These 5 Human HR Skills Are Still Valuable in this AI & Tech Driven World

December 18, 2017

One of the joys and challenges of our modern age is discovering technologies that can improve our lives at work and at home. Artificial intelligence, or AI, is still a developing science, but it has the potential to revolutionize the workforce in the near future. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by MIT Sloan, 84% of respondents (which included business executives, managers, and analysts across 21 different industries) say that AI will enable them to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage in their businesses’ growth. AI is growing in popularity on the consumer side as well; many of us already have daily conversations with Alexa and Siri in our own homes! 

However, despite the rapid growth of AI in business setting, and all of the numerous tech solutions we have available to us for everyday office problems, there remains one area in business where the human touch is still indispensable: human resources (“human” is in the name for a reason!).

The following HR skills are still invaluable in our AI and tech-driven world and why that is:

Thinking About the Big Picture

Too often, HR professionals are relegated to basic administrative tasks and number crunching, rather than being effectively integrated into an organization. When human resources is done effectively, it synthesizes with other departments to help guide the strategic mission of the organization. This requires a much higher level of “big picture thinking” than can be achieved by artificial intelligence.

For example, a good HR team will see the direction a field is moving toward and already be recruiting talent to establish an organization as a leader in that area. Developing strategic aims, evaluating success, and anticipating the next moves of an organization are beyond the scope of what today’s tech solutions can offer. 

Data Analytic Abilities

Sure, computers can do the actual number crunching and turn regular analysis into an automated process, but executing higher-level data analytic strategies requires a competent human behind the keyboard. Machines aren’t able to determine what questions are important to ask, how to evaluate the statistical output, or when to dig deeper when provided a counterintuitive response – that’s something that for the most part only sentient, reasonable human minds can accomplish. 

As HR professionals are increasingly called upon to manage large datasets about applicant characteristics, hiring practices, and talent retention, using newer technology like AI along with a human touch is the key to success. 

Coaching and Career Building

One of the most common core goals of any human resources team is to attract and retain talent at an organization. That means managing some of the administrative aspects (e.g., compensation and benefits), but it also requires a solid understanding of what makes a good employee. Talent development is a quintessentially human skill that is a long way from being replaced by artificial intelligence.

Sure, a tech platform can be used to conduct a personality or skills assessment, but it takes a human to coach someone to work more effectively in the organization. It takes patience, understanding and verbal / non-verbal communication cues to make sure individuals and teams work well together. The ability to assess and effectively intervene to shore up weak areas is a quintessentially human HR skill. 

Communication Skills

HR professionals need excellent communication skills to do their job well. Although a technology platform can compile data or crunch numbers, it can’t communicate the results effectively to other professionals with color and specificity that a human being can. That’s where HR steps in.

Human resources team members are the ones who help manage the talent in your organization, which often means being mediator between upper management and other employees. Whether that means communicating dissatisfaction about internal development opportunities, mediating disputes between two employees, or presenting information about recent trends in hiring practices for Millennials, really create communication is something you can’t just leave to AI. 

For example, here at kununu we use technology apps like Slack and OfficeVibe to help us communicate and share feedback with each other from an HR perspective, but we always supplement that online feedback with face-to-face conversations at either our weekly all-hands meeting where the whole team participates, or during individual one-on-one meetings between employees and their respective managers.

Quantifying the Unquantifiable

Research has repeatedly shown that salary and benefits are just a couple of the aspects that cause people to stay at an organization or feel passionate about working there. More nebulous is the concept of company culture. This comprises the overall tone of the organization as well as its commitment to employee growth, training opportunities, and a corporate mission. Too often, companies get so caught up in meeting deadlines and maximizing profits that they fail to recognize the human factors that make a workplace effective.

This is a specific area where an effective HR department can step in. Human resources professionals are the natural leaders in assessing company culture and driving meaningful changes. Quantifying these seemingly unquantifiable characteristics (e.g., what is it actually like to work here?) is something that AI simply cannot do. This might include running focus groups, designing internal company evaluations, and talking to employees about desired changes to company culture.



Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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