ChatGPT is disrupting industry after industry, job after job—and Human Resources (HR) is among the many. Is the advent of AI something to worry about, something to leverage, or a little of both? We’ve examined what some top industry minds are saying about the technology to learn more about what you should know and what areas ChatGPT could most affect.
Automating Repetitive HR Tasks
One of the most commonly-cited potential uses for ChatGPT in the HR world is to automate everyday, repetitive tasks. In fact, some companies may already be using it for these purposes. Forbes, for instance, suggests that HR teams could use ChatGPT and similar chatbots to streamline the time-consuming tasks that take up so much space in recruiting: writing job descriptions, resume screening, interview scheduling, and sending reminder emails. It could also be used to guide basic tasks for onboarding, like filling out paperwork.
This is one of the most straightforward applications of ChatGPT and AI in general to the HR space, and it’s also the one that seems to show up in almost every expert analysis. The consensus seems to be that this is an area where AI could have a measurable, positive impact without quite so many potential pitfalls as other applications of the technology. After all, some of these tasks are already partially automated: think resume software scanning for keywords, or automated/pre-scheduled emails. The hope is that AI could take these tasks off the plates of human HR professionals, allowing them to focus on more complex, person-centric, or strategic tasks.
Quick Answers to Common Questions
Another commonly-considered application for ChatGPT would be in answering FAQs for employees. Some companies may already have some rudimentary form of a chatbot, but these AI developments could take this even further. No more lengthy FAQ pages that still don’t answer employees’ questions – these bots could ensure that everyone is on the same page and can get clear answers in real-time. It could also give a boost to training practices by guiding onboarding and common training, access to materials, and more.
Experts also suggest that ChatGPT and similar chatbots could help make these FAQs more useful on an individual level by personalizing responses to more individual queries. Instead of having a pre-written, general answer, employees could get more detailed information that is better tailored to their specific needs. In theory, this could help improve the accuracy and even consistency of HR-related communications, provided that the AI is trained on sufficiently specific material.
Compliance and Safety
Some experts have suggested that AI could assist with boosting compliance practices. Consider an AI application that could track any and all changes (in laws, regulations, etc.) in real time and offer corresponding updates to company policies right away. Just as AI chatbots could improve the FAQ experience, they could also help to provide more detailed and helpful information when employees have questions about compliance-related matters like employment laws, payroll, tax regulations, and health and safety protocols. Similarly, it could assist with monitoring issues of pay equity and ensuring compliance with DEI protocols; its predictive power is being discussed as something that could help to avoid equity issues down the line.
On the topic of health and safety, another area in which experts are discussing AI applications is individual employee safety and well-being. Some have suggested that ChatGPT could note a worker seeking assistance for a personal issue and use that information, along with other cross-referenced information such as emails, to determine if there is anything going on that might warrant a check-in to be sure all is well. In these cases, however, it is especially important to balance the abilities of AI with the need to respect employees’ privacy and ensure they are fully aware of what is and isn’t private — privacy talks are also at the heart of much of the AI buzz.
Elevating Employee Experience
The final, and perhaps the most nebulous, source of HR buzz around ChatGPT and AI seems to be using it to upgrade the employee experience. This could mean any number of things, and different experts have different suggestions. Common ideas include the possibility of streamlining communications and information, ensuring employees have easy access to resources for their jobs and for career development, and so on.
However, some experts warn that this convenience will need to be balanced with the potential negative impacts of losing the warmth and personality of human interaction. Ultimately, elevating the employee experience isn’t something that can be done just through algorithms – it still requires a human touch.
As one expert puts it, “While you will no longer be needed as the creator of a work product, HR professionals will still be needed to narrate to ChatGPT what they want to create. We will still need smart, sharp, driven HR professionals who know what they’re doing. You just won’t be the one doing the creating—which will allow you, individually, to do much more. Gone will be the days of the Queen of Spreadsheets. ChatGPT will make those spreadsheets; you will just tell it what you want. But you will still have to know what you want.”
All of the experts seem to agree on one thing: the “human” part of “human resources” must still remain at the forefront. ChatGPT can have its uses, particularly in streamlining processes and clarifying communications. In the end, however, it is simply a tool, and HR professionals must still be the experts in charge to guide, develop, and execute HR strategy.
By Ruben Moreno
About the Author
After a 25-year career in Corporate Human Resources and HR Executive Search, Ruben Moreno and his two partners co-founded Blue Rock Search based on a simple but ambitious vision of creating a firm that would “Change Lives and Organizations One Relationship at a Time.” Ruben leads the Blue Rock HR and Diversity Executive Search practice specializing in the identification, assessment, recruitment, and onboarding of Chief HR Officers and Chief Diversity Officers and their respective teams — inclusive of leaders in Talent Acquisition, Total Rewards, HRBP’s, Learning & OD, HR Technology, HR Operations, and HR Analytics. Ruben has helped place hundreds of HR Executives and built deep relationships within the CHRO community across multiple industry verticals. His clients consider him a trusted partner who takes the time to understand their business and add value beyond executive search.