AI in HR: CHRO Fails to understand the potential of AI: Study

Over two-thirds of HR employees fail to understand the potential of AI, while less than four in 10 HR departments have been involved in discussions with senior leadership about adoption of AI technologies.

In a world where artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming industries, a recent study by Brightmine (formerly XpertHR) reveals an alarming trend. Over two-thirds of HR employees are yet to understand the potential of AI, and less than four in 10 HR departments have been involved in discussions with senior leadership about the adoption of AI technologies.


The AI Awareness Gap

The study highlights a worrying lack of understanding among HR professionals when it comes to AI. Just one in three (32%) department employees is said to have grasped its full potential. The study suggests that inadequate education is to blame for these low levels of awareness, with a staggering 80% of organizations having neglected to provide any employees with AI training.


Barriers and Goals

The most common barrier reported was a lack of understanding about AI, reported by close to three-quarters (70%) of organisations. Other barriers included skills shortages (50%), lack of investment (44%), and ethical or data protection concerns (43%).


Despite these challenges, HR departments have clear AI goals. The top three are to improve the employee experience (23%), save employee time (18%), and reduce workload (18%). However, around one-third of HR employees (30%) are concerned about the impact of AI on job security and headcount levels.


The AI Utilization Conundrum

Interestingly, 30% of respondents stated that their organisation has not had conversations around AI, or do not plan to implement any AI solutions. Scott Walker, CEO at Brightmine, commented on this trend, “The lack of awareness among HR employees is alarming but understandable. Generative AI has had a meteoric rise and there are huge amounts of noise surrounding it, but there is still a lot of demystification needed, not just among HR professionals but across senior leadership teams.”


The Potential of AI in HR

Despite a perceived lack of understanding, HR employees still recognize where AI could add value to their department. Administrative or repetitive tasks (74%), and data and analytics (59%) are pegged as the areas where AI will be most useful. Approximately one-fifth (20%) of HR’s time is spent on administrative tasks, and a further 5% is spent on collecting or analyzing HR data, meaning there is an opportunity for AI to significantly reduce the time spent in these areas.


However, in order to realize this, the technology needs to be implemented successfully, with HR taking a leading role. But currently, HR is not even getting a chance to fulfil this role, with only around a third (35%) of HR departments being directly involved in discussions with senior leadership about the adoption of AI technologies. Nearly a quarter (24%) reported that these discussions have not involved HR at all.


Walker concluded, “Not only is technology changing the way organizations operate, but technology is also impacting every phase of the employment lifecycle, generating demands for new skills and impacting the way people work. As agents of change, HR leaders should be actively shaping and driving the transformation agenda. It is vital that HR teams develop capabilities in digital fluency and data literacy to take advantage of technology to increase efficiency and unlock business value to help their organizations stay relevant and profitable.”

Stay tuned, to for further updates on the evolving workplace paradigm.      


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