HR Tech Conference Guide to AI

HR Conference Guide to AI

If you were at HR Tech this past week, you probably noticed that AI was the topic that dominated most conversations. If you missed it this year, you might be surprised that the topic is of so much interest that there was an entire track dedicated to AI titled “AI in HR”.

After speaking with countless partners, customers and analysts, we wanted break through the hyperbole and summarize the key steps companies can take to successfully implement AI for HR.

Step 1 - Have a very clear goal.

This was the biggest piece of advice from companies that have already adopted artificial intelligence into the workplace, but also stands true for any new & emerging HR technology. Decide early on if you’re shifting towards the company you want to be in the future or streamlining the company you are today. Jeanne Meister, a founding partner at FutureWorkplace, suggests finding out where you are on the maturity model before moving forward.

This was the biggest piece of advice from companies that have already adopted artificial intelligence into the workplace, but also stands true for any new & emerging HR technology. Decide early on if you’re shifting towards the company you want to be in the future or streamlining the company you are today. Jeanne Meister, a founding partner at FutureWorkplace, suggests finding out where you are on the maturity model before moving forward.

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Take a step back, think big picture and ask yourself critical questions like what processes could be enhanced, if there are any specific problems you’re trying to solve and ultimately if your organization is truly ready for AI. Increased response time, personalized candidate experience, driving overall efficiency, saving time for recruiters, delivering a great experience for hiring managers - while adopting AI can accomplish all of these, it’s important to prioritize based on your company’s needs in order to select the right vendor.

Step 2 - Prepare your team.

AI has already been embraced, sometimes unknowingly, in most people’s personal lives - Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, the list goes on. But things get a bit tense when it enters the workplace and seemingly threatens jobs.

Angie College, Senior VP of Operations at Adecco USA, shared that when they initially introduced AI some offices resisted and attempted to find workarounds. How did she overcome this hurdle? Transparency - around the desired result of implementing AI for recruiting and how it would impact roles. This, along with sharing stories about how AI benefitted the recruiters that embraced the new technology created a shift in perspective from skepticism to curiosity. And once the team was fully on board, the results spoke for themselves

Communicate how incorporating new HR tech into your recruiting process, or other HR functions, can give your company a competitive edge. In a session with HR analyst John Sumser, it was said that thinking outside the box when hiring was the only way to find and hire quality candidates in the current talent shortage. Make the benefits clear, maintain honesty and transparency around the new technology, and outline the upcoming changes in the current workflow for a seamless adoption.

For some teams that see the advantages of leveraging AI, the initial discovery was bottom up and served as an opportunity for career advancement to introduce innovative HR tech that could completely transform a business.

Step 3 - Do your research.

According to a survey by the McKinsey Global Institute, 41% of business executives admit they have not implemented AI because they are not exactly sure what AI can do for them, how it can help their organization, how to integrate it, or how to assess the return on investment. With everyone claiming to offer AI-powered solutions, it can be easy to get lost in the noise. And adopting AI for HR is not a small decision, typically requiring multiple stakeholders and a lengthy evaluation phase.

Pay attention to any red flags early on in the process - references that don’t relate to your business, poor communication, lacking details about how the technology works, and more. A panel of HR disruptors emphasized getting insight on how the product works, not just what the product delivers. Don’t forget to ask your network! That’s the greatest value of the HR Tech conference to hear all sides: exhibitors showcasing the product, customers revealing their process & results, and other HR professionals in your same situation that can provide insight to help you along your journey.

Step 4 - Choose wisely.

If you do it right, you’re buying a partnership rather than a product. Make sure you’re entering into an evolutionary relationship instead of focusing on one fixed output. Your company’s needs will change so there must be a commitment to grow and adapt together for a successful implementation and ongoing relationship.

While it may sound intimidating to bring in new technology with limited understanding as to how it operates on the back end, selecting a vendor partner you can trust will help ease those concerns. The more products you see, the easier it will be to see through the smoke & mirrors and hone in on what sophisticated, quality AI looks like and why it matters. With a specific goal in mind and plan for the future, you can clearly articulate your expectations down the road and ensure you’ll select the right vendor from day one.

Change isn’t easy, and change management within your organization won’t be either unless you take the appropriate steps. This is only the beginning as intelligent tools continue to emerge to augment the role of HR professionals in the workplace.

This post was originally on LinkedIn.com.