We have always said AI is going to revolutionize the way we work. This sentence should no longer be in the future tense for HR teams globally. AI has changed and continues to change the world where we work and manage human resources.
Sometimes I think to myself: Well, we have all lived through the HR trend cycles of going to the cloud, going mobile, doing people analytics, focusing on employee engagement, looking at skills, etc. How is this one different?
I realized over the past few months that this time it’s different because AI is not a function-specific trend that’s unique to HR; it is changing how everyone works and accesses information.
With that in mind, here are some things I think HR should brace itself for right now:
Candidates are outsmarting the recruitment process
The traditional way of assessing candidates may no longer be the most effective. As candidates are drafting cover letters, tweaking resumes, preparing for interviews, and personalizing thank-you notes—all with the help of AI—what used to be considered the extra mile in the recruiting process is now table stakes. As AI helps candidates predict interview questions and sometimes generate interview responses live in real-time, the challenge for the future of recruiting is not finding a candidate with a good culture fit but rather determining who has an authentic culture fit vs. a manufactured culture fit.
Everyone will be an ER/LR expert
Historically, becoming an HR expert means one would have to accumulate hands-on experience over the years and know how to deal with the quirkiest ER issues presented to us. AI has made it much easier for business users to ask AI to take on the role of an HR generalist and advise on the issue they are currently facing. While I am not suggesting that the answer produced by AI is accurate by any means, it does present all of us with the added challenge of really knowing our stuff so we can articulate why/how the AI-generated response may be inaccurate.
Managers and leaders will expect faster turnaround times on work outputs
As AI can now generate policy templates, new hire onboarding plans, email drafts, and strategy outlines all under a few minutes, I don’t think we are far away from managers expecting shorter turnaround times in work product creation and HR having to address the issue of using AI for work in performance reviews. While the AI-generated outputs are usually generic and require additional tweaking, they typically have ~65% of the baseline content needed to create the rest of the work product (sometimes more if you are good at prompting). This also means that managers must get good at spotting work output that is generic and possibly AI-generated vs. one created/tweaked by the worker.
“I can’t do [insert task here]” is no longer valid
Throughout my career I have heard things such as, “I’m not good at Excel, so I can’t analyze this data” or “I’m not great with PowerPoint, so can someone else help create this presentation?” With AI, we don’t have an excuse anymore because we can remove ourselves from the “doing” part of our tasks entirely. Can’t do Excel? No problem; know what outcome you are looking for, and AI will analyze the raw data for you. Can’t do PPT slides? Canva has got you covered. This new world of work with AI is no longer about whether we know how to do something procedurally; it will be focused on whether we know our stuff well enough to articulate the question we want to answer or the ideal outcome we are looking for.
HR needs to relearn how to be human again
Over the years HR has become great at achieving operational efficiencies through standardization and executing standardized work. With AI running the standardized work at increased speed and with unlimited volume on our behalf, I think it’s time for HR to devote itself to understanding what makes the workforce unique once again and creating solutions that address the uniqueness of individuals that make up the workforce. This transition will take time, but ultimately, if HR is no longer busy doing the tasks, it should get busy focusing more on the people element of the whole process.
What are some things you realized/learned as you explore the weird and wonderful world of AI-enabled work?