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Artificial intelligence is transforming how people work by boosting efficiency and productivity. Human resources departments are using AI to create a more adaptive, flexible, and fluid workplace, one where staffers can develop training, streamline onboarding, identify and evaluate candidates during recruiting, process feedback, respond efficiently to service requests, and manage projects. HR is notoriously manual; information is often kept in silos and answering questions can be a labor-intensive process. Whether it is creating workforce experiences personalized to each employee, or sifting through large amounts of information looking for valuable intelligence, HR professionals benefit by incorporating AI into their processes.

Jeff Gregory, chief information officer of global service provider Thirdera, explained to VentureBeat how AI can impact non-technical roles in an organization, especially in the realm of human resources.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

VentureBeat: AI makes sense as a tool for data scientists, engineers, and IT pros . How can non-technical roles/organizations, such as sales, marketing, HR, and finance, use it?

Jeff Gregory: It’s a misconception that AI is only a tool for engineers and the like. Sales and HR are two examples of business functions where AI is having a huge impact. In sales, reps in many organizations are using AI to improve forecast accuracy, including the timing, value and likelihood a deal will close. AI is also helping sales determine when and when not to contact customers and prospects, and which pipeline activities to focus on based on the probability of success. This is a huge advantage for time-starved reps, which is basically all of them.

Likewise, AI for HR has the ability to offer an entirely new set of insights and self-service benefits. For example, it can help HR reps understand what truly motivates employees, what creates enthusiasm, what info they need to be successful. AI can also make information easier to find. For example, chatbots can provide instant access to pertinent data on benefits and payroll and offer up suggestions based on past results and insights, allowing HR staff and employees to get answers they need, even if they’re not asking the questions correctly.

VentureBeat: What about HR in particular lends itself to AI? What are some issues HR pros face on a daily basis that would be helped if more HR departments had access to AI technology?

Gregory: HR is the steward of a company. Its reps need to have their pulse on the health and development of employees, and this has everything to do with making sure employees can quickly and easily get answers to questions they have. Presenting the “right” information to employees in a timely fashion is a huge challenge for most organizations. In many cases, employees don’t ask for the right info, leading to follow-up questions and conversations that can delay essential tasks, such as onboarding, training, or benefits. AI and bots provide an incredible opportunity for an organization to get the right information to employees 24/7. Bots also have the ability to “learn” from typical questions and follow-ups, enabling more precise and timely responses. Delivering correct info, links and other resources to employees in an efficient manner can save HR and employees hours of time and improve job satisfaction.

VentureBeat: As a CIO, what are some recommendations you have for HR leaders as they consider if, how, and when to implement AI? Please be specific.

Gregory: The best advice is to start small, then learn and grow. AI is amazing with the insights it can produce. However, it is best to start with a few simple tasks. Take time to fully understand the value and how to utilize it within your organization. A chatbot focused on general HR questions is a great example. This is a learning tool that will provide access to the most important information for the employee. Additionally, this will free the HR team from time-consuming requests, allowing them to focus on other pressing items.

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