HR Tech: Can AI fix one of HR’s biggest problems?

There’s a huge crisis facing HR, says Jason Seiden, chief marketing officer at software firm Moovila: 96% of HR managers don’t know how to manage a project.

“The tool I hear about more than anything else that companies use to manage even the most complex projects is a Gantt chart [a bar chart that illustrates a project schedule],” he said Friday during HRE’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition, held virtually. “The problem is that the Gantt chart is over 100 years old. These companies are trying to solve problems of 2020 sophistication and complexity with a tool from 1912, when the world looked a lot different.”

Most organizations, he said, use spreadsheets to manage projects. “I defy anybody to look at a spreadsheet and tell me if a.) there’s a problem; and b.) if there’s a problem, what to do about it.”

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If there is a problem, Seiden said, management typically asks employees to summarize the risk with a red, yellow or green dot. Adding to that complication: Managers often look at the employees evaluating the problem to see whom they can trust.

“We have a process that we’re ignoring; we have people who are relying on intelligence to evaluate their work and give us their impressions of what they think, which we then second-guess,” Seiden said. “And it gets worse: There are fewer than 1 million people in the world that have the certification to be able to look at one of those spreadsheets and build it and read it in a way that lets them actually, objectively know that yellow, red or green answer.”

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So, now what?

Technology and AI-project-management tools can help. Moovila, for instance, launched Carmen, an AI-project-management analyst and coaching tool that scores projects and finds and fixes problems.

“We’re talking about allowing individuals who don’t have that project management expertise to operate more like project managers and allowing the experts that we have in our organization to go to the next level and bring the sophistication they have to bear in a much more meaningful way.”

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That kind of technology can also find hidden, preventable risks in your organization “before they explode on you,” Seiden said. “You can deal with them because you have a way to objectively measure your projects. When you hit on something that doesn’t work objectively, you know that’s where you need to go look.”

Similar to a tool like TurboTax, which allows organizations to file taxes without having the expertise of CPAs on staff, tech tools are available to help HR manage projects.

“Once the technology evolves, you can’t do it the old way anymore,” Seiden said. “It’s obsolete.”

The HR Tech Conference features free, virtual content through Oct. 30. There is still time to register. For more information, click HERE.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.