AI and emerging tech will upend HR management

26 July 2019 2 min. read

Ninety-four percent of chief human resources officers and HR executives believe AI and technology will alter the HR function, according to a report from HR and recruitment consultancy Boyden. Nearly 40% said they expect drastic changes to people management as the technology increases in uptake.

The Boyden study surveyed 310 CHROs and HR executives in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Germany, and Australia.

Overall, respondents unsurprisingly expect artificial intelligence to drive changes in the way the HR department works. Approximately 48% of HR execs said they expect AI and tech to streamline performance management and increase skills-based hiring, while 42% said it will speed up hiring and improve onboarding.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents from the industrials and energy sectors, meanwhile, said they can see AI supplanting human recruiters after initial job interviews.

“AI is both overestimated and underestimated. At first glance, AI is just a tool for faster learning and operational excellence,” Robert Winterhalter, global leader of the human resources practice and managing partner at Boyden Germany, said. “Good HR leaders and other senior executives will both leverage it to improve operational efficiency and speed of transformation, and to affirm trust and respect from operational lines of management.”

AI and emerging tech will upend HR management

Most HR execs (75%) think they are prepared to deploy AI at their companies, though the level of confidence varies by region.

Mexican executives were most confident in their preparedness for AI deployments (96%), followed by Brazilian (88%) and German (84%) respondents. The US and Australia fell in the middle in terms of confidence, at 74% and 70%, respectively, while respondents in Canada and the UK were least confident, at 60% and 66%, respectively.

The Boyden study also found that 36% of companies are encouraging AI learning programs for employees and 27% are hiring employees with AI and technology skillsets, but only 20% are focusing on hiring senior-level executives with AI skillsets.

“The very best leaders are very data-oriented, data-driven,” Jeff Hodge, managing partner at Boyden US, said. “A deep understanding of data analytics will be a foundational skill for every CHRO in the future.”

Opportunities, challenges

Sixty percent of HR execs said that being able to rely on analytical processing and data, rather than individual observations, would be a key opportunity from AI implementation.

“AI, as a candidate processing and selection tool, will undoubtedly transform the way we hire people in the future,” Francesca d'Arcangeli, global leader, industrial practice and managing partner at Boyden UK, said.

Skills shortages for the only recently scaling-up industry, however, remains a constant challenge. Sixty-one percent of HR execs said hiring people with the right skillset remains a challenge, while 60% said they were concerned about keeping up with tech advancements.