Technology in HR: The Journey from Automation to AI

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the way we live and work. It’s revolutionizing industries and has been a game-changer in improving efficiencies and streamlining processes. And human resources (HR) is no exception, as a growing number of companies are looking at ways AI and other technologies can make HR processes more efficient, effective and unbiased.

We’ve been doing it here at Motion, starting with a benchmark assessment of what’s been working well for us and what we’d like to be doing better. Here’s a quick look at some of the ways AI has supported us so far and how we anticipate it playing an even larger role moving forward.

Making HR Processes Automated

We’ve been using automated systems at Motion for years to manage things such as our insurance benefits, payroll and 401k program. In the summer of 2021, we rolled out an automated “MotionFlex” work-from-home program to help employees and their managers independently manage a bank of work-from-home days. It made our agency’s dynamic work-week schedule easy to implement and transparent to all.

With programs like these on autopilot, the timing was right to see what else would be possible with automation, with the goal of becoming even more streamlined and efficient. Specifically, we looked at solutions and strategies for improving time management and the recurring function of employee reviews. Those initiatives are ongoing, but we’re optimistic that we’ll soon have solutions in place that streamline these vital workplace functions.

An Intranet for Employee Access

At the same time we began looking into additional automated solutions, we realized it was important to give employees centralized access to all of the different HR programs and services we provide. So, we partnered with the agency’s creative group, including experts in UI/UX, digital design and web development, to create an intranet.

This intuitive agency portal gives employees instant access to an entire suite of HR systems and functions, dramatically reducing the number of high-frequency requests for information that routinely slow down a department. Instead of an inbox clogged with health insurance inquiries, policy clarification questions and work-from-home requests, our HR team is freed up to manage higher-order issues, think strategically about the business and keep the agency more competitive via recruiting and retention.

Although our agency intranet portal isn’t AI-based, it is yet another way technology has influenced HR as we continue to find ways to solve systemic challenges with existing and emerging innovations.

Today’s AI, Tomorrow’s HR

We keep hearing that the future is here. But the use of AI and technology in HR is about more than simply automating processes. Today’s AI can help companies analyze trends, predict future trends and weed out bad zip codes in resumes. It can read and write job descriptions and help wanted ads, review resumes and provide predictive analytics. As companies lean into these newer capabilities, it’s important to remember that AI is not a replacement for human input and judgment.

Personally experimenting with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, I began to realize the power and potential of the tool for enhancing everyday job functions. And I was also exposed to its limitations. For example, I asked ChatGPT for Federal, Illinois State and City of Chicago labor laws. The engine was able to quickly compile a comprehensive list for each of these. I was immediately gratified by the quality and the quickness of the response. But was the information correct?

Unfortunately, some of what was generated was incorrect. The tool did save me some time in the end, but my human mind was still required to be sure that anything it provided was accurate, reliable and useful.

Accuracy and data bias are the two primary concerns on my mind when considering the use of AI for HR functions. Systems can be limited by data bias, as they are only as good as the person inputting the information and only as reliable as the data sources accessed. There is still, and I believe always will be, a need for human oversight.

That said, there’s little question that AI has the power to transform the way HR professionals work, so long as we manage its use responsibly and think of it more as a shortcut than the long-term solution to the management of human capital.

Recruiting with AI

One area the Motion team will be exploring next is the use of AI in recruiting. Many companies are already experimenting with AI-powered tools like ChatGPT to help them with the recruitment process. It can be used to help identify the best candidates, analyze trends and predict future trends for burnout and turnover. The use of AI in recruitment can also help eliminate biases and make the process more efficient and effective. I am both excited and curious to see how this AI HR deep dive turns out and look forward to sharing those results when ready.

In the meantime, the agency teams here at Motion will be on an everyday journey to explore the promise and potential of AI as an efficiency supercharger. Our goal in HR will be to look at ways to make some of our department’s recurring processes, such as benefits management and talent recruitment, as easy and accessible as possible.

The use of AI and technology in HR is a rapidly growing trend, and companies like Motion are proud to be leading the way. By leveraging the power of AI, through technologies and tools like ChatGPT, we can better solve problems, improve workflow efficiency and ultimately create a better work environment for our employees. And, by the way, it’s probably worth noting that some of this article was co-written by ChatGPT. Although I still asked a staff writer to punch it up for me before posting because—well, I wanted people to actually read it.