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How companies are putting people first by merging HR and AI

The CEO of Zeder Group, Sadek El-Assaad, explains how artificial intelligence will help human resources

AI has impacted the workforce by instantaneously pinpointing the most skilled job applicants to move forward for interview.

In the past few decades, the role of human resources has consistently evolved to adapt to the ever-changing needs of companies and fluctuating economies. Today, HR’s role is more vital than ever, at the helm of an organisation’s transformative processes. The emphasis of transformation, however, no longer places all the power on the systemic procedures of a company. Instead, the power is encompassed within its people – as it’s the cultures, beliefs and values of the personnel that revolutionise their companies and even their nations.

How are companies merging the very seemingly impersonal, digital-centric approaches of artificial intelligence to improve HR systems and the overall employee experience?

So far, AI has lessened the burden of administration-heavy HR tasks, such as administering payroll and documenting leave. With the ongoing massive shift towards a more transformational business advisor approach in 2019, new trends are beginning to emerge within the world of HR. No longer a one-size-fits-all solution, companies are fostering a more agile HR through the use of AI and cognitive computing to enhance recruitment procedures, employee engagement, people analytics, performance management, and learning.

A strong organisational culture that focuses on its employees has a big appeal, for executives and employees alike. AI has impacted the workforce by instantaneously pinpointing the most skilled job applicants to move forward for interview. The recruiter can then quickly assess which candidates are most compatible and who best supports the core values and culture of the company.

AI has impacted the workforce by instantaneously pinpointing the most skilled job applicants to move forward for interview.

Sadek El-Assaad is CEO of the Zeder Group. Courtesy Zeder Group

For those already employed, levels of employee engagement are also tracked by AI, helping HR understand the pulse of the workforce and identify the areas affected by improving or declining levels of performance – with people analytics correspondingly assessing managerial performance based on their team’s level of success. With AI and cognitive computing, organisations are further equipped to conduct rapid, unbiased and accurate reports, bringing levels of continuous performance management to a whole new level of efficiency. AI and learning also come into play here, with the ability to provide hands-on trainings. No longer limited to merely studying company handbooks, AI learning develops professional training opportunities with learning objectives enhanced through gamification and real-life scenarios.

With these significant technology and AI trends already in place, 2019 will see more robust uses of AI in terms of performance management and learning. As organisational executives have pushed their companies to become more agile and employee-centric over the years, it is my belief that two new trends will finally emerge this year: leadership of agility and entrepreneurial spirit. With a top-down approach, the roles of HR will shift to become more entrepreneurial, acting as a business advisor and influencer when assisting their leadership teams to take the innovative leaps that new thought and business process require.

This, in turn, presents a challenge. Any change is often met with some resistance, and in today’s more innovative and technology-driven environment, the crucial push to focus more on human capital rather than systemic procedures is easier said than done – particularly for those firmly rooted in longstanding business practices.

AI has impacted the workforce by instantaneously pinpointing the most skilled job applicants to move forward for interview.

Increasingly, companies realise the importance of not only attracting the right talent, but also of keeping it. Business models and services are easy to mimic, but it’s the personnel who truly drive the company and define a company’s internal and external identity. They are the image that reverberates across all aspects of the company and the way it conducts business – a direct reflection of the company’s core values. 

A strong organisational culture keeps a company’s core values front-and-centre in all aspects of its day-to-day operations, with business leaders and HR executives alike getting behind the entrepreneurial mindset in merging AI with HR functions to improve the overall employee experience. The value of doing so is incalculable.

The writer is CEO of the Zeder Group, a leading human resources and management consultancy firm, with offices in Beirut and Dubai

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