A Quarterly Newsletter from AVTAR - October 2017
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ďBack to The Future: The Intersection of HR & AIĒ

By Mr. Srini Ramaswami, Inclusion & Collaboration Leader - India & APJC, Cisco

Earlier this year when Google acquired the 4 month old artificial intelligence and machine learning startup Halli Labs, the news spread like wildfire with a feverish excitement.

This wasnít a first though, India has been slowly waking up to the growing role of AI in the past couple of years. The internet is awash with content that predicts the end of human labor, with theories of machines replacing humans at every turn. Before we get into that, hereís something important.

AI 101: Understanding Artificial Intelligence

Itís important to understand AI and ML (machine learning) to understand its implications.

Popular culture has painted a picture of androids and images of robots replacing humans, and itís pretty misleading.

The advent of AI is far more invisible - picture your product recommendations on Amazon and people recommendations on social networks, and how Google Maps predicts the shortest route to take while driving - thatís the reality of how AI has crept into our lives.

How Could AI Revolutionize HR as We Know It?

1. Eliminating Bias and Recruiting Smarter

Imagine a highly diverse, sensitized and inclusive workplace. Thatís the future.

Recruitment processes are rife with human biases, and itís pointless to pretend otherwise. Factors like gender, sexuality, ancestry and socioeconomic background influence hiring and promotions, often negatively. Palantir got into trouble earlier this year for systematically rejecting Asian American candidates.

AI tools are straightforward and screen candidates based on hard data and performance metrics. This helps remove unconscious biases and fatigue induced errors. In fact, Unilever incorporated AI into its recruitment plan earlier this year, with stunning results.

2. Efficient Internal Performance Management

Remote working is the new norm, and itís here to stay. Flexible working options are essential, but how can you oversee and groom a fragmented team spread across geographies? Thankfully, AI is the answer.

AI tools allow personalization, helping you track KPIs and relevant metrics for each employee and deliver training and resources accurately. Thatís like having a dedicated coach for everyone in your organization regardless of where theyíre working from. AI chat-bots can instantly answer common queries that employees have, just like Siri does with your daily tasks. Thatís closer to reality now.

AI also removes unconscious biases like the recency effect and contrast effect from the performance assessment process.

3. Gamification for Engagement & Retention

Back in 2013, Walmart used gamification to effectively provide safety training for all employees, while PwC has since launched Multipoly, a game that tested the skills of applicants and presented real-world business problems for them to solve.

Qualcommís internal Q&A process allows upvoting for answers and rewards employees with points and badges for their inputs on queries, increasing engagement internally and making collaboration fun. AI powered assistants like Engazify answer questions, collect real-time feedback, manage employee onboarding and documentation, and increase efficiency by 200%.

This is just a taste of the unlimited possibilities that introducing AI can open up. Which leads to a bigger question - how do we bridge the emotional gap that AI might create? Thatís a story for another day.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal and may not reflect those of his organisation.

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