Five HR considerations for AI in SMEs in 2024

Wednesday January 31, 2024

The early waves of AI innovation have started breaking over us in both business and society. It is creating something of a split: with some people letting it wash over them for now (maybe hoping it will all go away), and others actively engaging with AI.

As an employer and leader, whatever your natural inclinations, you should really fall into the latter camp; because it is almost certain that AI will shake up your world sooner rather than later. If you are prepared you will be able to dodge the pitfalls and reap the benefits.

And, despite the fluff of Popes in puffer jackets or doom-mongering headlines of AI Armageddon, there will be benefits.


Five issues to look out for with AI and employing people in 2024

We have rounded up five of the most pressing things to watch out for with your team and AI right now. You can use it to help you get on the front foot and think pragmatically about this game-changing technology.


1. Alleviating worker worries

One of the biggest cliches (and there is some truth in it) is that AI will take human jobs. One leading investment bank predicts that generative AI will automate 300 million of today’s jobs. Left unaddressed, this thought may fester in your workforce, damaging morale and productivity, maybe even encouraging good employees to become unsettled.

Getting up to speed with AI will help you understand that while it will take away many tasks from humans, this does not automatically translate into taking jobs. In fact, you may find AI is very good at doing mundane tasks quickly and accurately, freeing up humans to work alongside it doing more interesting and valuable work. AI “augmented jobs” rather than “automated jobs” is one way of phrasing this.

This could lead to greater productivity for you and more interesting careers for your employees.


2. Employment contracts and data protection

As you integrate AI processes into your business, don’t neglect any direct legal implications. One of the most likely to be impacted is wording in your employment contracts and how you handle data under data protection law like GDPR.

If you start using AI in your HR processes, it is crucial to inform employees how it is involved in the collection, processing and storage of their personal data.


3. AI bias

With AI capable of analysing large volumes of data – say CVs in an HR context – very quickly, it is important to understand and respond to the limitations of the results it provides. One concern is that unconscious biases may be baked into the algorithms that underpin AI technology, thus perpetuating inequalities that have long existed in employment.

With this in mind, make informed decisions about any software you choose, carefully plan what you are asking it to do and critically assess the results it gives you.


4. Let AI save you time

While the first points have identified pitfalls and challenges with AI, let’s not forget the opportunity for you as an employer.

From CV sorting to answering repetitive HR questions, there are already a host of AI powered tools that take on the grunt work from HR processes. Embrace AI, and tasks that you always put off or dread doing, can be completed with near automation helping you get on with your day and more profitable work.


5. Solving other problems

Perhaps the most exciting part about AI is that we have not fully thought out all the problems it could solve. Start thinking creatively about employment challenges in your business and how AI could address them.

For example, do you have an issue with employee burnout? Look at how AI could be integrated into their workflow to take away some of the stress. Or do you wish you could find out more about the views and needs of your workforce but never have the time? Well, there are already AI tools built to do this job.


Talk to an HR expert

If you would like to discuss how aspects of AI could help you power your HR function or would like a review of your employment contracts to see if they need updating to reflect your AI practices, please talk to us.

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