HR Tech Conference 2017: What’s Next in AI for Human Resources?

Human Resources and AILast week, the CompareHRIS team attended the annual HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas. As the go-to conference for all things tech in the HR space, this conference gives attendees the inside track on what’s coming next for recruiting, employee engagement, performance management, and core HR software (and more).

The major topic of discussion in Vegas last week was AI/machine learning. We heard about intelligent analysis and data predictions in the form of predictive analytics, performance management tools, chat bots, emotional intelligence, and more.

We’ll give more details in the coming weeks, but for now, let’s take a high-level look at the big trends in this field.

Who’s Using AI for Human Resources?

You couldn’t walk down the hall at the HR Tech Conference this year without hearing buzz about AI. Just about every session we attended touched on the concept and its ramifications for the HR space. The expo floor was filled with companies touting new product developments, like this chat bot example we saw in the Digital Disruption mega session on Thursday:

Vendors like Ultimate Software have already begun building AI capabilities into their software platforms, and the startup corner showcased new companies honing in on specific applications and functions. Here are a few highlights from the expo floor:

Ultimate SoftwareUltimate Software unveiled their highly anticipated AI technology innovation, Xander. Xander uses natural language processing, sentiment analysis, and data to analyze employee feedback, make predictions, and recommend actions that will support both employees and managers.

HireVueHireVue has created an intelligent video scoring product that assesses job candidate video interviews using an AI algorithm. The technology looks for behavioral cues like eye contact and facial expressions to assess candidate fit for a position or culture.

Entelo EnvoyEntelo Envoy screens candidate databases for matches using data and predictive analytics. It uses machine learning to perform unbiased searches designed to identify not only which candidates qualify for your position, but also which ones are most likely to be interested in the job.

Are You Ready for AI in Your Workforce?

Plenty of other software developers are jumping on the AI train as well, giving companies a lot of options for expanding their current capabilities. However, not every company is ready to capitalize on new software. Here are three things you’ll need to have in place before AI can truly make a difference for you:

  • Data—You must have a good data foundation in place before you can leverage AI. That means fully integrated data storage, clean data records, and strong data entry processes. For example, do you enter the same piece of data in more than one place? Do you have duplicate records? If not, how can you improve the integrity of your data to prepare for new technology?
  • Culture—Technology is moving at an overwhelmingly fast pace, and employees aren’t keeping up. It’s time to move past discussions of technology adoption and focus instead on integrating technology into employee workflows strategically so that it becomes second nature.
  • Reskilling—Advancements in automation often mean skill shifts in the workforce. If you automate data analysis, how can you retrain the employees who currently perform those tasks to use their skills in more effective ways? Reskilling requires a fresh look at your learning management and training programs, with a shift toward adaptation and flexibility rather than simply training for a specific task.

As Leapgen CEO Jason Averbook reminded us in Bill Kutik’s session, placing a new layer of technology on top of a flawed foundation is like putting frosting on a moldy cake. Before you buy the frosting, take a good, hard look at the cake so you can savor the final result.

What’s Coming Next?

Artificial intelligence for HR is admittedly still in its early stages. Josh Bersin predicts that we will soon see significant advances in AI for many HR applications including personalized coaching, performance management, data interpretation/predictive analytics, employee services, recruiting, learning management, and more.

It’s a brave new world out there. AI is already extremely relevant to HR. And soon it will be indispensable.

Are you ready?

When you’re ready to update your HR software, we make it easy for you! Our HRIS Comparison Tool matches your company with the right software product based on your specifications.

Published by Susan McClure

Susan McClure is our resident content editor at She writes about the search, selection, and implementation of HR technology. When she isn’t writing, you might find her researching trends in social media and online marketing, browsing shelves at the library, or digging in the garden with her family and fur kids.

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