FOR HR FOLKS: SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT – AN ALTERNATIVE MEANING FOR “AI” – ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS – ITS EASIER TO WRAP YOUR HEAD AROUND IT.

For HR professionals, HR technologists and HRMS and related systems vendors, the “buzz” about AI (artificial intelligence) is recognized for what it is – an impactful, latest use of advanced technology that will continue to influence, and has already impacted the way work gets accomplished in many industry verticals. For example, much has been written about the incredible results of using AI in Healthcare. Articles and essay from medical professionals rave about the use of, speed of, machine learning within AI to identify early signs or abnormalities, by examining thousands of data points (medical histories, genetic markers, blood chemistry, images etc.) that can result in an accurate early diagnosis.  That alone can and has, and will continue to save lives.   We all get that AI will continue to evolve, and with it society benefits in many already proven amazing ways.   However, for the HR professionals AI can be a two edged sword.  It can result in extremely effective and efficient executions of work tasks – and at the same time – be something that threatens the existence of many of the functions, responsibilities and work outcomes currently within the realm of HR’s oversight.   So, without focusing on that particular concern, lets consider this slightly different take on the term AI – a kind of step back and having a more current and achievable task based mindset perhaps.   ‘’AI “ can also mean “ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS”.   Consider this question; what is the most important role of today’s HR Professionals?   Arguably,  a most reasonable response would be to help frame any organization’s strategies in attracting, engaging and thus retaining an effective high performing workforce.   HR people are aware of the many published posts, magazine articles, white papers etc. covering the workplace and workforce about the latest trends and facts regarding the overall impact and benefits of Artificial Intelligence in all manners and forms on society and on work output. In many instances, some experts surmise that some jobs – including aspects of HR functions might certainly lessen, if not disappear completely.   In functions outside of HR this proposition does have credence in the more operational activities where a combination of ROBOTICS and AI will indeed replace job functions that do not require human emotions such as empathy, logic, reasoning etc.   To alter the perception that AI might lead to HR’s obsolescence, or at least threaten the classical roles within HR’s realm and lessen the now prevailing concept that indeed HR deserves the preverbal “seat at the table” – HR executives must leverage what is now being provided by top tier HRMS solutions (seizing on the momentum- and publicity, and even fear of “not having” – by offering “AI – like” out of the box / “as delivered” functionality and reporting), usually called “workforce analytics”.   Taking advantage of a well thought out and executed delivered functionality HR executives can step back from the traditional definition of AI – (if one exists – but that is another matter) and instead use the power of HRMS to generate supportive output underlying the presentation of a different kind of AI – that of an “Actionable Insight”.  This particular view of AI can more easily be accomplished – as the better HRT vendors already are utilizing models, forecasting tools, regression analysis and algorithms to generate meaningful information.  Information that is derived from the “data” points maintained in their underlying and foundation data base.   Another catch phrase here, and one more easily to comprehend and even to sell internally to (internal) skeptics – is the commitment for HR to move FROM – “DATA MANAGEMENT “  TO “INFORMATION CRAFTSMANSHIP”.   The goal is to provide to senior executives something to think about.  Data altered into “information” that is itself provides actionable insights – ie. ‘AI” of a simpler and more meaningful kind – that of valuable insights in support of over arching strategies leading to programs and specific actions.   I suggest a renewed interest in providing a series of KPIs – not specifically stand alone metrics. KPI differ from metrics in that KPI show effectiveness and align directly to organizations’ strategies. Metrics, while important, do not necessarily show effectiveness, but they remain an easily accomplished first step towards illustrating the power of insights – provided by the HR function itself.   Here is a list of important and strategically based KPI’s (thanks to Erik van Vulpen, in his LinkedIn post of March 2019  (extracted and summarized).   All of which can support a variety of Actionable Insights– when produced and internally marketed successfully by HR executives.   Absence rate: calculated by dividing the number of...