Exclusive People Management data has found that HR professionals are curious about integrating AI solutions into their day-to-day workflow, as a third (33 per cent) said they haven’t yet used ChatGPT, but want to.
The LinkedIn poll – which ran from 10-17 March and garnered more than 1,000 votes – found that just under one fifth (17 per cent) of HR professionals have used the chatbot app for HR tasks, while 20 per cent have used it for “something else” at work.
However, a third (30 per cent) of respondents said they haven’t used it – for HR tasks or otherwise – and don’t plan to in the future.
HR tells all about using AI
Earlier this month, People Management tasked the OpenAI chatbot – which boasts the capability to generate “human-like responses” to any prompt – to write HR policy. The poll was then created to gauge the sector’s adoption of the tech.
Kay Baldwin, HR manager at Brett Martin Daylight Systems, who was among the 33 per cent that wanted to use it, told People Management: “I hadn't actually heard of it until this week! I am part of [a forum] and it was mentioned there, very favourably by several members.” When asked why she hadn’t yet used it she said: “I haven’t had time to look into it and see how I could incorporate it.”
Comments on the poll also revealed curiosity and a broad acceptance of using the tool, as long as people professionals didn’t solely rely on it to complete their work.
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A senior manager in organisational development said he was “100 per cent for” the technology, and said while it couldn’t do your work for you, it can save time.
“I don't see the difference between Googling loads of websites for material or simple pieces of information vs. using something like ChatGPT to speed up a piece of research,” he said, adding that a knowledgeable HR professional could tell when something it produces is “suspect”.
Similarly, a head of HR said: “You can’t rely on it 100 per cent so you need to know enough about your subject to use what it produces as a starting point to develop from there.”
Dionne Denbraber, people and learning officer at PAM Group, was among the 17 per cent who had used it for HR tasks. When asked what she had used it for, and how the technology performed, she said: “I thought it was great for [generating] a job description, as it provided lots of detail and was also inclusive.
“The job description would [need to] be tweaked and personalised for the role, however it was beneficial as a template,” said Denbraber, adding that she hadn’t “actually used it properly” in her role, but found it useful. She suggested that it would be good for “startup organisations” to get them going.
Additionally, Rachel Falzon, a HR consultant, trainer and coach, told People Management that she has been able to use it in manager training and development: “I used it to set goals and KPIs specific to an industry, then got managers to improve on them as part of performance management training.” She also used ChatGPT’s less succinct responses to teach managers to be “careful” of relying on the tool’s ability to do their job.
However, HR consultant Sam Lee, answered that she wouldn’t be using it in the future, and told People Management: “I like creating and writing myself, I enjoy researching things and coming up with new ideas. I wouldn't say never say never, but my tagline is about putting the human into HR, so I better practise what I preach.”
There is also uncertainty, as a HR manager who said they wanted to use it admitted: “The honest truth is I'm not sure what to use it for,” adding they would need to do “more research” before trying the tool out for themselves.
Is automation the future for HR?
David Collings, professor of sustainable business at Trinity College Dublin, said that the findings support anecdotal examples he has heard of HR teams using ChatGPT to automate routine aspects of their work.
“For me there is no doubt of the potential of tools such as ChatGPT to automate some routine tasks and to help with search for information,” he said.
When asked if HR could become more automated in the future, Collings said: “Yes absolutely,” as tools such as generative AI have the capability to “free up HR capacity for more strategic and value added” work.
“The key is identifying the routine tasks that can be automated and doing so in a way that does not alienate users and maintains their trust. As the technology becomes more sophisticated this becomes easier,” he said.
But Collings added it is too early to tell if AI tools like ChatGPT will “revolutionise HR’s time”, which he said was a “bit of a stretch”, but that it is a tool that can “help HR professionals in doing their work”.