There’s nothing artificial about artificial intelligence (AI) reshaping the landscape—but a robot takeover isn’t on the horizon. Instead, it’s the humans putting AI to work. From improving crop production in agriculture to enhancing patient engagement in healthcare, industries are leveraging AI in ways that benefit humanity.

The same is happening in human resources (HR) management. HR practitioners are using AI to help enhance employee experience in the workplace and improve efficiency of HR processes. What’s more, AI is showing that it can bolster the next evolution of the office of the CHRO—partnering with the C-suite to drive a business strategy that’s more inclusive and holistic.

Transforming HR Functions for the Future of Work

According to “AI IQ: Insights on Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise,” a new Workday survey of 1,000 business decision-makers from around the globe, the top HR-related tasks that are being augmented with AI include recruiting and applicant tracking, business analytics, and skills assessment tools. What’s more, 65% of respondents said their existing AI and machine learning (ML) deployments have improved employee experience, a key business indicator and a purview of HR.

Here’s a further look at what HR leaders stand to gain when they augment the following HR functions with AI.  

Seeing a Holistic View of Workforce Capabilities and Talent Management

HR leaders must have technology that supports how skills are used for the future of work that’s here today: moving away from the rigid idea that work is done through structured job roles and responsibilities, and instead, viewing work as a more fluid compilation of skills to leverage for the changing requirements of the business.  

“As organizations accelerate and scale their skills-based talent strategies, it’s impossible to know and manage the skills of their workforce—now and in the future—manually,” says David Somers, group general manager of products for the office of the CHRO at Workday. “Understanding, let alone matching, workers’ skills to business needs simply isn’t possible without AI and ML tools that help make sense of all the data.”

AI and ML go beyond identifying and mapping out the skills of employees to different projects or roles, which is a typical skills management approach. Instead, technologies augmented with AI and ML help organizations understand how skills relate to one another and how they can evolve to other adjacent skills, which is crucial insight because skills are changing constantly. For example, a worker skilled in Microsoft Excel may also have skills in data analysis, reporting, and other tasks Excel is used for. AI and ML help uncover the depth of skills in the organization and gain the insight needed for skills-based initiatives.

What’s more, AI is showing that it can bolster the next evolution of the office of the CHRO—partnering with the C-suite to drive a business strategy that’s more inclusive and holistic.

Understanding and Improving Workplace Culture and Employee Engagement

Once solely an HR department priority, employee engagement has become a C-suite priority, fueling many business drivers from productivity to innovation and more. Company leaders want to understand how their employees perceive their employer and how they can take advantage of the insights they glean; HR leaders, in turn, are taking those insights to the C-suite and using them to create a more engaging workplace. 

The predictive qualities of AI are helping companies gain greater insight into one of the challenging aspects of employee engagement: understanding which employees may be more apt to quit. HR leaders can use those insights to take prescriptive actions to help mitigate the risk of employee burnout and attrition.

Somers shares an example of how natural language processing, an ML technology, can help leaders understand employee sentiment. He explains that organizations are using Workday Peakon Employee Voice, an intelligent listening platform, to help understand and determine attrition risk. It has an attrition prediction feature that leverages AI and ML and uses a statistical model trained on the leaving behavior across millions of survey data points in the database.

According to Somers: “The model calculates attrition risk per employee based on their responses and scores over a period. It then uses employee-level attrition risk to calculate the average attrition risk for each segment, as well as for the whole company. It also compares the average risk of each segment to the average risk of the company to assign an attrition risk level—for example, it could reveal that the attrition risk in the marketing segment is in the top 10% of your organization.”

These insights can guide companies on how to improve employee engagement, such as increasing wellbeing benefits or assessing workloads.

“Ultimately, it’s important to keep humans at the center so they are the final decision-makers. With a human-in-the-center approach, AI and ML can help make people more productive and better informed—enabling them to solve problems they didn’t think they could solve before.”

David SomersGroup General Manager of Products for the Office of the CHROWorkday

For more insights, strategies, and best practices for IT leaders, visit Workday’s CIO Insights.