Over two-thirds of HR employees fail to understand AI’s potential

Originally published at HRreview by Amelia Brand

The latest research from Brightmine, formerly known as XpertHR, reveals a concerning knowledge gap among HR professionals regarding the potential of artificial intelligence (AI).

The study found that just one in three HR employees (32%) fully understands AI’s capabilities.

The lack of AI education appears to be a significant factor in this knowledge gap. An alarming 80 percent of organisations have not provided any AI training for their employees. This shortfall in education leaves HR departments ill-prepared to leverage AI technologies effectively.

Scott Walker, CEO of Brightmine, commented: “The lack of awareness among HR employees is alarming but understandable. Generative AI has had a meteoric rise and there are huge amounts of noise surrounding it, but there is still a lot of demystification needed not just among HR professionals but across senior leadership teams. Take AI which has the capacity to augment decisions and enhance efficiency within the HR department, there is a real danger if the knowledge isn’t there, HR will not be able to make full use of the benefits of this technology.”

The benefits are clear

Despite this lack of understanding, HR employees do see the potential benefits of AI. They believe AI could significantly improve their department’s efficiency, particularly in handling administrative or repetitive tasks (74%) and enhancing data and analytics (59%). Currently, about one-fifth (20%) of HR time is spent on administrative duties, with an additional 5 percent dedicated to collecting and analysing HR data, highlighting a significant opportunity for AI to streamline these processes.

However, for AI to be effectively implemented, HR departments need to play a leading role in its adoption. The research shows that only 35 percent of HR departments have been involved in discussions with senior leadership about AI technologies. Nearly a quarter (24%) reported that these discussions have excluded HR entirely.

Scott Walker emphasised the importance of HR’s role in this technological transformation: “Not only is technology changing the way organisations operate, but technology is also impacting every phase of the employment lifecycle, generating demands for new skills and impacting the way people work.

“As agents of change, HR leaders should be actively shaping and driving the transformation agenda. It is vital that HR teams develop capabilities in digital fluency and data literacy to take advantage of technology to increase efficiency and unlock business value to help their organisations stay relevant and profitable.”

Brightmine’s AI Assist, an AI-powered chat solution, provides HR professionals with instant access to expert-curated content, offering quick and accurate answers to complex HR questions. Part of RELX, a global data and analytics leader, Brightmine has integrated AI into its products for nearly a decade.

Other Key Survey Insights:

  • Barriers to Adoption: The most significant barrier to AI adoption is a lack of understanding, cited by nearly three-quarters (70%) of organisations. Other barriers include skills shortages (50%), lack of investment (44%), and ethical or data protection concerns (43%).
  • AI Goals: The top AI goals for HR departments are improving the employee experience (23%), saving employee time (18%), and reducing workload (18%).
  • Concerns with AI: About one-third (30%) of HR employees are concerned about AI’s impact on job security and headcount levels.
  • Utilisation of AI: 30 percent of respondents stated that their organisation has not had conversations about AI or do not plan to implement any AI solutions.

This research underscores the urgent need for AI education and involvement of HR departments in strategic discussions to harness AI’s full potential.