Canadian HR Reporter

March 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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12 www.hrreporter.com N E W S Still not convinced about AI? It's not the enemy, says expert There's a perception problem when it comes to artificial intelligence and the workplace, according to Terry Hickey, chief analytics ocer at CIBC. But there are a few basic steps HR can take to ensure the newer tools are properly adopted, finds Sarah Dobson Because everyone was afraid: 'Terry, as soon as you say those words, everyone's going to get worried that their job's at risk.' So, we came up with a communications plan that allows us to educate the organization [about] what it is and how they need to be thinking about it, and how we're going to use it to augment the people within our organization." Co-ordination is another key consideration, says Hickey, as a large organization like CIBC couldn't have 15 di„erent groups going out and trying AI willy-nilly. "We set up a central team that basically organized how we're going to do it, what tools that we're going to use, what methodology that we're going to use. So that's co-ordinated [and] meant we're going to do this together. It may mean we do it a little bit slower, but you can't run the risk of doing this wrong; you have to do this right." As for how AI can be used exactly, HR thinking di„erently about AI and what it's going to do for employees, says Hickey, speaking at the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) conference in January. "It's technology that allows us to replicate human capabilities through a machine that has the ability to learn and, most importantly, to augment our employees… It's going to change everything that you do, not just the people that you support." But it's not perfect, he says. "It's still new, we're still training it, and it's still got to figure a bunch of things out. It's going to learn over time. And, eventually, it may get this right. But this technology is still in its infancy…. Although AI seems to be the word that we're talking about all the time, it's really relatively new in business." While people have heard about the benefits of AI — such as greater e•ciencies, reduced operational costs and faster decision-making — there are also limitations, such as a narrow focus, ethical issues and bias, says Hickey. But employers and HR should definitely be getting onboard, and there are a few basic steps for getting started. Tips on bringing in AI For one, consider the impact of AI. At CIBC, that has meant focusing on small projects that would take somewhere between four and seven weeks to accomplish, instead of multi-million-dollar projects that could have a greater impact but also greater risk, he says. Another area of focus is transparency. If employees are not told about what AI means to the organization and how they should be thinking about it, then they're going to have that negative perception enforced by Hollywood, says Hickey. "It was almost six, seven months that I was in the organization before I was even allowed to say the words AI. GLOBALLY, HR SEES LOWER COSTS WITH AI 55% Average cost decrease in HR function adopting AI 57% Share of workforce retrained in past year because of AI adoption 56% Average revenue increase in HR function adopting AI 81% Share of workforce expected to be retrained in next three years due to AI adoption should be thinking about issues such as recruitment, where technology looks at how people behave during video interviews, or engagement and retention, where the technology looks at internal data to identify high-potentials or people likely to leave, he says. It's also important not to let your organization become too dependent on AI, he says. Source: McKinsey "You need to develop people so they can get the skills that they need to be able to live in this new economy." WHEN you think of a robot, do you picture a benevolent one? Probably not, according to Terry Hickey, chief analytics o•cer at CIBC in Toronto. Movies very often portray artificial intelligence (AI) and robots in a bad light. There's one Wall-E for every 10 Terminators, he says. "We have a perception problem. Hollywood has told us that AI is bad, it's evil, it's coming after our jobs. And we should lock it in a closet." But organizations need to be

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