The Role of HR and Artificial Intelligence – Is There Room for Both?
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By Lyndsey Mclaughlin
It is predicted that two thirds of jobs may be replaced by robots in the future. Although there has yet to be a complete takeover, we have already seen shop assistants being replaced by self-service machines. Driverless cars have also been introduced, which could result in the loss of a high number of jobs; including van drivers, bus drivers and tax drivers. Although we are unlikely to see a huge difference in our lifetime, we are slowly seeing the introduction of artificial intelligence and the effect it may have on employment in the future. With HR being responsible for recruiting and managing employee relationships, what will the future look like if artificial intelligence takes over all of our jobs?
Man vs. Machine
Although there is definitely an increase in artificial intelligence and there are certain jobs which can ultimately be replaced by robots; it is not possible for robots to replace all roles. Therefore, it could be argued that there will always be a place for HR. In certain sectors, such as the care sector, there will always be a need for human capital. There are only very specific industries which could be completely replaced by artificial intelligence and even then, it is unlikely that this will happen anytime soon. With the example mentioned previously in relation to self-service checkouts, human capital is still necessary when problems arise. Artificial intelligence has limited capabilities, it can deal with specific functions but it can’t rectify human error and there is always the risk of failures in the system, which doesn’t happen with human capital.
The Changing Face of HR
In many ways, artificial intelligence could actually be beneficial to the HR function and could vastly improve processes. It may be useful for analysing data from emails, calendars and the like, to help determine when productivity is declining. It could also be useful for determining how projects are getting on and where there might be potential risks. Although artificial intelligence may mean changes in HR, this is not necessarily a bad thing. HR staff can often become embroiled in issues which could easily be determined through artificial intelligence. For example, HR advisers can often spend a lot of time running reports on sickness, determining triggers and attending absence meetings. With the use of artificial intelligence, it may be that real time information can be passed on to managers, so they can administer this themselves, without the need for an HR presence. HR could then focus on becoming business partners and could really make a contribution to pushing the business ahead and achieving organizational goals.
With or without artificial intelligence, the role of HR can be highly beneficial for driving a business forward. It is, therefore, important that HR staff have up-to-date knowledge and skills to get the most out of the business. This can be achieved through ongoing learning, such as the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification program, which helps develop core skills in recruitment, talent management and HR policies.