Professor Stephen Hawking once warned that AI could spell the end of the human race! However, we don’t need to panic just yet. Used wisely and responsibly, AI is an invaluable tool. Here, Julie Graham, CEO of Ingeus’ Employment Services, talks about the influence of AI on recruitment and workplace practices.
If you haven’t heard of all the latest developments in AI, where have you been? It’s what many of us are talking about as the digital revolution continues at pace. Put simply, AI is artificial intelligence, in which a machine can analyse data, make decisions, and solve problems as a human would. AI is all around us, whether it’s Alexa playing your favourite songs or Google Maps planning your journey.
As the digital landscape evolves, it is changing how employers recruit staff. AI can sift through mountains of CVs and cover letters to pick out the most suitable applicants – eliminating unconscious bias from the hiring process. It can search and identify people that match specific criteria and actively reach out to them.
On the flip side, we know this means there is the chance of worthy candidates slipping through the net if certain important keywords are missing as AI may filter these out. However, this also gives us another example of where AI can help. CV checker tools, such as our iWorks employability platform, scans participants’ CVs and gives them a score and pointers on how to improve. This AI, along with guidance from our employment advisors, has enabled participants to make it past the bots and secure job interviews.
Searching and applying for jobs is also easier thanks to AI. Job search websites enable people to find the most relevant vacancies instantly. And tools, such as virtual assistants, can answer questions and provide frequently asked information. Not to mention, if you’re struggling with writer’s block when doing your CV and covering letter, ChatGPT can write pretty much anything you ask it to!
There’s no denying that AI can do incredible things, but there are some areas where machines cannot replace humans. For example, they don’t have the empathy, creativity, or interpersonal skills.
So, as AI helps to speed up systems in the workplace, what does it mean for employees?
If we had turned our backs on technology, we would never have had the Industrial Revolution. Methods and working practices evolve over time, becoming more efficient, and these changes are to be welcomed. AI can simplify complex processes and speed up mundane tasks, relieving employees of repetitive, monotonous chores. By using AI to do the boring stuff, your employees are freed up to focus on more creative and rewarding tasks. This can lead to greater job satisfaction.
AI improves workplace efficiency and productivity, saving time and money. It can analyse complex data in the blink of an eye and assist with decision-making. Documents produced by different people within a business can be edited by AI to ensure they have a uniform, corporate style.
When machines are brought in to share the workload, staff may fear their job security is at risk. If they don’t lose their job to AI, they worry they could lose it to someone who is more tech-savvy than they are.
Employees may feel frustrated when systems fail or are unreliable. Voice recognition software doesn’t always work, and the lack of real human interaction can feel cold and clinical. Using AI in decision-making can also make workers feel they lack control.
The use of AI in the workplace can also lead to a fear of Big Brother-style monitoring – as automated systems can check up on staff and the hours they spend at their desk. The gathering of data by AI may also cause privacy concerns, so transparency is essential.
For recruiting employers there’s trepidation in not knowing if a wonderfully crafted pitch presentation or cover letter is really displaying the talents of the interviewee in front of them, or their laptop at home.
In a nutshell, technostress is mental strain and anxiety related to technology use. These days, we’re glued to screens for hours at a time, which is arguably not healthy if it isn’t balanced out. AI doesn’t need to take a break or get any fresh air. It can keep going indefinitely. People can feel pressured to work faster and respond instantly to emails and messages, taking on a bigger workload and putting themselves at risk of burnout. System upgrades can also cause stress as some people may struggle to adapt to new technology.
Supporting your staff with in the everchanging technology space is critical if they are to operate at their full potential. Here are a few ways you could do this: