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CEO Mark Hurd: Artificial Intelligence Brings Innovation to HR

Brittany Lindquist
Director Customer Marketing

Managing human resources for a large enterprise can be incredibly challenging. Hiring one new employee often involves a half-dozen or more steps, spread out across weeks or months. A company like Oracle needs to hire thousands of people each year—if hiring processes were conducted manually for every applicant, it would leave the HR department no time to do anything else.

Employees also need to be paid, their benefits must be properly allocated, and their performance needs to be tracked so management can offer promotions and bonuses to the most deserving people.

The challenge of human capital management (HCM) can overwhelm startup HR leaders even at smaller scales, particularly if they’re overseeing rapid expansion. While HCM applications like Oracle HCM Cloud can greatly streamline simpler tasks, an “unintelligent” HCM solution simply isn’t enough to address the myriad challenges today’s enterprise HR departments must tackle every day.

That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in. AI innovation can help HR departments manage recruiting, onboarding, retention, performance tracking, and a range of other critical employee oversight and optimization functions. Oracle has integrated AI into many parts of its HCM suite, and this has already resulted in internal successes, as CEO Mark Hurd noted at the SuiteWorld18 conference:

If I asked our head of HR, "Would you like an AI application?" I'm not sure what she'd say. But if I told her that I could help her do a better job of recruiting the 2,000 college kids we recruit every year, by knowing things like whether their GPA would do a better job predicting their future success at Oracle, or the school they went to or their major or any of these hundreds and hundreds of correlations... she's going to buy that every single day.

To put this into perspective, Employment Background Investigations found that last year, the average job opening attracted 250 applications, with only two percent of those applicants even called in to an interview. For an enterprise company, hiring 2,000 employees could require drawing from a pool of as many as 500,000 applicants -- that’s more people than live in the cities of Atlanta or Miami. The company would need to conduct roughly 10,000 job interviews to find its 2,000 new hires. That’s a lot of work for an HR department. It would simply not be possible to sift through a half-million prospective applicants by hand. Winnowing the field down in a viable way, based on AI analysis, provides enormous benefits to busy HR teams of all sizes.

Recruiting is challenging enough, but retaining and rewarding employees in large organizations can be still more difficult. Employees must be made to feel like they’re part of something worthwhile from their first day on the job. An effective onboarding program can make all the difference between a new hire becoming a loyal contributor and quickly burning out and leaving the organization. A study by the SHRM Foundation discovered that a good onboarding program can make new employees 69 percent more likely to stick with their new employers for up to three years.

AI helps HR teams provide customized onboarding and training programs that address each new hire’s strengths, weaknesses, and particular operational requirements. Hurd aptly compared this ability to personalize training programs to the potential of individualized drug development at Oracle’s 2017 HCM World conference:

There's going to be one drug discretely prescribed for our chemistry as individuals. Same thing's going to happen as we start to evolve here in HR. We're going to get more prescriptive and more specific about individuals and how they specifically work, grow, and develop.

Another added benefit of AI-enabled recruiting and onboarding (among other functions) is the AI systems’ abilities to identify and analyze patterns in the use of these tools. The results of this analysis can help HR leaders improve their organizations’ use of the tools, by identifying and improving methods and processes that work and eliminating those that don’t.

By deploying AI innovations to handle enterprise-scale HCM challenges, human resources teams can better manage their workloads and better respond to the individual needs of their workforce in an effective and personalized way. These same innovations can help the HR work of companies at all sizes by addressing routine challenges and allowing HR professionals to focus their attention on the big picture.

Learn more about how AI in the workplace can help Make Work More Human for your organization. 

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