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BusinessDay: Everything is under (AI) control — the bot will scan your CV now

Despite respondents’ fears in a study, the implementation of artificial intelligence in HR departments has many advantages.

By Johan Steyn, 20 September 2022

Industry experts anticipate that in the not-too-distant future, there will be inadequate numbers of suitable candidates to fill all job positions. This is particularly relevant to types of work in which people have to use technological platforms to fulfil their duties. Organisations will need to vastly increase their investments in career development for their employees to be able to adapt to these ongoing technological advances.

To maintain a competitive advantage, businesses must continually invest in new technology and processes that enable them to grow faster than their competitors. Moreover, employees must acquire new skills to function in an increasingly digitalised world, usually alongside algorithmic robotic teammates.

Human resources (HR) departments have been under intense pressure to keep up with recent rapid advances. Now is the moment to redesign the HR function to offer value to individuals’ lives and business operations.

The implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in HR departments can yield a variety of advantages. It can aid professionals in keeping ahead of developing trends, evaluating employee sentiments and expediting talent acquisition, as well as onboarding, employee performance reviews and retention.

AI might handle many elements of HR management. It can even conduct interviews and hire individuals on behalf of a corporation. However, HR departments will not be completely removed as the need for human involvement will remain relevant. It is people who will need to look out for the potential dangers AI may introduce, namely its incapacity to handle complex issues such as discrimination, unfair recruiting tactics and workplace harassment.

The notion of employment in the future is not as far as it once was. Already here, it is wreaking havoc on many business processes. Due to the increasing rate at which employment is becoming mechanised, many individuals are uncertain about their future. Several trends can be anticipated for the future of work, as well as strategies for preparing for them.

According to global research conducted by SAP SuccessFactors, a quarter of employees surveyed are at ease with AI in the HR function, while another quarter is greatly concerned about it. The remaining 50% are ambivalent and are waiting to see the effect on their professions.

Many workers say they do not have a problem with their CVs and performance data being reviewed by an AI agent, while others are frightened of how AI may affect hiring and promotion decisions. Employers who implement smart technologies to improve HR efficiency may, therefore, discover a hidden layer of division in the workforce.

This is why I always implore the clients I consult with to approach smart technological implementations as a people-first initiative. The smarter the technology — and it is getting smarter daily — the greater the potential effect on staff, the way an organisation is designed and on clients.

Let the software robots do what they do best, and set the people free from repetitive, low-value robotic tasks so they can focus on the amazing things only humans can do.

• Steyn is on the faculty at Woxsen University, a research fellow with Stellenbosch University and the founder of


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