While most workplaces are not using artificial intelligence (AI), the technology is getting attention and raising some concerns, a recent Top Workplaces survey shows.
Workplaces are bringing human resources technology and AI onboard. While organizations are embracing human resources tech solutions, Top Workplaces research reveals that AI adoption remains relatively low. That said, AI holds immense potential, from streamlining operations to enabling data-driven decision-making and unlocking valuable insights.
In the big picture, AI is the use of computing to perform tasks normally carried out by people. It most often refers to projects that capture information and deliver it in a way that simulates actions, purpose, reasoning, meaning or learning. AI is used in manufacturing (think robots), self-driving cars, health care management financial investing, booking travel, social media monitoring and chatbots.
In human resources, AI can be used for things such as scanning resumes, social listening, data aggregation, background checks, measuring employee satisfaction, optimizing benefit offerings and a host of other uses.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to use AI to make people’s jobs easier or better, so they can concentrate more of their time and efforts on higher-level tasks, or things they just enjoy doing more,” said Kinsey Smith, senior people scientist at Energage.
Energage recently surveyed more than 15,000 employees to get their feedback on HR technology and AI. The survey revealed 1 in 6 employees are concerned about AI impacting their work, especially those who work in advertising and marketing; hospitality, entertainment, recreation and travel; and financial services and insurance.
Furthermore, 1 in 9 employees believe AI may replace their job in the next five years, particularly in utilities and communications; hospitality, entertainment, recreation and travel; and financial services and insurance.
The survey feedback revealed:
• People are both excited and worried about the potential impact of AI.
• Few organizations currently use AI for HR tasks or issues.
• Most organizations have human resources information systems, onboarding and performance management solutions.
• More than 1 in 3 organizations do not have tools for employee listening or employee selection.
• Responders were most satisfied with their employee appreciation and onboarding tools.
• Human resources information systems and recruiting technologies were considered most valuable.
• Common obstacles hindering the value of these tools included integration and set-up effort.
• Senior managers expressed little concern about AI in the workplace, whereas team members showed more concern.
Organizations were most likely to lean on third-party tools for human resources information systems. They used homegrown solutions most often for employee appreciation and performance management.
While the majority have not yet adopted AI technology, responders said talent acquisition was the task they most hoped the technology could assist in the future.
Smith says the best use of AI should be seen as a resource that supplements work, not something that supplants workers. AI can be a springboard for more thoughtful strategies and conversations, for example.
“It’s just a tool,” Smith said, and it’s up to organizations to figure out the best uses, and the wrong uses, of that tool.
There are safeguard considerations, she said. Organizations need to consider how AI interacts with data, from a privacy and legal standpoint, as well as whether it creates security concerns.
Also, is the information it creates fully accurate or truthful? Humans will still need to verify the outcome of the work. AI does not necessarily operate with a level of morality, she said.
“Trying to understand how all of those pieces fit together is interesting,” she said. “It’s something we will have to grapple with as a society. Technology will move us forward, and new jobs also will be created. We will have to be thoughtful about what tasks we want to be taken on.”
Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is the survey partner for Top Workplaces.