly transforming the way businesses operate, and the demand for AI-enabled tools is skyrocketing. According to the McKinsey Global Survey on AI, 65% of respondents report that their organizations are regularly using generative AI (nearly double the percentage from their previous survey just ten months ago). Additionally, Gartner says that 38% of HR leaders have already explored or implemented AI solutions to improve process efficiency within their organizations.

The recent focus on “AI agents” has ignited a new wave of curiosity and excitement around the potential of generative AI. It’s evident that the relationship between business and technology is undergoing a profound transformation. AI is no longer just a concept to pontificate on. Forward-thinking organizations are already using it to reshape their industries, streamline processes, and enter a new phase of existence—something McKinsey calls organizational agility.

In a recent episode of the Invisible Machines podcast, Robb Wilson, CEO and Co-Founder of OneReach.ai, and Josh Tyson talk with Greg Vert, Principal and HR Transformation Leader at Deloitte. The conversation explores the ways emergent technologies are fundamentally changing the nature of jobs and how work gets done. Greg shares the experiences he’s having with global enterprise clients as they seek to integrate AI technologies into their Human Resources processes.

Episode highlights: 

  • Impact of scaled AI on the workforce 
  • Shifting from a point solutions approach to systemic AI integration
  • Importance of human-to-human interactions
  • Applying people management principles to AI technology
  • Elevating digital experience as a C-Suite priority for workforce productivity

The Experimentation Phase of AI for Business 

Vert notes that after the initial curiosity phase, where businesses grappled with understanding the implications of generative AI, many orgs are now entering the experimentation phase. While the majority of companies are only now getting started in earnest, some forward-thinking organizations have already been experimenting with AI before it became a mainstream topic.

These organizations are beginning to acknowledge the tangible value AI can create. They are identifying use cases and are ready to move beyond experimentation, shifting their focus to scalability and delivering results. This shift marks a pivotal moment where businesses are not only aiming to enhance efficiency but also realizing the profound impact AI has on workforce dynamics, fundamentally reshaping the nature of work, jobs, and how tasks are performed.

Transformational AI: Moving Beyond Point Solutions

In the rush to embrace AI, many companies are falling into a dangerous trap. 64% of CEOs believe that companies are not adequately prepared for AI’s unexpected consequences. The culprit is often a misguided “point solution” approach. Slapping AI features onto outdated systems is like adding self-driving capabilities to a horse-drawn carriage—it only creates the illusion of progress and is expensive in the long run. True transformation requires a complete overhaul of digital experiences, not just AI sprinkles on legacy software. As organizations navigate this journey, the path forward isn’t about creating a thousand AI-enhanced apps or bots.

Scaling Human Expertise with AI

We’re not just talking about making it easier for you to find information or get answers to HR policy questions; we’re talking about fundamentally changing the nature of work, jobs, and how work gets done.

Greg Vert, Principal and HR Transformation Leader at Deloitte

Today’s AI technology allows organizations to embed human expertise into AI systems, extending the reach of skilled professionals and setting the stage for drastically improved experiences for customers and employees. This means that frontline problem-solving, data analysis, service, and support can be enhanced and expanded through AI, delivering consistent and expert-level assistance whenever and wherever it’s needed. 

By leveraging the technologies associated with AI in strategic ways, organizations can ensure the knowledge they’ve accumulated can be accessed in meaningful ways, whenever team members need it. It’s not about replacing humans; it’s about amplifying their impact, allowing organizations to scale expertise in ways previously unimaginable.

Enhancing Intentionality and Empathy in the Workplace 

Human-to-human interaction remains incredibly important, especially in situations involving safety issues, workplace concerns, and talent relations, such as hiring or exit decisions. We need to approach these matters with the empathy that AI cannot genuinely replicate. While AI can be trained on tone and other superficial aspects, it cannot truly replicate empathy.

Greg Vert, Principal and HR Transformation Leader at Deloitte

Using AI for the right tasks, such as HR policy inquiries or process clarifications, can provide faster and more accurate responses, freeing up human professionals for more complex issues. However, not all interactions are suitable for AI. Situations requiring empathy—like handling workplace safety, talent relations, or personal employee matters—are best managed by humans. 

While AI can mimic tone and personality, it can’t replicate genuine empathy. Therefore, it’s essential to be intentional about when and how to use AI, ensuring it enhances rather than diminishes the human experience. This can take the form of AI systems giving human team members instant access to relevant information so that they can make the right decisions. 

AI-Powered Work: Embracing Change

In the HR space, there are lots of questions where we strategically seek only one answer. When asking policy questions or those involving legal and regulatory considerations, consistency is crucial. Having a single answer benefits both the workforce and the enterprise.

Greg Vert, Principal and HR Transformation Leader at Deloitte

In HR settings, traditional performance metrics often miss the mark. Instead of focusing solely on enhancements and defect resolutions, it’s time to leverage AI to gather detailed feedback on HR tools and onboarding experiences. AI can create a built-in feedback loop, providing granular insights into user interactions and outcomes. 

By incorporating AI, organizations can establish productivity baselines and assess the true impact of digital experiences. The goal is to enhance productivity, streamline talent management, and foster dynamic, skill-based roles. Early adopters of AI in HR stand to gain significant advantages in efficiency and employee satisfaction.

Watch the full episode for more insights on YouTube or listen to it on Apple Podcasts/ Spotify.

Curious to discover how AI agents can enhance your business? Download our whitepaper “What Everyone Is Getting Wrong About AI Agents”.

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