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“I see 2020 bringing a wave of new AI products and solutions to the very exciting HR marketplace”
says Trent Cotton, Director of Talent Acquisition for BBVA
How do you think AI has transformed the HR operation of firms? How has it helped in payroll and recruitment processes?
I think it’s still too early to judge the impact AI has on HR Operations, as many are still trying to understand exactly which tools will increase efficiency without sacrificing the employee experience. Since HR is such a high touch organization, there’s a delicate balance. You want to leverage AI tools to automate the more mundane tasks but not human interactions.
In recruiting specifically, I’m seeing several firms using chatbots as an early entry strategy into the AI world. There are firms with AI products to help pre-screen candidates. This seems to be a good use for chatbots as it helps increase recruiter efficiencies.
I see 2020 bringing a wave of new AI products and solutions to the very exciting HR marketplace. It will be interesting to see how companies leverage these products and services to increase efficiencies.
What are the biggest hurdles that firms face while adopting AI for their everyday operations?
The adoption of such tools by HR professionals can be a barrier. There has to be a mindset shift in HR to see AI tools as a way to maximize interactions with managers and employees. As an industry, we need to be open to using tools like AI that can help with the heavy administrative tasks associated with the job. This will allow us to spend more time engaging employees and developing strategies.
How is AI transforming the overall workflow of companies? Which department, according to you, has seen the maximum benefit post-AI implementation?
I believe AI is changing the mindset of companies. In the not too distant past, I’d sit in meetings where we would talk about how to solve a problem with more processes or spreadsheets. Now the first question asked at these meetings is, “What can we automate?” The AI topic has company executives exploring how to streamline processes, so we are better able to focus on the activities that move the needle toward profit enhancing strategies and execution.
Departments focused on operations have the maximum benefit. For instance, in banking, there is a lot of documentation and processing associated with every account opening and loan closing. The company that employs AI and machine learning in these processes will be able to redeploy employees related to such tasks to more profit impactful tasks within the firm. The AI invasion should not be viewed as elimination of HR functions. HR should see the implementation of AI as a way to streamline processes, increase efficiencies, and redeploy its most valuable asset-its employees.
What are the latest developments and trends related to AI adoption in the HR and recruitment industry?
While I can only speak to recruiting in terms of AI adoption, I’ve noticed many of the top Applicant Tracking Systems have an AI component. Whether it’s an automatic ranking of candidates based on preliminary screening questions, an AI function recommending next steps in the recruiting process, or an AI avatar ready to answer common questions asked by candidates, the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) industry is definitely trending toward more and more AI implementation. I think 2020 will bring even more innovation and implementation of AI solutions in the recruiting process to include sourcing and pipeline candidates.
Should startups with limited funds invest in AI for their recruitment, payroll, and other HR activities?
My opinion is an emphatic yes. Startups have to be quick to market while also maintaining efficiencies. If you compare the cost of using a payroll company that can help with many of your standard HR activities and the costs associated with employing a search firm, the investment in an AI solution just makes sense. Also, startups are in a unique position to start their HR journey leveraging AI versus larger organizations that already have significant, complicated, process-laden operations in place.
I think AI can help with a lot of frequently asked questions that come to HR from employees. AI can automate responses to common questions like benefits, payroll changes, and other low-impact HR activities. Startup HR professionals need to be focused on how to help the company grow strategically and do not need to devote their valuable time to such activities.
AI recruiting solutions are also another great source for startups since they are focused on growing with the right talent. There are already solutions to automate scheduling interviews, provide ongoing feedback to candidates, and answer their questions in real-time. This allows the firm’s recruiters to focus more time on converting candidates to hires and less time on the administrative tasks associated with scheduling, on-boarding, etc.
“The AI topic has company executives exploring how to streamline processes, so we are better able to focus on the activities that move the needle toward profit enhancing strategies and execution.”
Trent Cotton, Director of Talent Acquisition for BBVA
Trent Cotton is Director of Talent Acquisition for BBVA where manages talent acquisition strategy leading a talented team of recruiters and consultants and also recruits senior-level executives to the firm. Trent started his career in banking and found his passion for Talent Acquisition, HR, and consulting. In his spare time, he writes for NakedHR.me on topics including leadership, health, productivity and HR.