AI in onboarding: what are the possibilities of the artificial intelligence in staff training?

8.5.2019, 5 minutes read

The artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer just a matter of robotics. It gradually penetrates the HR segment, making significant changes in seeking, hiring, training, and managing new employees.

Don't be scared by the robots in the workplace

When it comes to the AI-based training, robots replacing trainers is not what we have in mind. Artificial intelligence can be described as any simulation of an intelligent problem solution carried out by machines or rather their algorithms.

You don't have to worry about robots conducting interviews with candidates. Well, maybe one day, but let's focus on the more realistic future.

Before we break down the AI's benefits for the companies and HR departments, let's start with a few definitions.

When it comes to onboarding (digital staff education), two terms have to be distinguished, namely AI and machine learning. What differentiates them?

As Michal Hucko, User Behavior Analysis Developer, explains, “The artificial intelligence (AI) comprises the efforts to create machines which can solve problems in a similar way as people do. Machine learning is a subcategory of AI, when humans don’t interfere in the thinking, learning, and algorithm crafting process as the machine itself can find a solution.”

artificial intelligence in staff training

Contemporary use of AI

We might not realize it but PCs are making intelligent decisions all the time. On social media, for instance, when posts are displayed based on our previous activity.

In plain English, if you hit like on a picture on Facebook, the algorithm suggests a similar one which you might like as well.

The YesElf onboarding platform works on the same principle. In the first step, YesElf collects data on individual employees - what are they like, their personality traits, which Help they’ve already used in the app and which app features they use the most.

As a result, YesElf can identify what other activity would the employee like to carry out or his or her week spots. Based on the behavior and activity in the app, YesElf can precisely predict if the user is confused or not and what context-sensitive help he or she might need.

artificial intelligence in staff training

“The algorithm we developed tracks how the user moves the mouse and his or her activity in the app,” as Mater Války, Recommendation Solution Developer, describes the YesElf working principle, “it draws a line between confused and non-confused users and divides new employees into one of these categories.”

The data are crucial

Identification of a week spot is just the beginning. Further, YesElf needs to reveal the employee’s needs, which is far more complicated. As Hucko, codeveloper of YesElf platform from the Slovak Technical University, explains, “State of the art is that we can offer the users few options and they can decide how to solve the problem“.

The possibilities of AI in employee onboarding, however, reach far beyond that. Our vision is to predict which path the users should choose. Unfortunately, this is not possible without a sufficient amount of input data.

“The power of algorithms and its flawless functionality depends on the input data. The more data you get, the better the algorithms work,” adds Války.

artificial intelligence in staff training

In the spotlight of data-driven staff onboarding are only the workers having difficulties when working with an in-house software. If the Help appeared to all users, it would annoy them, forcing them to close the Help instinctively.

The role of AI is to automatize the user guide display in order to adapt the Help to the individual client's requirements.

Let's take the newcomers at a company as an example for explanation. Part of the recruitment program is to show the newcomers how to work with a system they will use on daily basis.

As the level of digital education among people varies, there is no general assumption when and with what the employee will struggle. All employees cannot be offered the same help as some of them don't need it.

What does the future hold

The artificial intelligence in onboarding has much broader use. Besides the data from the app, it works with data from other sources as well.

According to Peter Šimún, YesElf platform co-creator, “For instance, the data from a staff presence system can tell us which employees were sick lately, so you can assume higher error rate.“ He also adds that staff presence system could help you assess employee's skills and user level.

Large corporations can also use information that are unavailable in case of a web apps, such as CVs, employment history, certificates, or the above mentioned attendance.

artificial intelligence in staff training

“The recruitment process, employing AI on a full scale as of today, can be also used as input data. Based on the recruitment process, companies can evaluate candidate's suitability in terms of skills, experience, and staff,“ says Peter Šimún to describe the state of the art. He also adds that AI was employed also in talent management systems in order to find the best, interview-eligible candidates out of thousands.

It's the same as with the social media which are also frequently used to filter candidates. The algorithms will do it for the HR officers.

A great example of how far the possibilities of AI  can reach is Google which employs and constantly develops an algorithm for search and ad targeting based on the available data across all Google's services.

Then, the level of processing and utilization is up to the developers’ capabilities.

The end of face-to-face trainings?

A report from Manpower Group suggests that up to 45% of present day's tasks, by which people earn their living, could be automated. But could intelligent guides and in-app Help replace face-to-face trainings? It varies on sector by sector basis.

“If we talk about staff trainings on a CMS system, then yes, but when it comes to a job where a person's character is crucial, then we are very far from that,“ explains the YesElf platform co-creator.

artificial intelligence in staff training

The trainers certainly won’t lose their jobs due to the increasing automation. According to Šimún, it also largely depends on the content the trainer deals with - the use of a software or domain knowledge? In his opinion, “The AI will probably never cover the domain knowledge.“

Vision of today - standard of the future

Do you find the AI in the recruitment and training process rather futuristic? You probably do not realize that it is a common practice as of today. Not to full extent, but constant development and perfecting can make this unknown phenomenon a standard in the future.

Peter Šimún has also optimistic approach and thinks that “What we are talking about can be handled only by large enterprises with thousands of employees, not by SMEs. Nowadays, we cannot imagine the artificial intelligence in HR, but in a few years, it will become a commonplace.“

Written by: Erik Oravec

 

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