Blog Post

4 Ways to Apply AI at Work Today

Cornerstone Editors

For many HR professionals, AI can seem like a far-off reality and something they don't need to worry about...yet.

But HR analyst, podcaster and influencer Ben Eubanks says this assessment is entirely inaccurate. From artificial intelligence-powered office assistants that help schedule meetings to HR bots that vet candidates, AI isn't the future of work—it's the present.

Below, Eubanks shares four ways HR teams can apply AI at work today to perform tasks faster and smarter.

1) Narrow Down the Candidate Pool

In 2017 a Walmart employee named Randy Bailey went up against AI technology to correctly identify candidates that were hired for a job out of a pool of 5,000 candidates. Bailey ultimately bested the AI, guessing the three candidates correctly (the AI only guessed two), but he spent between about 30 hours hours manually reviewing applications. The AI on the other hand came up with its responses in seconds.

This is a valuable lesson, Eubanks says. Though AI is not yet in a place where it can make a hire with as much precision as a human HR rep, it is more than capable of executing the first round of recruiting to eliminate candidates who are categorically not a fit for a given role. Had the AI in the Walmart experiment been tasked with narrowing down the initial pool of 5,000 to 10, leaving Bailey to make the final decision, he would have arrived at the same three candidates in far less time.

"Let the algorithm do that first cut, and then let a human figure out the right cultural fit," he says. "That's an effective way to narrow candidates down, before applying instincts that the computer doesn't have to hire the right person."

2) Serve as a Mentoring Tool For Managers

AI can also serve as a great management tool by analyzing data from things like employee sentiments surveys. By scanning for sentiment keywords to identify trends, the technology can help managers and executives address workers' concerns.

One CEO Eubanks worked with was able to gain an understanding of his employees' biggest worries in just a week's time by using AI to analyze sentiment surveys. "[After AI helped identify the problem] the company was able to solve some major communication issues, address workers' concerns about company direction and really meet them where they were."

Similarly, when AI is at the core of an employee feedback management platform, it can analyze employees' feedback to come up with recommendations for managers, serve up tips and ideas, offer courses to boost leadership skills and determine what will best motivate workers.

3) Support the Application Process

Sometimes, when candidates submit their resumes to companies they feel as if the resumes end up in a black hole, never to be seen again. An AI-powered chatbot can walk candidates through an application process, answer any questions that arise and confirm resume receipt. The chatbot can also schedule interviews or follow up with candidates to let them know they won't be hired.

Chatting with real HR reps would be ideal, but given the volume of applicants for some positions, it's simply not sustainable, Eubanks explains. Chatbots reduce "the amount of time recruiters would have to spend interacting on the front of the funnel, which leaves them with more time to get into deeper discussions with the real hot-item candidates," says Eubanks.

4) Close Employee Skills Gaps

The skills gap costs individual companies an average of $800,000 annually in lost business and productivity. But instead of hiring new workers to fill the gaps, companies can simply educate existing employees and close their specific skills gaps with smart learning platforms, powered by artificial intelligence.

For example, learning management systems (LMS) use machine learning (a subset of AI) to leverage existing employee data on work performance or past learning engagements and create personalized learning paths for them. These suggested paths are individually designed to help employees gain critical skills they need to thrive in their current roles and grow professionally.

Though HR teams may still be hesitant to dabble in AI technology, there's nothing to fear, Eubanks says. In most cases, the technology is designed to support them, not replace them, so experimenting with the emerging technology may make their jobs easier and more rewarding: "There's no escaping AI, so it's time to learn to work with it."

Photo: Unsplash

Related Resources

Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.

4 Ways to Expand Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy

Blog Post

4 Ways to Expand Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy

Social media is ubiquitous, and companies are using it in many different and innovative ways for enhancing their sales, marketing and customer services. So why is it then that many HR departments still fail to see social media as more than a job board? Outside of the office, the same HR people happily engage with friends on Facebook, share news and ideas on Twitter, look at pictures on Instagram and send snaps on Snapchat. But when they put their work hat on they seemingly forget why they use social in the way they (and hundreds of millions of other users) do every day, and resort back to just posting jobs (in a boring way) on social media! Of course there is nothing wrong with job posting, and it's often an effective approach to reaching an audience, but not all of the time. According to LinkedIn, only 12 percent of the working population are actively seeking new employment. So, if all you do is post jobs on your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook page, you are consciously ignoring the other 88 percent of the working population who might be interested in hearing more about your company in general. Creating and sharing interesting content about your company such as employee stories or volunteer days help bring your employer brand to life. It might even trigger people to reach out to you and find out more about your job opportunities. In truth, mixing up your social media feeds with a variety of content will provide more depth and candidate engagement. Here are four ways to expand your social media strategy and engage with new potential candidates. 1) Candidate Sourcing With people using an average of more than five social networks, sourcing talent via social media makes absolute sense. Branch out from just using LinkedIn and look to sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to search for and engage with prospective talent. Try search tools like Followerwonk to search Twitter bios for keywords and job titles, a clever Chrome browser extension called Intelligence Search that easily searches Facebook and using the search bar at the top of Google+. They will help you identify new talent. If you are looking to build social media pipelines then try Hello Talent. It is a great free tool that allows you to build talent pipelines from many different social networks by using a browser extension. 2) Competitor Monitoring Social media is a fantastic source of information and data. By using tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, you can monitor the social media activity of your competitors. Both of these tools allow you to set up search columns, where you can enter things like keywords, hashtags, Twitter names and track when any of these are mentioned on sites such as Twitter. You can use the interact or use the insights accordingly. 3) Resources for Candidates Consider your Facebook page (or Twitter channel) as a real-time customer services channel for you to engage and communicate with both new and existing candidates in the recruitment process. Provide links to your social media pages to candidates at all stages in the process and encourage them to visit the pages and ask questions about any part of the process. You can also share useful information about working for the company, including locations, employees and other relevant news. 4) Live Recruitment Events Not everyone can attend the many recruitment events happening every month. But by using social media like Twitter, Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat, you can easily provide live commentary for these events you attend or host. Real-time video via Facebook Live and interaction via Twitter chats are superb examples of ways to regularly engage with a live audience of potential candidates. With social media firmly established in our working lives, I question how much more evidence HR departments will need to fully embrace this "new" form of candidate engagement. Photo: Twenty20

Cartoon Coffee Break: Unconventional Recruiting

Blog Post

Cartoon Coffee Break: Unconventional Recruiting

Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Cartoon Coffee Break" series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back every two weeks for a new ReWork cartoon. Missed the Recruiting Trends conference? From the state of recruiting automation adoption, to the role that the human element still plays in recruiting, our recap covers everything you need to know. Header photo: Creative Commons

The Latest Office Benefit Is Tackling Student Debt

Blog Post

The Latest Office Benefit Is Tackling Student Debt

Modern companies are more than just employers — increasingly, they are also gyms, cafeterias and even laundromats. As perks like yoga class, free lunch and complimentary dry cleaning become the norm, companies continue to push the boundaries on ways to attract and retain top talent by providing much more than a paycheck to employees. The latest in the slew of new workplace benefits? Student loan assistance. In April, Chegg partnered with to give full-time employees extra cash for student loan reduction. Then in September, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers announced it would provide up to $1,200 to help employees pay off loans annually. As a benefit, student loan assistance programs are certainly still in their infancy— one survey found that only 3 percent of companies offer such a benefit. But experts say that may soon change as companies seek to differentiate themselves in a competitive hiring environment. "We think student loan benefits are poised to be the next big benefit; similar to what 401(k) matching was when it was first introduced," says Dana Rosenberg, who leads employer and affinity group partnerships at Earnest, a lender that offers student loan refinancing and works with companies to create loan pay-down programs. The Burden of Student Debt Such programs could be extremely attractive to debt-laden Millennials. Around 40 million Americans collectively carry $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, and the graduating class of 2015 was the most indebted class in history with an average debt of $35,000 (a superlative they won't hold for long come May 2016.) For employers looking to adjust benefits to correspond to the changing demographics of their employee base, student loan programs hit the mark. "In 2016, our employees will be 80 percent millennials, and we also hire close to 11,000 employees directly out of school each year," says Terri McClements, Washington Metro managing partner of PwC. With student debt often preventing young people from participating in 401(k) plans and reaching traditional life milestones, the benefit could potentially make a large impact on employees' financial and personal well-being. A study from the American Student Association found that 73 percent of people with student loans reported putting off saving for retirement or other investments due to their debt, 75 percent reported delaying a home purchase and 27 percent reported it was difficult to buy daily necessities. "Student loans can be a very stressful thing to deal with, so if we can give our employees peace of mind, that's great," says Caroline Gennaro, corporate communications manager at Chegg. The Allure for Employers Student debt assistance programs aren't just attractive to employees, either. Rosenberg says there are significant benefits for the organizations that offer them as well. "Employers that offer programs to help their employees get out from under their debt load are seeing big benefits: increased retention, more competitive recruiting and, perhaps most importantly, happier employees who have additional cash flow to put towards their life goals," Rosenberg explains. Rosenberg says happier employees are more engaged employees, who tend to be more productive. Studies show that companies with high employee engagement experience lower turnover and have double the rate of organizational success than their less-engaged counterparts. Student loan benefit programs may also lead to a more diverse workforce, attracting employees whose financial backgrounds meant they had to take on more debt for their education. "Diversity and inclusion are also very important to us, so the ability to offer this benefit can help minorities who come out of school with a higher debt burden," says McClements. A Promising Response Companies say the response to their student loan assistance programs have been overwhelmingly positive. Chegg has had more than 80 people sign up since they started their program this summer, and they've already eliminated roughly 86 years of collective loan repayments for their employees. Companies are also finding these programs are a way to differentiate themselves from organizations that may offer more generic benefits. "As a company in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are always looking to attract the best and brightest in the industry, and this benefit is a big draw," says Gennaro. Photo: Shutterstock

Schedule a personalized 1:1

Talk to a Cornerstone expert about how we can help with your organization’s unique people management needs.

© Cornerstone 2022