The steady advance of AI is fundamentally changing how organizations approach and go about their business, with HR positioned to play an increasingly important role in developing new approaches to work.
Already, generative AI is being used by a range of businesses even though many lack the skills and knowledge they need to maximize benefits while minimizing risks, according to the research firm McLean & Company.
In a new research report, Harness the Potential of Generative AI in HR, McLean said employers can leverage new technology, even as it evolves. In the midst of that process, HR has a “key opportunity” to help evaluate and implement generative AI throughout the company, McLean said.
“HR plays a crucial role in supporting the entire organization in understanding the far-reaching impacts of generative AI and helping employees adapt to the disruption,” said Will Howard, the company’s director of HR Research and Advisory Services.
AI and Your Employees
The relationship between generative AI tools and employees is mutually beneficial, McLean said. Generative AI tools can improve efficiency and accelerate innovation by automating routine day-to-day tasks, but employee input is critical for validating and improving the technology’s output.
Culture is also an important factor. Specifically, a culture of trust and support is necessary, with employees being unafraid to try new ideas. Employees with that mindset, McClean said, are nearly five times as likely to be engaged than those who tread too carefully.
When implementing generative AI, McLean recommends following these processes:
- Define Use Cases in HR: Identify key stakeholders and a project team, evaluate organizational and HR strategy to inform the project’s purpose and guiding principles, and complete a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to understand how generative AI applies to HR practices. Gather feedback from employees, prioritize HR capabilities and determine the application of generative AI use cases.
- Pilot and Launch Use Cases: To support the creation of guidelines for generative AI use in HR, employers should pilot the generative AI use case in HR before implementation and identify the skills, knowledge and behaviors needed to optimize the technology.
- Support the Implementation: Develop a policy on acceptable uses of generative AI, conducting a risk assessment of use cases and encourage employees to use generative AI in their roles. HR leaders should anticipate and prepare for future needs in their workforce planning.
Transparency is the cornerstone of a successful evaluation of generative AI, McLean noted. Being open about its potential uses, benefits and drawbacks will increase employee trust. “There is a lot of anxiety among employees about the impact of generative AI on job security,” explains Howard. “Engaging employees early and often is crucial to reduce uncertainty.”