Artificial intelligence has made our lives infinitely easier. Smart home devices can turn lights on and off and adjust the thermostat without us having to get off the couch. Cars automatically hit the brakes to avoid crashes and are capable of parking themselves. But intelligent automation isn’t just something that can benefit our personal lives. The ability to automate time-laden, manual tasks and business processes increases employee productivity and frees skilled personnel to focus on more high-value work. One area that can gain tremendous value from intelligent automation is HR. Here’s how.
Identify processes and workflows that could (and should) be automated.
While human resources is, indeed, a prime candidate for intelligent automation, not every process will be appropriate. It’s imperative that business leaders are careful not to try and automate too much, otherwise they risk losing momentum and failing to reap the true benefits of AI technology. This is why the first step in optimizing HR should always involve a careful analysis of processes and workflows to determine which could be made more efficient through intelligent automation.
Map out a strategy.
Again, in order for intelligent automation to be effective, there must be order to its adoption. Prior to implementation, a plan should be mapped out – preferably one that involves a strategic combination of artificial intelligence and human skills. Create a roadmap that covers everything from the initial introduction of AI to the desired end result. Bear in mind that some processes may be better redesigned from scratch as opposed to trying to modify them.
Keep the lines of communication open and ever-flowing.
Like it or not, people naturally fear change. With intelligent automation, this is compounded by the concern over robots taking over human jobs. Yet, in order to successfully roll out automation, you simply must have buy-in from everyone involved. The best way to accomplish this is to quell your staff’s fear through open, honest and ongoing communication. Be sure to drive home the benefits that automation will provide to them (less drudgery, more opportunity to perform engaging, meaningful work, the chance to learn new marketable skills, etc.). Remind them that automation ultimately drives the demand for soft skills, such as creative problem solving and collaboration.
Make sure the C-suite is also onboard.
In addition to constant communication and transparency with employees, it’s equally critical that executives and key decision-makers are also onboard with intelligent automation. Sure, a detailed and measurable implementation strategy is essential, but enacting organizational change takes more than simply carrying out a set of ordered steps. Change management starts at the top and trickles downward. As such, senior leadership must be visible and vocal in its participation and support.
Teach employees the skills they need for success.
We’ve become quite comfortable with automation in our personal lives, but that comfort level doesn’t necessarily translate to the workplace. Don’t just assume your employees possess the skills they need to leverage intelligent automation. For instance, your HR team likely already has the soft skills they need to do their jobs effectively, but they may need guidance in understanding how to interact with automation technology. Be proactive in educating them.
While there are certainly areas of the human resources function that a human touch is still needed, such as discussing sensitive matters with employees, the vast majority of today’s HR processes can easily be automated. In order to do this, however, HR professionals must be willing to adapt and evolve. The five steps listed above should help in this regard.