Published On: Wed, Jul 6th, 2016

5 Reasons Why Human Resources Should Remain Human Even in a Digital Society

As technology continues to advance and artificial intelligence is becoming smart enough to perform tasks that previously only humans were capable of, many consumers and company leaders have expressed the concern that excessive automation could be compromising the quality of management. Of course, then there’s the controversial topic of whether it’s right to be replacing human jobs with machines from an economic standpoint. Indeed, the classic “robots vs. humans” debate has been raging strong for the past decade, and will likely only become more of a mainstream topic as we approach an era of unprecedented AI capabilities. Other than the obvious advantages of having humans manage your HR department, here are some irrefutable points worthy of consideration:

1. Key Decisions Should Be Examined by Humans

When you leave pivotal decisions up to the discretion of a machine, you’re leaving open the opportunity for some seriously poor judgment calls. Even the most advanced software and search engines in the world use algorithms that are still being tweaked to fix bugs to this day. AI is nowhere near perfect at this moment, and that’s what it’ll take to justify entrusting key decisions to an unsupervised machine. Until you can teach a machine how to earn a Masters Degree in Human Resources (like the one you can find here) on its own, the management positions would be better left to human beings.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

2. People Prefer to Deal with People

One of the most important aspects of managing a workforce is keeping employee morale high. The last thing your staff members want to deal with is being treated like a stranger and having to deal with robotic voice prompts. When an urgent situation arises or a lot of paperwork needs to be done, it makes no sense to use experimental technology to try and automate a task that would be better performed by a human. Machines can process and learn information very well, but they currently lack the creativity needed to be efficient motivational leaders. Furthermore, social interaction has been shown to improve mood and productivity in the workplace.

3. Automated Employee Filtering and Monitoring Cannot Replace a Good Hiring Manager

There are plenty of tools that can help you monitor employee performance/progress and screen prospective employees, but none of those tools are built to conduct interviews and judge a person’s character based on a number of intangibles that go beyond the scope of machine intelligence. Hiring managers are trained to select the right candidate for the job based on all sorts of cues and clues that cannot be reliably assessed by any software. Ultimately, most businesses would rather trust the future of their company with a human being rather than making HR decisions based on what is essentially an ongoing programming project at the moment.

4. Software is a Tool, Not an Employee

Employees in the HR department should be trained on how to use various kinds of software to do their jobs more efficiently. At no point should software be used to replace the entire function of the employee or streamline/automate any process that is crucial to the management of the company. There are plenty of tasks that can be simplified by software, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a set-it-and-forget-it program that can do everything you would ask of an employee. In fact, a great HR professional can perform mental calculations and relies less on software than an inexperienced novice, so internal proficiency should be seen as being just as important as being a skilled software operator.

5. There’s Always a Human at the Top

Even if lower level positions were able to reduce their workload or even replace entire employees using software, there would still have to be a human that approves the decisions and oversees the operation of the tool. There’s no such thing as a fully machine-ran business; there’s always somebody who is like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. With that said, the HR department is perhaps the most important place to have intelligent humans in charge of management and it’s the last part of the business you want to be removing the human element from.

Even When Technology is Nearly Perfect, Humans Will Still Yearn for Control

In closing, it is unlikely that the perfection of AI will result in more companies entrusting their HR decisions to software. Instead, it is more likely that humans will continue to want to be in control of their own companies, especially at the highest level of resource and investment management.

Guest Author: Carol Trehearn

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