Artificial Intelligence Transforming Workplace

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

July 2017

 Feature Story



Move over, managers, there’s a new boss in the office: artificial intelligence. The same technology that enables a navigation app to find the most efficient route to your destination or let an online store recommend products based on past purchases is on the verge of transforming the office, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

In fact, AI promises to remake how we look for job candidates, get the most out of workers and keep our best workers on the job.

These applications aim to analyze a vast amount of data and search for patterns—broadening managers’ options and helping them systematize processes that are often driven simply by instinct. And just like shopping sites, the AIs are designed to learn from experience to get an even-better idea of what managers want, the article pointed out.

Consider just a few of the AI-driven options already available. A company can provide a job description, and AI will collect and crunch data from a variety of sources to find people with the right talents, with experience to match—candidates who might never have thought of applying to the company, and whom the company might never have thought of seeking out.

Another AI service lets companies analyze workers’ email to tell if they’re feeling unhappy about their job, so bosses can give them more attention before their performance takes a nose dive or they start doing things that harm the company.

Meanwhile, if companies are worried about turnover, the article pointed out, they can use AI to find employees who may be likely to jump ship based on variables such as length of time they’ve been in the job, their physical distance from teammates or how many managers they’ve had.

Still, the same data-analysis technology that promises to make managers more effective also sweeps them into uncharted territory. With its relentless focus on facts, AI seems to overcome supervisors’ prejudices, but it can have its own biases, such as favoring job candidates who have characteristics similar to those the software has seen before. Automated decision-making may also tempt managers to abdicate their own judgement or justify bad decisions that would have benefited from a human touch.

These systems, though, are fairly new, and we really don’t know yet whether they make decisions that are as good as or better than human managers, the article noted. And it would be difficult to devise a foolproof way to test that.

The AI systems’ thirst for data can lead employers to push the boundaries of workers’ privacy. Clearly, it is incumbent upon managers to use them wisely.

That said, according to the article, many companies profess concern for privacy and include in their tools features designed to keep data they collect under customer control, if only to enable customers to comply with privacy policies and laws.

Here, according to the article, are a few examples of some of the ways AI is remaking hiring and managing workers, and some of the benefits and downsides it may bring:

  • Companies using AI for personnel management may start implementing it before workers are even hired—to help them find the best candidates for jobs. Such software spots the most promising resumes among what may seem like an unmanageable deluge, or widening the net so employees can find a more diverse pool of candidates than they would select on their own.
  • Once managers have hired ideal candidates, artificial intelligence can help keep them productive by tracking how they handle various aspects of their jobs—starting with how they use their computers all day.
  • Companies can also track employees’ whereabouts in the office. And AI is also beginning to help managers peer into personal aspects of job performance that used to be left up to managers’ instincts and observations—for instance, attitudes toward the job.
  • Some AIs aim to predict when employees may be winding down their career and advises how to keep them on board.

For all of their promise, though, these systems raise a number of issues–some of which are evident today, while others may take time to become clear. Privacy is an obvious concern when tracking employees, particularly personal behavior. Systems that sort job candidates also raise questions. But despite this, the use of artificial intelligence as a workplace management tool is clearly an emerging business trend, which should be watched closely.


Bob Larson’s scheduled speaking engagement at this year’s annual NAPS conference is scheduled for September 21st in Denver CO.. This year’s session, entitled “Talent Acquisition Lessons Learned on the Yoga Mat”, will combine the knowledge of his 39 years in Talent Acquisition with the philosophies learned through his 16 years on the Yoga Mat.

For additional Information about this event

Present Moment Awareness: For More Placements
Bob Larson, CPC

“Talent Acquisition Lessons Learned on the Yoga Mat”

16 Years on the Yoga Mat – 39 Years doing Talent Acquisition – We work in a “instant” results, “instant” information, “instant” communication environment. Our clients look for us to respond instantly, 24/7. For example, one of our staffing assignments had us covering the three U.S. time zones with the client located at a 17 hour differential. Sleep for us to service this client was not an option.

Fall-offs, cancelled appointments, no-shows, MIA clients and candidates, client’s poor communication/feedback, failed background checks and just the fact that our product (candidate) has a “free-will” adds to our world-wind challenges and disappointments.

At times you operate in a panic mode, searching for candidates, job-orders, concerned that budgets are being slashed, expenses are under double scrutiny and in the back of your mind you wonder if/where your next job-order will materialize.

Learn how Yoga Philosophies’: “staying in the moment”, “breath control”, “flexibility”, ‘relaxation”, “patience” and “just sitting” can bring positive – sensible – realistic results to yourself, your billings and build confidence within your department and organization.

No organizational charts, PowerPoint presentations, strategic plans, metrics or mission statements will be offered. Only peaceful, simple solutions will be offered. Attend this session with an open mind and it is strongly suggested you leave your PDA’s and shoes outside the room… Namaste