Can AI Reduce Bias in HR Processes?
January 4, 2024
Approximately one year following the widespread introduction of ChatGPT, the realm of generative AI (GenAI) has generated a mix of enthusiasm and apprehension among employees and their respective organizations.
A recent study, commissioned by Betterworks and conducted by Propeller Insights, reveals that more than half of employees are actively employing GenAI in their work for intricate tasks. They believe in its potential to mitigate bias across various HR processes, even though merely 41% of organizations are actively assessing or prioritizing GenAI adoption. Simultaneously, employees express concerns about the potential repercussions of GenAI on their roles and the inadvertent amplification of bias.
The survey results from Betterworks serve as a noteworthy alert for C-suite executives, urging them to proactively address the emerging GenAI trend:
- Employees are incorporating GenAI into their work for substantial tasks, irrespective of their company’s stance on its adoption. Notable applications include strategic work, idea generation/brainstorming, basic writing tasks, and technical work. Establishing usage guidelines is crucial to mitigate the genuine risk of business intelligence being unintentionally utilized to train open-source AI models.
- Employees seek communication from HR due to their divided opinions on the impact of AI. Nearly half believe AI can enhance job efficiency, while almost a quarter anticipate negative consequences. Clear communication regarding the impact of AI becomes imperative.
- Despite promises of increased fairness and inclusivity, AI is not flawless. 61% of employees anticipate that GenAI will foster a more equitable and inclusive workplace by reducing bias in HR processes such as performance reviews, recruitment, training and development, feedback, and career conversations. However, 57% harbor concerns that GenAI might inadvertently introduce and perpetuate bias due to factors like historically biased data and the complexity of AI decision-making. Employees want clear guidelines, transparency, regular algorithm audits, and diverse AI development teams to ensure fairness and impartiality in HR-related AI applications.
- AI is expected to enhance fairness in performance reviews and contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Nearly three-quarters of respondents believe that GenAI can facilitate more effective and unbiased performance evaluations by eliminating age bias, gender bias, and prejudice. Many also agree that AI can aid in building a more diverse workforce by identifying high-potential employees from underrepresented groups.
- The combination of AI and human intelligence is viewed as essential for bias removal while incorporating human judgment in performance reviews. 75% of employees endorse this combination, emphasizing that when AI acts as a co-pilot with humans retaining ultimate control, the partnership fosters efficiency, fairness, and trust.
When employed with appropriate safeguards and adherence to guidelines, generative AI has the potential to enhance organizational productivity and potentially mitigate bias. This, in turn, allows individuals across all levels, from the C-Suite downwards, to allocate more bandwidth toward creative and high-value tasks. Furthermore, it fosters an environment of fairness that positively influences various aspects of the employee experience.
Source: CCH, Betterworks.com
By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM-approved partner, ASE.