HR leaders have long played a crucial role in the organization’s value chain. And as generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools become integrated into various products and solutions, HR execs are increasingly at the forefront, as this tech is already influencing jobs. Companies are in the heat of evaluating new AI use cases and analyzing the need for refreshed skills, and, as AI becomes incorporated into the organization, HR leaders have unique insight into positioning employees for success—which ultimately can deliver benefits to the entire company.
Here are four opportunities for HR to lead as organizations come to rely on AI:
Build a relationship between humans and artificial intelligence
Jaymin Kim, senior vice president of emerging technology at Marsh, referred to 2023 as the “year of generative AI” during a recent webinar hosted by Mercer. Generative artificial intelligence, such as that used in ChatGPT, is a subset of traditional AI that can create content rather than merely classify it.
Often, this content seems so natural that “some have wondered if a human is sitting behind it,” Kim says. Of course, there isn’t a person in the machine, but there is a person reading the output. This remains the most crucial element—and where HR can be particularly influential.
In the webinar, Jason Averbook, senior partner at Mercer | Leapgen, shared that HR leaders should exercise “human managerial oversight” when utilizing generative AI. This approach allows HR to be creative and reimagine how technology can enhance their processes, rather than regurgitating possibly flawed outcomes without discretion.
When implementing generative AI, Averbook says that employees should feel as “human” at work as they do at home. This means that people should have the sense that new technology is empowering; however, many companies are struggling to establish a relationship between humans and AI.
HR leaders can contribute organization-wide by identifying disconnects in the human-AI relationship, proposing solutions and determining how successful outcomes will be measured. Averbook says that keeping “humans in the loop” is central to the deployment of tools that free up employee time.
Experiment with new tech and generative AI tools
Averbook suggests HR can lead when it comes to leveraging generative and traditional AI tools to reduce employees’ time searching for information, which can absorb 30%-50% of their workday. He emphasizes that humans have more to offer at work, and an effective digital strategy can allow employees to focus on more valuable and creative endeavors.
Averbook encourages HR leaders to ask their teams to experiment with publicly available tools and apply them to specific tasks, like generating job descriptions. Then, personally edit the results to align them with the company’s culture and requirements, in order to identify areas where human influence is necessary. Apply the insights gained from this experimentation to company-wide training, guidelines and decision-making.
In addition to focusing on employee-facing tools, HR leaders should take a holistic approach to the tech stack as part of a digital strategy, which, he says, can lead to potential cost savings. Evaluate all tech-driven solutions within the organization, such as employee portals and learning centers.
Stay mindful of the enhancements current vendors provide and actively promote the adoption of updated tools. Look for redundancy in tools that present crossover or lack of use and continue to check in on developments from vendors. In the fast-paced space of generative AI, new features are constantly being rolled out to users.
Build digital strategy governance for generative AI
HR stakeholders can be key partners with tech and C-suite leaders when it comes to AI governance and policy creation, says Kim. Take action now to build a strong foundation for your organization’s future with generative AI, she says.
Employers can’t avoid liability based on current and emerging regulations, even if a third-party tool has been engaged, so now is the time to build policies around roles and standards. To maintain human judgment in machine-generated outcomes, HR teams should establish guidelines for using publicly available tools at work. These should be treated as cautiously as sensitive information shared with real people.
HR leaders must also educate colleagues about appropriate actions if an AI model generates concerning content.
Now is the time to clean up data
The increasing reliance on AI can be an opportunity for HR teams to build data fitness—a key goal, as quality of the information sets that generative AI interacts with shapes its performance. For publicly available tools, this is the internet, but when using enterprise solutions, HR leaders can tap into their teams’ expertise.
Ensure that generative AI tools pull data from relevant and up-to-date policies and records specific to the organization. If documentation lacks accuracy or completeness, identify the individuals within the organization best suited to address the issue, suggests Kim.
How HR embraces these opportunities now, the experts said, will impact company-wide adoption and provide lasting influence that hopefully saves time, money and headaches.
For more HR considerations as you lead AI implementation throughout the organization, explore Human Resource Executive‘s roundup, featuring insight from experts in the field.
Hear from Jason Averbook and his Mercer | Leapgen colleague Jess Von Bank at HR Technology Conference 2023. They’ll be talking about thriving in a digital world. Get your tickets now.