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Forget about AI, concentrate on data

Recently, one of my new Business colleagues came to our Corporate HRBP with a list of proposals for movement of people. On being asked about relevant data to support the candidature, the business colleagues was surprised. He started mentioning his “views” about their strengths and development areas (there were hardly any). The quality of discussion obviously can be imagined..

This should hardly surprise us - Often, most of our people decisions are based on “opinion”, and “feeling”. Of course, analytics has made inroads into the HR world – however, how much of our individual people decisions (who to appoint, who to promote, etc.) are based on data? When we are not used to gather and use “small data” for people decisions or predicting people outcomes, what is Artificial Intelligence, which primarily expected to predict outcomes based on “very large quantities” of data, expected to do? Even assuming that we gather enough data to write effective algorithms, what will be the acceptability of business to such predictions, when they are not used consider any data for any people decisions?

@Crompton, when we started on the journey to make data central to people decision making, we faced two challenges

  1. A basic reluctance to really look at data “dispassionately”, especially when it seems to challenge the already “preferred” decision
  2. Drawing insights and inferences – our leaders may be great in viewing mountains of data for business decisions, but it did not seem so in case of people decisions. Some even called it "intellectual m…….n"

Hence for any HR professional keen to implement AI, the following advise will be worthwhile

  1. Prepare a data strategy to define which data will be used for which people decisions. Align business leaders and implement the same.
  2. Learn more applications of data science and AI in various field – the possibilities will surprise you and those are easily adaptable in HR.

So before we bring Artificial Intelligence into HR, let’s bring “Intelligent” decision making into HR!

Most of the discussions Ion HR analytics I have seen are centred around how to use data for drawing insights or inferences – but I have seldom seen discussions on how to make leaders “believe” in those inferences.


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