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How Businesses Are Using AI to Manage Resourcing and Survive the Pandemic

AI has been a powerful weapon in tackling the effects of coronavirus. From disease detection via thermal cameras to use in contact tracing, it’s been instrumental in navigating the pandemic. But AI’s ability to address the challenge of coronavirus extends beyond healthcare. Machine learning is currently helping businesses respond to the problems of engaging and managing talent in a pandemic and it’s revolutionizing the way they work.

The coronavirus outbreak has meant there’s been a great uptick in talent movement and people looking for work.

The rate of redundancies has accelerated and subsequently, so have job applications: last summer, over 4,000 people applied for a single entry-level role. This sharp rise in job applicants has been combined with a revolution in the way talent is engaged. With the move towards the gig economy, businesses are increasingly turning to gig workers, over permanent staff to deliver projects. Engaging gig workers allows companies to reduce overheads in this difficult economic climate, but it takes time to find the perfect person for a project. In both cases, teams face an uphill battle sifting through CVs and a loss of time they can’t afford.


This is where AI comes in. AI has been used in talent engagement for a while but its value has rapidly increased during the pandemic.

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Rather than an individual spending countless work hours reading through job applications, AI-driven data will instantly scan through CVs to pick those with the most suited skills or run analysis on video interviews. This not only saves businesses precious time and resources, it leads to a fairer, more effective process as every application is considered. No more need for desperate time-saving tactics where only the first 50 submissions are reviewed and the rest are ignored. Businesses can now gain back time and make sure they’re choosing the right people for the role.

This ability to filter through candidates at speed is a game-changer during a pandemic and beyond. Using skills-matching tools empowers businesses to spread their nets wider and start engaging with talent overseas. It doesn’t matter that expanding the talent search abroad will increase the number of applications: the AI absorbs the extra work and means businesses can reach the very best international talent. It’s this edge that sets a company apart, allowing them to weather a global crisis and come out stronger on the other side.

Using AI to find team members can also help talent engagement address its bias problem. By partly removing humans from the equation, AI can go some way in removing the unconscious bias that a human assessor brings, for example in the judgment of a particular ethnicity of gender. However, it’s important to remember that AI is a tool, not a panacea, and won’t eradicate systemic discrimination on its own. It’s still coded by biased humans and can also be biased by its data set: as CVs are experience-based, they are inherently biased towards certain groups. This has led some companies to explore other options and look towards test-based models for engaging talent. As with all technology, AI needs to be approached with proper thought and care.

But it’s not just in engaging talent that AI helps teams adjust to the effects of the pandemic.

There’s also a role for it to play in refining remote working. One of the biggest losses arising from remote working is the loss of in-office human interaction; interaction which is extremely valuable in sparking creativity and managing the health and wellbeing of teams. Whilst addressing this loss might initially appear beyond the scope of AI, there’s a real capacity for creative applications of AI techniques to start bringing back this lost office dimension. If AI can be used in conjunction with cloud-based work management and collaboration systems, it can start to learn about a team, their work and the interactions between colleagues. This knowledge can then be used to flag when team members might be feeling stressed and help create solutions that recapture in-office creativity. Companies that can do this will be able to work more efficiently and productively and stand head and shoulders above the rest.

AI is a lifeline for talent teams in a pandemic but its use won’t end with the final vaccine. It’s demonstrated how businesses can transform their working practices to be fairer, more effective and boost their bottom line. AI is the future of resourcing and the companies that recognize this will be able to survive and grow beyond the pandemic. The ones that don’t will simply be left behind.

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