Unlike any time before in the history, technology has permeated the entire organisational process of modern organisations and has
influenced the functional paradigms. The game-changing new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and Internet of Things (IoT) have spared any segment including human resources department where traditionally human interface remained the most powerful tool.
Automation technologies have, in fact, turned key enabling tools for human resources personnel, especially to perform key tasks like interpreting hiring policies and recruiting skilled talent.
HR departments and talent management firms have always faced the daunting challenge of making the right candidate choice and onboarding them for the right job. Conventional HR tasks are characterised by physical documentation and manual processing, making the entire process exhaustive and time-consuming.
It has been largely argued that inculcating AI as a catalyst for hiring would bolster candidate sourcing expertise and streamline HR workflow processes. Hiring challenges would be resolved easily and recruitment procedures would be simplified if company managements automate HR management systems.
Machine Learning and AI can greatly expedite the resume screening process and identify crucial skill gaps of candidates to determine their long-term suitability for a specified job profile. Recruiters are also largely turning positive towards deployment of chatbots for screening of candidates in the initial stages, granting much needed breathing space and time to HR personnel for performing value-added tasks.
It is also anticipated that automated recruitment tools obliterate the bias element, a typical human characteristic, while undertaking a critical assessment of candidate competencies. This will ensure hiring of candidates solely on the basis of merit and talent.
Besides, employee recognition, training processes, personnel orientation and keeping track of employee performance can be highly simplified and executed through a technically-enabled HR system.
However, automated processes and tools cannot fully substitute human interface and engagement while making employee hiring decisions. Machine learning methodologies are broadly formulaic in nature and at most can be useful for mass hiring of personnel with lower skills with an onus on monitoring specific pre-determined parameters. Such processes do not possess the flexibilities of human intellect and are restricted by inherent judgmental flaws while assessing the capabilities of potential candidates.
A completely automated recruitment system can be prone to technical hitches leading to system downtime, causing considerable delays in personnel recruitment and lead to operational snags in business activities.
A key issue that needs to be addressed in an automated HR environment is the enhanced risk of breach of candidate databases. Crucial information in these databases is susceptible to hacking and leakages and organisations have to incur substantial costs in deploying effective safeguards and firewalls to prevent unauthorized access to databases. Like many other key segments, latest technologies should play a supportive and complementary role in HR, especially in a country like India where unemployment is a critical issue.
(The writer is deputy general manager, HR Finolex Industries Ltd)