“76% of HR leaders believe that if their organization does not adopt and implement AI solutions, such as generative AI, in the next 12 to 24 months, they will be lagging in organizational success compared to those that do.”

Gartner

Artificial intelligence has progressed at a breathless pace, making it is easy to get caught up in the media’s doom-laden portrait of AI’s intrusion into the workforce. As the Gartner quote above describes, even HR—human resources—is experiencing change as a result of this distinctly non-human technology.

Suddenly, it seems that advances in natural language processing (NLP) have enabled AI to—at the very least—mimic credible responses to any prompt with well-written, reasonable content. Just for fun, I asked ChatGPT to “write a blog about how AI is changing HR industry,” and this is how quickly it produced serviceable content:

 

 

It’s likely that ChatGPT plagiarized large parts of the blog it produced from pre-existing content—it can only write by culling from what has already been written by real, live humans. But the blog it “wrote” nonetheless covers a lot of ground relevant to the prompt. Indeed, when used thoughtfully by HR representatives, AI today can streamline recruitment processes, enhance candidate experiences, improve employee engagement, enable data-driven decision-making, mitigate hiring bias, and promote diversity.

Am I done here? Has ChatGPT taken care of this time-intensive task of writing about HR issues? I don’t think so. For one thing, any information produced by ChatGPT should always be fact-checked and verified by reliable sources. More importantly, I would never consign this work to a chatbot, because my personal voice can never be replaced, and, frankly, I enjoy contributing it. In my work as a coach and team builder, I always need and want to be personally present, often on site, fully engaging with business leaders and the valuable individual contributors on their teams. When it comes to human behavior in the workplace, people can only respond meaningfully to other people.

AI will likely transform workflow in our organizations, but technological change frequently offers opportunities to redirect our attention toward underused resources. Instead of fearing or ignoring AI, I encourage HR professionals to regard it as a tool that will free up more of that rewarding time to interact with individuals. It can potentially absorb time-consuming tasks that require little creative skill or wisdom but nonetheless need to get done. By outsourcing those to an algorithm, we can feel less distracted from the more important initiatives that boost engagement, fulfill the goals of employees through direct attention, and provide mental space to imagine and innovate.

There is no doubt that generative AI, particularly in its relative infancy, is a somewhat amoral, voracious machine that can potentially violate privacy, crib others’ work, and generally misinform. These are legitimate concerns. It’s unlikely AI will ever write a good poem, for example, because that is a personal creation written by one human for other human readers. But it can rapidly process data, recognize patterns, and retrieve facts, leaving us more time to “write poetry” for the people we support, so to speak. With oversight and management, the judicious application of this technology can help us focus more attentively on the missions of our organizations and clients, while exploring the opportunities for development that enrich the workplace.