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Rise of machine learning need not worry HR – Here is why

New Delhi | Published: August 23, 2018 1:03:11 AM

The use of robotics and advanced analytics is maturing in organisations.

robotics, technologyLike all aspects of modern business, ML is changing the way HR department operate.

The use of robotics and advanced analytics is maturing in organisations. New-age technologies such as cloud computing, Big Data, augmented reality, blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence are finding their way into the HR departments of organisations. But the uptake of these new-age technologies has been a little slower in this area. One such technology that is currently making great strides in improving the function of HR is Machine Learning (ML); and the HR department is betting upon this technology to gain traction to make significant impact at their workplaces.

Like all aspects of modern business, ML is changing the way HR department operate. Intelligent bots have started handling and solving the basics of HR functions. These are advanced self-service platforms which can do prediction to an extent and can take over tasks such as scheduling, project development and general communications.
Everyone wants to get rid of the mundane manual work at their end and the solution to do away with these humdrum tasks is the inclusion of machine learning in the HR processes. Analysing trends, predicting patterns to make HR process better is also expected from these bots. Like an astrologer, HR too wants to predict attrition rate in organisations to understand deep human behaviour and what drives people to stay or leave an organisation.

There are many more examples where ML can be used hand in hand with human expertise. Looking slightly forward in the future, robotics, automation and deep learning all are going to become an integral part of the daily HR function. Conventional work would be taken over by machines, and a whole lot of predictive analysis will come into play like solving problems before they occur; get into details, predict patterns, etc. Workflows can be improved, training outcomes will be better understood and hiring trends, sick days and vacation requests can all be optimised through machine learning.

]This potential upside means that automation of support functions is an inevitability, as market forces drive businesses to strive for a greater efficiency. By this, it doesn’t mean that we will replace HR departments with robots, but that automation will severely augment the jobs people will be doing in support functions like HR.

So, what exactly will be the role of an HR in an organisation then? HR will do a whole lot of human work, as resource part of the work would be handled by machines. HR will talk to the employees, will be with them, will chalk out development plans for them, will do succession planning in a real sense, groom them, mentor them, and will develop people in the truest sense.

It is clear that there is still much more development that can be done, and the transformation is happening at an astonishing rate. The human element of HR will never disappear and both HR and machine learning functions will co-exist and do better to humans and organisations. This is going to take some time and involve innovative thinking as well as reassurances that technology is implemented to assist people in their day to day job, rather than replace them.

Kiran Aidhi is vice-president, Human Resources, Virtusa Corp

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