AI is the future, and its introduction is the beginning of the end (of the way we’ve been doing things for the last several decades, at least.) And when wielded by HR leaders, AI-powered tools can streamline HR processes, enhance employee engagement, and assist in key business decision making.
If you’re like us, conversations about AI have become virtually unavoidable. Unsolicited, some friends –– and even total strangers –– will insist that AI is the future, while others warn that its arrival “is the beginning of the end.” So, which is it? Well, the truth is: both schools of thought are right. AI is the future, and its introduction is the beginning of the end (of the way we’ve been doing things for the last several decades, at least.) AI can be the cure to what ails us, the secret to doing more with the same 24 hours and revolutionizing entire industries in the process. But bet it all on AI and you run the risk of sacrificing some of your humanity along the way. This is to say AI is not without its pitfalls, but when used responsibly, this new tech can end up being the missing piece of the puzzle.
Kai-Fu Lee, author of AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, said your job is more likely to be lost to “someone who knows how to use AI long before it's replaced by AI itself.” We’re inclined to agree! See, while AI’s detractors have bemoaned its ability to steal our jobs and devalue certain technical skills, those actually using AI understand that it’s a tool to be wielded –– not the carpenter themselves. And when wielded by HR leaders, AI-powered tools can streamline HR processes, enhance employee engagement, and assist in key business decision making.
A Gartner poll of HR leaders indicates that “HR support is likely the use case for ChatGPT, but many are still unsure.” But much like the widespread rise of Big Data and the Internet in the early 2000s, technological advancements are bound to happen –– and happen fast. A recent article from McKinsey & Company stated that “CEOs should consider the exploration of generative AI a must, not a maybe.” The article continues to assert that generative AI can “create value in a wide range of use cases,” largely due to the lack of prohibitive economic and technical requirements. Finally, a warning: The upsides are near infinite, but “the downside of inaction could quickly be falling behind competitors.”
With that said, we understand that change can be scary, and implementing new technology can be a massive undertaking. But as business leaders, it is our responsibility to ready ourselves, our companies, and our teams for these inevitable shifts. And despite all the unknowns, it’s more than worth it for HR leaders to embrace AI tools (like ChatGPT) and understand how to best wield them. As an industry, we’re constantly talking about innovation, and the arrival of AI presents an opportunity for HR leaders to put theory into practice –– leading transformation in our organizations rather than lagging behind the curve. We’ve yet to find HR tools or tech that saves us time on the back end. But AI might just be the high-impact people team resource we need to help us operate more efficiently, effectively, and productively.
Of course, you’ve got to walk before you can run, and the first step in embracing this technology is understanding it. TroopHR members are already focusing on these efforts, including Amanda Halle –– founder of Mindful Growth Partners –– who states that “the most crucial step for HR and people leaders in their AI journey is to build foundational knowledge of what AI (and specifically generative AI) can accomplish.” In her eyes, without this knowledge, it’s near impossible to have “the right conversations around AI,” leading AI initiatives to falter. In an effort to help leaders develop this foundational understanding, we at TroopHR have assembled a resource guide for HR pros to level up their AI knowledge (more on that later.) In the meantime, we’ve outlined some key ways AI tools, like ChatGPT, fit into the HR leader’s toolbox –– and what HR’s AI-powered future might look like –– below.
Google, Bing, and other tech titans have since thrown their hats in the AI ring, but it was ChatGPT that first demonstrated exactly what AI was capable of and ignited the conversation around AI at large. As the fastest-growing app of all time, millions of people have put ChatGPT to work, using it for everything from travel itineraries to creative odd-ingredient recipes to full-blown content marketing strategies. So the question might not be, “How can I use AI?” but rather, “How can’t I use AI?”. For HR leaders, below are just a few of AI’s many use cases.
Once employees have been onboarded, you can leverage ChatGPT to gauge the effectiveness of your onboarding. Here’s a prompt to try, which you can find (along with 90+ others) in the TroopHR AI Guide:
“Generate a set of 30-, 60-, and 90-day check-in questions that can be used to evaluate the success and effectiveness of our current onboarding process, ensuring that questions are designed to gather actionable feedback for continuous improvement. Consider categories such as understanding of role and responsibilities, cultural fit, training effectiveness, and overall satisfaction with the onboarding experience.”
These use cases demonstrate just a few of the ways that AI can empower HR leaders. And as the capability of this technology continues to expand, we can expect the use case possibilities to become virtually endless.
We’ve explained the ways that, at its best, AI can be a powerful tool for HR leaders. But one common roadblock users in all industries tend to encounter is a notable lack of humanity; an emphasis on the “artificial” in “artificial intelligence.” And while AI is learning more and more from us each day, it’s still got a long way to go. So, how do we humanize some of these outputs? For right now, at least, we must humanize our inputs.
Let’s start by giving ChatGPT a simple prompt: What interview questions should I ask a web developer? Its answer ends up being good enough, with ChatGPT spitting out a complete list of questions surrounding technical skills, knowledge of common programming languages, and tests of problem-solving abilities. But its response is limited by the lack of context in our prompt. How can we get better responses? According to ChatGPT itself, “by providing more context and specifying the areas and skills [we’re] interested in assessing.” Let’s try that.
What interview questions should I ask a mid-career full-stack web developer applying for a position at a regional hospital chain?
From here, we can continue cycling through increasingly specific prompts until we arrive at question sets we’d feel comfortable putting into practice. Eventually, as we learn how to better work with ChatGPT (and it learns how to better work with us), this potentially time-consuming input process can be greatly abbreviated and our outputs can be spot on.
By now, we’ve established that, in the world of HR, there are a lot of things AI can do. But just because it can doesn’t necessarily mean that it should. We know what you may be thinking: First they say I’m supposed to be using AI, and now they’re saying I shouldn’t? Well, not exactly. The way we see it, there’s a fine line between embracing this technology, using it as a lever in our day-to-day duties, and relying on it for everything –– removing humanity from the equation. In the aforementioned Gartner poll, lack of personal interaction and guidance were cited as top concerns regarding AI in organizations, underscoring the importance of a human touch when working with artificial intelligence.
So what potential pitfalls should we watch out for as we integrate AI into our organizations? Troop member Alicia Henríquez, Head of People at Liveblocks, offered some insights from her own experience. With our AI use cases listed above, here’s what to consider to avoid AI misuse:
Google recently announced that their all-new ChatGPT fighter, Bard, would be available to the masses. With this release came extensions to Bard’s capability, establishing it as the AI frontrunner to some in-the-know users. For everyone else, here’s a brief comparison of ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.
If you’ve spent any time lobbing questions at ChatGPT, you’ll recognize that this platform seems to mimic human language to create (mostly) natural conversations. Sure, it misses the mark from time to time, but we’ve admittedly had conversations with real people that felt less human. Bard, too, functions as a natural language chatbot, learning from user inputs and becoming more human in the process. Where it differs, however, in its connectedness to the Internet. This means Bard has access to a greater database of knowledge and more relevant reference material –– and its knowledge doesn’t end at the year 2021, as is the case with ChatGPT. With that said, ChatGPT creator OpenAI announced that Plus users of the platform are getting an Internet connection (for $20/month) –– but, for the time being, Bard is still the best budget bet.
One of the biggest takeaways from Google’s May 10th announcement is the wide range of plugins and integrations that it will support. These include things like Indeed and Adobe Firefly (for AI-generated imagery), but also Google’s own suite of products. With Google Bard, you can export results from Bard directly into an email or a Google Doc –– or just ask Bard to write you a response directly in Gmail. While ChatGPT does have plugins of its own, these are currently limited to paying users, whereas Bard’s advanced features are available to everyone (with a Google account, that is.)
Google’s Bard has already shown heaps of promise, but as evidenced by factual inaccuracies made during its initial launch, it still has some room to grow. And, in fairness, it appears to have already grown quite a bit in the months between this launch and Google’s recent announcement. Likewise, it’s taken some time for ChatGPT to earn the trust of users, and the kinks still aren’t entirely worked out, but it’s a good thing that Bard and ChatGPT are still stumbling –– because it means we quickly learn how to make them better. So while some might be quick to judge AI’s shortcomings as a sign that the experiment as a whole has failed, we see them more as opportunities for groundbreaking advancements in uncharted territory.
ChatGPT and Google Bard are the tip (of the tip) of the iceberg when it comes to recent advancements in AI, and there are countless other AI-powered tools hitting the market –– many of which aim to directly make the lives of HR professionals easier. Things like TalentGPT and PeopleGPT have proven to be valuable AI recruiting tools, and Scribe has emerged as a game-changer when it comes to company-wide process documentation, just to name a few. For information on these AI tools and many more, check out our full list in the TroopHR AI guide.
It’s impossible to imagine what the future may hold for AI, but as HR leaders, it feels as though we’re living the future with each new advancement. Google Bard and ChatGPT are changing by the day, becoming more capable with each query. And applications like AutoGPT have emerged with the intent of making our jobs easier while empowering us to be more effective in our roles. This advent does so by incorporating an “autonomous agent”: a sort of AI-for-hire that can assist with candidate screening, performance analysis, and even employee development. These autonomous agents are especially useful for smaller teams who can benefit from an extra set of “hands,” but maybe can’t afford to bring on an extra full-time employee. Right now, AutoGPT is about the farthest thing from user-friendly. But who knows? This is AI, meaning that could change as soon as tomorrow.
If we were predicting the future, we’d see one where AI is integrated into the fabric of a company’s operations. And while I’m not entirely sure what this looks like yet –– not even the brains behind AI are positive (but granola.so might have an idea) –– there is definitely a world where all company meetings, interactions, planning sessions, roadmapping, goal setting, and forecasting are somehow made better with the assistance of AI.
We’ve mentioned AI’s many critics throughout this article –– and trust us, it’s got a few –– but criticism from one New York Times reader stood out. Bruce R. Birmingham, in a letter to the editor of the Times, posited, “In 10 years’ time, ChatGPT will have gone the way of the waterbed store.”
If that waterbed reference seems dated, it’s because it is, and that quote was actually about AOL in 1996. The point we’re trying to make using this obscure comment about the Internet’s salad days is that we can always count on new technology to draw criticism and skepticism. And, in small quantities, that’s healthy! But even the HR leaders reading this who may be maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism should consider that AI is low-hanging fruit in terms of accessing game-changing, future-shaping tech. And if you weren’t quite on board (or alive) for AOL’s grand debut, AI is your chance to get in on the ground floor.
By all means: doubt it, question it, and keep your eye on it. But as this industry continues to move at a lightning pace, the very least we can do is keep up with it. Ideally, of course, we want to stay ahead of this wave –– because it has massive potential to be instrumental in our field’s future. To help HR leaders not just keep up but stay ahead, here’s what we’ve got cooking for the TroopHR community:
And if you’re not a Troop member yet but are interested in helping shape the future of HR, learn more here.