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Artificial Intelligence and Automation in HR: Pros and Pitfalls

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Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are increasingly cementing themselves as integral to the new age of working.  AI is forecasted to replace over 16% of jobs in the HR and Recruiting industries in the next 10 years.

For this reason, HR departments are looking to streamline their work processes to devote more time to focusing on their employees’ needs and executing high-level strategies for growth and success.

But despite its rise in popularity, only 1 in 4 organizations have been reported to currently use AI or automation to some extent to support their HR processes like talent acquisition, or people analytics, with 1 in 5 set to increase their use of both in the coming years.

By 2025, The World Economic Forum estimates automation will have displaced over 85 million jobs and created 97 million new ones. Hence, organizations must get a head start on their competitors collaborating with their HR departments by integrating automation into their workflows.

How can AI and Automation transform HR and Recruitment?
Increasing operational efficiency by automating daily HR tasks

Using automation on daily tasks that are time-consuming and repetitive allows HR departments to focus on tasks that require more of a human touch or strategic thinking. Automating administrative tasks like time tracking, payroll management, and inputting performance analytics increases operational efficiency across the organization.

This allows HR departments to use their time to brainstorm and develop strategies that can accelerate organizational growth and improve overall business performance. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in daily HR processes can also decrease the chance of human error.

Organizations whose HR departments use automation and AI can easily review employee performance to ascertain low points and quickly build and execute strategies to address these issues, thereby increasing employee productivity and well-being. 85% of organizations report an increase in overall efficiency when using automation or AI.

Aiding in data storage and analysis

HR departments often face the challenge of storing and maintaining large amounts of data in their system. Using automated intelligence tools is a good way to manage large quantities of employee data and can be programmed not only to retrieve specific data points at any time, but provide intelligent insights that can aid in various functions of the HR processesr .

Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions prove useful in analysing the collected data to provide useful employee metrics and insights and highlight them via customizable dashboards. The visual representation and timely insights help department and company leaders to make effective decisions that will impact the overall business performance.

These tools can also enable organizations to monitor key performance indicators like capacity planning, competency mapping, gaps in training and development, productivity levels, employee engagement rates, and attrition rates,#. These metrics are valuable insights into HR department’s performance and hence can provide a clear picture of improvements that can be made.

Using automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate data-driven insights and reports is a cornerstone in future-proofing any organization. These practices will allow better transparency between business leaders and their teams, along with improving the overall employee experience.

Improving the recruiting & onboarding process

66% of HR professionals say that automation and AI has decreased their time to fill vacancies. By integrating automation into the recruitment process, HR departments can save time on posting jobs to job boards, pre-screening applicants, scheduling interviews, data collection, and scaling the hiring process.

This allows recruiters to spend more time connecting with potential hires, analyzing their skills and experience, and communicating their expectations for the role. Cultivating a personal relationship with the shortlisted applicants will improve their overall hiring experience and send a positive message about the company they are applying for.

The onboarding process is a key component of employee retention and performance, and AI can help streamline this process, saving time for both employers and employees. It can do this by aiding in the document verification process, answering employee FAQs, providing information about key company policies and protocols, and giving access to company accounts.

Tailoring learning and development programs

AI can be used to objectively assess an employee’s strengths and weaknesses and recommend custom learning and development programs that are specifically tailored to their needs.

By providing an individualised learning experience to every employee, organizations can avoid wasting time and resources in training that an employee might already have or is not relevant to their line of work.

Improving organizational performance management

An organization’s performance is highly dependent on the strength of its HR department. For this reason, routine tasks like the performance management process can be automated to save operational costs and accelerate bottom line growth.

Automating this process can help both employers and employees view their performance at any given time to ensure that it is aligned with the organizational goals. By standardising the process, HR departments can deliver continuous performance reviews with real-time feedback, execute well-being programs, and use employee feedback in future roadmaps.

5 things to avoid when using automation and AI
Overlooking computer-generated errors

While automation and AI will reduce the chances of manual input errors, organizations must be cautious of being too reliant on machine learning for analysis. Overlooking coding or programming errors can lead to serious misinterpretation of results which can affect and influence subsequent decision-making.

In recruiting, AI can be useful for simplifying the process by organizing and managing applications and creating algorithms to find perfect matches for job roles. However, 19% of organizations report that qualified candidates have been excluded when using AI or automation in their recruiting process.

It is important to remember that all AI and automation tools are made by humans. This leaves room for errors and misinterpretations, which must not be overlooked.

Overlooking hiring biases

Using AI to aid in the recruiting process can result in a faster time to hire, but organizations need to be aware of creating biases in the program that may eliminate qualified candidates.

The algorithm used to program the process needs to be free of implicit bias. To do this, HR departments must clearly define the parameters of the job requirements. Otherwise, the algorithm may display the job posting to candidates it thinks would be interested in the position rather than to truly qualified candidates.

Only 40% of organizations who source third-party AI and automation tools report that their vendor clearly outlines how the tools are free from bias. And 46% of organizations report not having access to the proper resources on how to identify and report these biases.

Additionally, with new laws around data security and privacy, companies must ensure that the automation and AI tools being used are legally compliant and ethical. But this can be difficult to do if there is no clear guidance from the government or concerned authorities.

Overlooking threats to cybersecurity

One of the benefits of AI and automation in HR is using chatbots that can respond to questions from employees and potential candidates. For employees, queries about PTOs, deadlines, and training progress can be answered by virtual assistant chatbots.

For potential candidates, recruiters can use these chatbots to collect information about their skills, previous job experience, and knowledge in the form of pre-recorded questions which can then be used to make the selection process easier.

However, these bots can be targeted by hackers who can steal personal or sensitive data shared through this stream of communication. This can have major legal and social repercussions for the organization involved. Therefore, care must be taken to correctly encrypt and protect this data from external attacks.

Overlooking the investing expenditure of AI

While AI and automation are rapidly becoming part of mainstream HR conservations, organizations should not rush their decision to incorporate these tools into their workflow without doing the necessary research.

However, most companies do not possess the adequate in-house resources or expertise to accurately determine the cost of investment to integrate automation and/or AI into their business processes.

Hence, hiring an external HR consultant to help with this decision is a useful approach as they will be able to objectively assess your goals and devise an implementation strategy that result in a high ROI (Return on Investment). They will also be able to advise business leaders whether their goals require in-house AI or automation development or can be externally sourced from a third-party.

Overlooking the human aspect of decision-making

Perhaps the most important pitfall to keep in mind is overlooking the value human intellect can provide to the decision-making process. While AI can analyse large quantities of information and rapidly generate insights, it cannot always consider non-technical information.

For example, Artificial Intelligence cannot evaluate how a candidate might fit into a company’s culture, work with certain team members, or even assess their soft skills. This requires human intelligence.

While AI can be used to implement learning and development programs in organizations, it cannot determine an employee’s willingness to learn or their motivation to finish their training course.

HR departments should use AI as a stepping stone to map out potential roadmaps for upskilling and reskilling and then personally interview their employees to determine their passions, career goals, and preferred method of learning to ensure that they successfully commit to the training programs.


If used correctly, AI and automation can be a massive asset to organizations worldwide. When implemented effectively and strategically, they can improve the overall experience of the HR team and the entire employee base.

Delegating HR tasks entirely to technology is not the answer. To help companies effectively manage the automation trend, HR teams must leverage their critical thinking skills to assess the landscape, identify talent gaps, and find opportunities for reskilling. This will help ensure that companies are able to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Blog that might be of further interest:

How will AI disrupt the HR & Recruiting industries?

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