Are you ready for artificial intelligence in HR?

It’s coming, whether we like it or not. Look at the topics and exhibitors at any HR conference. It’s coming.

Artificial intelligence has the potential to relieve overburdened HR team from decisions that can be made more easily and more scientifically through decision science.

When you think about filling a job, you are solving an equation. On one side are the requirements of the job. On the other side are the skills, knowledge and traits of the employees who fill or may fill the job. The decision to hire is a gap analysis between the two points – demand and supply.

That’s what technology does to enable more qualified candidates for jobs; matches the need to the supply of candidates. It works in a similar manner to provide employee directed growth and learning opportunities as well.

But, before we can use AI to make strategic decisions we must ensure that the data is accurate. Bad data wastes time and may lead to poor decisions. Technology doesn’t really know the data is bad; it solves for the match you asked it to solve. Now is the time to make sure that future technology has credible, timely and accurate data so that it really can help make good decisions.

The “Job” side of the equation

Take a collective look at the information about jobs that the HR team maintains. By information, I mean the knowledge, skills and abilities that have been defined. Review job descriptions, job postings, competencies used in performance management and learning paths.

By collective look, I mean working together as an HR team to review all of the job data, produced by each team, for each purpose. Ask these questions:

-Do the job requirements match across all HR platforms? If not, should they?

-Do the job requirements actually describe the skills, knowledge and abilities specifically enough, or have the jobs been clustered and combined for simplicity so that they are too generic to really explain the job?”

-Is the data accurate? How do you know, and who is responsible for timely maintenance?

The “Employee” side of the equation

Employee and manager self service takes a huge administrative burden off HR, but places it in the hands of people who don’t understand the consequences of inaccurate and untimely data.

Now is the time to educate those who enter the data on the importance of accuracy, and to implement audit trails to catch and resolve outliers.

Employee and manager self service offers a menu of choices, allowing a data field to be completed with pre-defined data. Are those choices clear and well-defined? Job codes are a key element of matching an employee to a job; are managers too hurried to use the right code?

Termination codes are important to understand retention efforts. Do you offer so many choices that the hurried manager gives up and grabs the first code that seems to fit?

Now is also a great time to make sure that the data codes you use are current, and exactly what you need. If you put 100 codes out there just in case you might need them, that’s 99 possible errors a manager can make.

Conferences and vendors paint a rosy picture of capabilities we haven’t even thought of. Let’s be ready.

“Sex, Lies and Human Resources*”

*Note: Not my title. This is a quoted title of an article on page 240 of the March 2018 edition of Marie Claire. Featured on the front page, no less.

When I first started in HR, no one knew who we were. Heck, we weren’t even HR back then. In 2005, popular business magazine Fast Company brought HR into the spotlight, in a not-so-gracious way, with a cover story stating “Why We Hate HR.” One of the more pithy comments was:

”The human-resources trade long ago proved itself, at best, a necessary evil — and at worst, a dark bureaucratic force that blindly enforces nonsensical rules resists creativity, and impedes constructive change.”

Some may chastise me for a 13-years-old reference, however, ten year later Harvard Business Review again spotlighted all that is wrong with HR, dedicating a whole volume to their perception that “It’s Time To Blow Up HR.” It doesn’t take much time to see that the complaints are pretty similar to those made in Fast Company in 2005. (more…)

How HR Can Change The Game

I am still processing the significant amount of commentary about HR’s role in the recent sexual harassment scandals. I wrote earlier about the demands placed on HR that keep us buried in administrivia so that we don’t have time for important work. I wrote about my own experiences as a woman in a man’s world 40 years ago.

Sometimes it just helps to write my thoughts, so let’s give that a try.

Many of us are trying to figure out why all this hoopla is such a surprise. Too many are surprised.

Now the professional media is exploding with advice for HR, so HR has added fielding #metoo sightings to its workload, and taking yet more heat for allowing predatory sexual behavior. There is even a summit with some pretty big names in the #metoo movement who will meet in New York to brainstorm how HR can more effectively stand up to harassment. (more…)