Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence for Human Resources

A toolkit for HR professionals to promote positive and ethical human-centred use of AI, for organizations, workers and society.

The challenge 

There has been an explosion in recent years of artificial intelligence-based tools for human resources applications. These tools are designed to take on key HR tasks, including hiring, retaining talent, training, benefits and employee satisfaction, and have the potential to boost employee productivity, save HR departments time and money, and improve fairness and diversity outcomes. 

At the same time, there have been warnings about the negative consequences of AI, which almost inevitably point to its use in human resources as a key risk area. There are good reasons for these worries. Employment decisions have high stakes with critical consequences for individuals, organizations and society. Concerns about AI algorithms encoding bias and discrimination are particularly heightened, further complicated by labour and anti-discrimination laws. Errors in the adoption of AI-based HR products can also undermine employee trust, leading to lower productivity and job satisfaction. Finally, unique aspects of the human resources setting, including small datasets, complex social interactions and data privacy concerns, pose challenges to developing effective algorithms. 

AI is a relatively new player in human resources. Few HR professionals have technical knowledge of how AI systems work and they face pressure to adopt AI-based tools often without the resources to fully assess the potential consequences of these decisions. The aim of this project is to provide HR professionals with a framework for sound decision-making for the organization and society.

The opportunity 

The World Economic Forum collaborated with over 50 experts in HR, data science, employment law and ethics to create a practical toolkit toolkit for the responsible use of AI in this field. The toolkit begins with a guide that provides an overview of AI in HR; describes key areas of concern including data privacy, bias, and transparency and explainability; and covers the steps to adopting AI-based HR tools including forming an assessment team, evaluating the risk of a tool, implementation and monitoring. It also provides two checklists that are linked to each section of the guide. The first is for the evaluation of a specific tool, while the second focuses on broader questions of strategic planning and the development of policies and procedures.

The project community has co-designed and piloted the toolkit in a variety of organizations across the United States, Canada, South Africa and Turkey. More details and opportunities for feedback can be found in the Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence for Human Resources.

How to engage 

Pilot: Implement the governance framework in your organization and provide continued feedback

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