The global market in the age of AI


Revolutionising remote work: How AI empowers HR to optimise recruitment and cultivate a global workforce.

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to shape the world of work, CHRO South Africa in partnership with Atlas HXM hosted leading HR executives in a webinar to discuss how best to use AI in a remote work setup and how they can understand the role of AI in remote work recruitment processes.

The Covid-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the shift towards remote work and highlighted the importance of global talent acquisition. With more companies adopting remote and hybrid work models, the need to recruit globally has become even more pronounced. Organisations can tap into a wider pool of candidates and leverage diverse skill sets to drive innovation and growth.

AI has emerged as a powerful force in various industries, and HR is no exception. The integration of AI in HR processes has revolutionised recruitment and talent management, offering organisations new opportunities to streamline operations, enhance decision-making, and optimise the employee experience.

Sthembiso Phakathi, human capital director at Deloitte Africa, said adaptive AI plays a vital role at the recruitment level as it fast-tracks the screening process. He added that machine learning and AI also help analyse the candidates clearly without racial or location bias.

“Cognitive and adaptive AI can help minimise such biases by providing objective, data-driven approaches to candidate evaluation, and also by focusing on their specific qualifications and skills. These tools ensure that candidates are assessed fairly based on their merits, and nothing else, thereby mitigating the impact on human biases,” he said.

Sthembiso noted that although it would be beneficial for companies to embrace AI, the move could prove to be difficult for companies that do not have matured digital systems in place that could potentially protect them online.

Selo Govender, people executive at Discovery, said adaptive AI has been resourceful at Discovery as it helped the organisation understand why employees were unhappy and why they left.

She added that the social media polls and an exit interview Q&A conducted with the help of AI helped the organisation understand where it was lacking and why potential employees were rejecting them.

She explained that people left because they wanted better benefits, better work-life integration and career growth and development.

“Because of the results from the polls, we’ve been quite intentional in making sure that the solutions we offer are catering for these needs. From a recruitment perspective, we are now offering full comprehensive solutions and offerings from a value proposition perspective to prospective candidates,” she said.

For Selo, these AI tools have helped the company to retain most of their staff, as compared to the Covid-19 period, which saw many resignations.

Selo said for companies to fully embrace AI and understand remote work, leaders and line managers need to be equipped to understand what different employees prefer in workplaces.

Equipping leaders with full knowledge of what all the AI offerings and developments are in the organisation, added Selo, will aid people to be adaptable and in so doing propel organisations to use AI tools effectively, she said.

Remote work and AI

Amy Roy, vice president for talent at Atlas HXM, said following the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, it’s inevitable that more businesses will embrace work from home at a faster rate.

She added that the climate surrounding Covid-19 has led to remote work becoming an essential choice in aiding the protection of employees.

Amy said AI can help businesses make informed decisions through the use of predictive insight and save companies time on administrative tasks.

“There are many data and automation tools out there and you should be able to use them. They can help streamline your workforce, your work processes, and they can help you reduce bias, because the tools are taking away some of the human element that comes with unconscious biases,” she said.

Amy noted that although AI was important in a remote work setup, it posed a challenge in the company’s culture. She added that it is imperative for organisations and companies to create interactive polls for remote employees to check how they felt about the company and its culture remotely.

Selo said in remote work cases, employers should have the conversation with their employees about where to improve in order to retain them. “We need to equip our leaders to have these types of conversations to be able to retain our best talent,” she said.

Sthembiso added that although remote work was desirable, maintaining culture proved to be very tricky to maintain. He said companies need to first evaluate how their office works without remote work, and then deliberately include remote workers into the system.

He concluded that while AI cannot replicate human judgement and discretion, it can take over routine, time-consuming hiring tasks, “This allows HR professionals to spend more time evaluating top candidates and ensuring a good culture fit.”



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