July 20, 2024
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Artificial intelligence is reshaping talent management


Louis Williams, system vice president, talent acquisition and mobility, City of Hope, was the keynote speaker at a Sept. 21 forum at California Lutheran University on the role of Artificial Intelligence in talent management. (Mike Harris / PCBT Staff)

Artificial Intelligence is transforming talent management and will play larger and larger roles as the technology continues to quickly evolve. 

That was the theme of a Sept. 21 forum at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks on the role of AI in recruiting and hiring employees, helping them develop their skills, and improving their performance.

“AI is here and it’s not going anywhere,” one of the speakers, Vlad Vaiman, associate dean and professor at the university’s School of Management, told the Business Times. “It’s not a fad. It’s going to stay and it’s going to develop faster than you think.”

But talent management cannot rely fully on artificial intelligence, Vaiman said.

“We need to remember that those are just the tools to help you enhance your decision-making as opposed to making decisions for you,” he said.

AI can automate a wide range of talent processes, including recruiting, Vaiman said during his presentation.

AI-driven solutions can tailor training programs to individual skills and interests, while performance management can be enhanced, he said.

And, as AI technology develops, more innovative ways of using it in talent management will emerge, Vaiman said.

Among the challenges AI presents is, as widely reported, potential job displacements due to AI automation, he said.

Keynote speaker Louis Williams said AI “can be quite daunting … but it can also be quite powerful and beneficial to humanity, amplifying human capabilities.”

Williams, system vice president, talent acquisition and mobility, City of Hope, told the Business Times that he advises workers and company executives to get up to speed on AI.

“Start learning about AI generally and personally now by using ChatGPT,” an AI chatbot introduced in November 2022 which interacts with people in a conversational way.

“And then read as many articles, white papers, watch as many webinars as you can to understand the context of what industries are trying to do with AI,” Williams said.

And depending on where someone is in their career, “consider what that means for what you need to learn to deploy and be a value-added employee in the future,” he said.

During a panel discussion, Jeff Stepler, Cheesecake Factory’s vice president of talent selection and engagement, said he views the technology not as artificial intelligence but as “assisted intelligence.”

“Especially in HR, we’re not going to use it in deciding who to hire, but (among other things) to assist us in sourcing, assist us in writing job descriptions,” he said.

And even in writing rejection letters.

“What a great opportunity for your recruiters,” Stepler said. “You know this person is not going to fit in this role because you have somebody else who is better.

“But you learn that they’re really into, say, basketball,” he said. “So you ask ChatGPT to write a rejection letter with a quote from a famous basketball player.” 

And in seconds, the company has a beautiful, personalized rejection letter that inspires and motivates the individual, he said. 

“So I think it’s those little things that are going to drive what we do” with AI, Stepler said.

During a Q&A session, an audience member asked the panel whose responsibility it was to help employees who will be displaced by AI. The companies? The government?

Panelist Genevieve Findlay, chief human resources officer, HRL Laboratories, said it’s a shared responsibility.

“Depending on the nature of the displacement, some of it, probably the onus, will be on the company,” she said. 

Paul Witman, CLU professor emeritus (IT Management), said that’s what the Writers Guild of America strike in Hollywood is about in part: “Whether or not the company has to help writers who are going to be displaced by what AI can create.”

A tentative deal between the WGA and major Hollywood studios was announced Sept. 24.

The forum ended on an optimistic note.

“I think the future is bright,” Williams said.

While new technologies can be disruptive, and may require different training, skills and applications, they always expand the economy, he said.

“Embrace the technology,” he said. “Don’t be afraid of it. 

“Resistance is futile,” Williams, a confessed Trekkie, said.

email: mharris@pacbiztimes.com