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From Evolution to Revolution: The Impact of AI in Revolutionizing Talent Management to Meet Business Needs

By Bridgette Wilder, Senior Manager - Human Resources Business Partner, City of Memphis

Bridgette Wilder, Senior Manager - Human Resources Business Partner, City of Memphis

The war for talent is intense. Organizations are competing for the same select talent pool which means that they must constantly assess how to quickly identify, hire and retain talent. This in turn has led organizations to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) with their talent strategy to meet their business needs.

What started off as an introduction of AI to evolve talent management processes, has now revolutionized talent management by switching the focus from digitizing a tactical process to a digital talent strategy that marries data analytics, business needs and technology. Through this marriage, predictive analytics and algorithms become the foundation for driving talent strategies that boost organizational performance and productivity.

To illustrate the impact of AI on talent management, consider the following examples from the various talent management phases:

• Candidate Engagement: AI chatbots and intelligent automation can be used to screen high volume applicant pools and conduct phone screens. The retailer, Hot Topic, has successfully used AI screening to replace their manual screening process which has resulted in 100 percent screening of all received applications and 2000+ unnecessary phone screens have been avoided. ROI: Johnny Sanchez, Head of Recruitment at Hot Topic, reported that “Store Managers have been given up to 30 percent of their day back by using Ideal’s (AI provider) screening technology. By using the chatbot, Hot Topic was able to reach candidates via their preferred method of contact, dramatically increasing response rates and improving the candidate experience.”

"What started off as an introduction of AI to evolve talent management processes, has now revolutionized talent management by switching the focus from digitizing a tactical process to a digital talent strategy"

• Hiring: The reality is that talent management has some aspects of subjectivity. Subjectivity that can lead to bias in employment decisions. Subjectivity that can lead to employment litigation. In walks, AI can be programmed to ignore common bias factors such as gender, race, and disability. It also can provide analytic insights about a candidate’s potential performance and fit for a role based on their skills, experience and alignment with corporate culture. Pymetrics, an AI startup, utilizes a multi-prong process combining brain games and AI to create bias-free algorithms that level the hiring playing field while providing diverse talent that meets business needs for such clients as Unilever, LinkedIn, and Accenture. ROI: Unilever reported that between June 2016 to June 2017, they achieved the following hiring results: “1) Applications to jobs doubled within the first 90 days of their posting year-over-year, to 30,000 applicants from 15,000; 2) they hired their most diverse class; and 3) a “significant” increase in hires of nonwhite applicants and an increase in universities represented, to 2,600 from 840.”

• Talent Upskilling: In 2017, IBM introduced to the market an AI tool called IBM Watson Career Coach that may prove to be a game changer for both organizations and their employees. The AI tool utilizes information about the employee’s current job role, current job performance and their career goals to provide career path recommendations that will help the employee upgrade their skills for improvement or promotion. The Career Coach also provides “career pathing of multiple job role choices that are likely to suit the employee, with ratings for each based on organizational demand and skill fit.” ROI: Through the utilization of cognitive technology (aka a virtual coach), employees have greater engagement in their own professional development and they have a clear roadmap for career advancement. Simultaneously, organizations are creating a skilled workforce through talent upskilling that relates to their business needs. Ultimately, an engaged trained workforce will also result in greater employee retention.

Cleary, AI can and will play an important role in talent management. However, it’s also crucially important to continue to incorporate “HI”—human intelligence. AI is not meant to replace humans; rather it serves as an objective tool that gives humans the data they need to make better decisions, create innovative strategies and resolve complex problems. AI is like the bionic man. Technology made Steve Austin better than he was before. It gave him tools, but it didn’t take away his humanity.

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