Can Machine Learning Make HR Better?

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Machine Learning

Are you familiar with deep learning? Deep learning describes the ability for artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to learn from our behavior using brain-like structures called neural networks, and it’s changing the field of human resources in significant ways.

AI programs can predict outcomes based on past experiences fed into the program. Because AI can recognize patterns and analyze data at light speed, it can help HR directors make decisions with greater confidence.  From finding and recruiting prospects to streamlining employee assessment processes, machine learning and AI can make it easier for HR executives to do their jobs better—and today’s technology is only the beginning.

Here are just a few ways AI can work with the best HR professionals to better manage data-heavy tasks, spot top talent in unlikely places, and even improve employee satisfaction to reduce turnover rates.

1. Algorithms can help find the right job candidates from a nearly endless pool of possibilities. Finding and recruiting candidates takes time and resources. From using headhunters to scouring social media, the best candidates don’t always come to you—you have to seek them out. AI can accomplish the time- and labor-intensive task of searching online resumes, websites, and social networks to find the best candidates.

2. AI can assess candidates to find the best job position for them. AI can detect patterns faster and with a greater degree of accuracy than human beings can. Programs can correlate a candidates’ past experiences and relevant skills to determine where they might fit best in the company—and it may not be where you expect.

3. Evaluate more candidates faster with machine learning. Combing through piles of resumes takes a lot of time—and it’s time that HR executives might better spend on HR strategy, improving company morale, or other job functions that require a human touch. Machine learning excels at statistical analysis and pattern recognition. AI programs can evaluate resumes of successful employees and identify new candidates with similar traits and experience.

When it comes time for in-person or video interviews, AI can also detect body language patterns and evaluate aspects such as word choice and inflection to find the best new hires.

4. Improve employee satisfaction through regular, unbiased performance reviews aided by AI. One of the challenges during performance reviews is for the reviewer to remain impartial. AI algorithms could evaluate performance data without any personal bias toward or against a candidate.

AI can also examine past performance trends of individuals, teams, or departments and predict future outcomes. This information can give HR directors insight into the steps to take to improve performance or morale when the AI software spots a potential problem.

5. Reduce employee turnover through more effective hiring techniques. An often-cited Harvard Business Review study notes that 80 percent of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. This figure hasn’t seemed to improve much since the study was done in 2007—with no more recent statistics available—but AI could soon change that.

AI can also help HR executives avoid the second most common reason for new employee turnover: a bad skills match. AI programs have unique capabilities to analyze past experiences outlined on a resume, as well as personality traits revealed during the interview process, and compare this data to that of successful workers in a given position, helping HR executives match the best talent to the right job.

So, Will AI Take Over HR?

AI and machine learning can already take over many of those repetitive HR tasks in which human employees are more likely to make errors or to introduce personal bias. AI can analyze data and make predictions faster and with a greater degree of accuracy. With AI performing many of these rote tasks, it frees up HR executives of the future to focus on the “human” elements of their job. While it’s highly unlikely AI will take over HR, its comprehensive capabilities will undoubtedly contribute to the continuing evolution of the job title.

A version of this was first posted on Converge.xyz.

photo credit: theglobalpanorama Artificial Intelligence via photopin (license)

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Meghan M. Biro

Meghan M. Biro

Meghan M. Biro is a globally recognized Talent Management and HR Tech brand strategist, analyst, digital catalyst, author and speaker. As founder and CEO of TalentCulture, she has worked with hundreds of companies, from early-stage ventures to global brands like Microsoft, IBM and Google, helping them recruit and empower stellar talent. Meghan has been a guest on numerous radio shows and online forums, and has been a featured speaker at global conferences. She is a regular contributor at Forbes, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur and several other media outlets. Meghan regularly serves on advisory boards for leading HR and technology brands. Meghan has been voted one of the Top 100 Social Media Power Influencers in 2015 by StatSocial and Forbes, Top 50 Most Valuable Social Media Influencers by General Sentiment, Top 100 on Twitter Business, Leadership, and Tech by Huffington Post, and Top 25 HR Trendsetters by HR Examiner.