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AI for HR; sneak peek at Veran’s Vanguard Research - Part 2

Updated: Feb 7, 2019

Part 2 of 3

Back in December, we presented a sneak peek of our research into how HR can leverage Automation and AI before launching 2019 as our year of AI & Automation. 2019 is now here, and so too is the second instalment, this time exploring how to set the level of ambition in your organisation and which areas of HR you should target to make this a reality.

In the first part of this blog series we included the above diagram showing what we mean by AI. This time we will be giving you a better sense of which type of Automation or AI in the diagram you should aim for.

Setting the level of ambition

The key to working out which type of automation or AI you should aim for is in defining the business problem before looking for a solution. Not all challenges need Connected AI or even Deep Learning and these can be more complicated and costly to implement than Automation and RPA.

We’ve simplified the decision of which level of technology to target with this diagram:

If your business challenge or risk is due to slow or broken processes, Automation or RPA is a good solution. If the challenge involves a large quantity of structured or unstructured data which might currently be processed by people using defined rules and patterns, this could be resolved with Predictive Analytics. If you are looking for new trends and insights not found by your existing team and rules, or you want to leverage data from outside your organisation such as industry benchmarks, you should think about Deep Learning. And finally if the challenge you are trying to resolve is based on multiple systems and databases that create a poor and disjointed user experience, you might want to look at Narrow or Connected AI.

Clearly there is crossover between these areas, with all types of Automation and AI arguably improving process, data and user experience. However, we find this is a useful way to make AI digestible, and to help decide where on the spectrum you should look, to resolve certain business challenges.

Based on our research, we recommend starting with simple process automation. This can be designed, built, tested and deployed in just 6-12 weeks with huge benefits being realised almost immediately.

Which areas of HR do I prioritise?

A good place to begin is looking at processes or process steps that involve entering or manipulating data in spreadsheets, are high volume often managed by large teams, where there are high error rates or fraud and where there is a significant backlog of processes or cases to work through.

It is also important to re-design and optimise your end to end process before looking for opportunities to automate. We’ve spoken to all the main RPA vendors and they say that too often, businesses automate bad processes.

Start with a small and simple section of the process rather than the whole thing, so that you build an understanding of the tools available, their functionality, how they work and how to embed change in your organisation. The learnings from this pilot can then be applied to the next section or trial, creating an agile and constantly improving methodology. We like to call these more basic areas the low hanging fruit which help you assess your readiness for wider use, and to gauge and action feedback from key stakeholders around the business.

Based on the above criteria, the areas and processes we see many businesses starting with are;

1. Recruitment

  • Using automation to scan CVs for key words and phrases

  • Predicting which candidates will fit culturally, and perform well in the business

  • Scheduling interviews

  • Conducting video interviews either with a human interviewer or with the technology itself

  • Collecting feedback from interviewers and making recommendations on next steps based on this feedback

  • Sending personalised and timely feedback to unsuccessful candidates

  • Automating the creation and distribution of offer letters

2. Onboarding

  • Collecting employee data from the new joiner

  • Entering new joiner data into all the relevant spreadsheets and systems

  • Alerting all relevant teams of the new joiner and prompting them to carry out their associated tasks at the right time

  • Guiding the new joiner through training and compliance material

  • Monitoring and reporting the completion of training

  • Providing a single user experience from when a candidate first applies, through to when they start on day 1

One exercise we run during our free Automation workshops is identifying the areas with the most significant risk and pain in this circle of HR areas. We describe some of the benefits that can be included in an automation business case and describe the tangible benefits that other businesses have seen in these areas.

We are finding that most businesses have a technology budget and a keen interest in finding out how automation and AI can support their strategy.

Understanding where you are now and where you want to be

During our presentation in December we previewed the 9 characteristics that we identified through our interviews with Vanguard organisations that appear to be driving pioneering HR departments who are leading the deployment of Intelligent HR. These are shown below:

These nine factors form the basis of our Intelligent HR assessment tool. The interactive tool will help you explore how relevant these attributes are for your business, where you would like to be by the end of 2019, and where the opportunities are for leveraging AI, Robotics and Automation. The tool then gives you practical steps for advancing your maturity in each area, leveraging the experience and lessons learnt from your peers.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this blog series where we’ll be highlighting the tangible benefits of AI, Robotics and Automation giving you some substantive examples from our Vanguard companies and others.

Missed out first time round?

Don’t panic! We’ve scheduled a second date for the AI, Robotics and Automation Breakfast. The event will;

  • Demystify and define AI and Automation in HR

  • Share practical case studies of leading HR teams leveraging emergent technology

  • Explore the challenges and lessons learnt from early adopters

  • Show you how to get started or move further, on your journey to Intelligent HR

Event details

When: 13th February from 9.00am until 11.30am Where: The Leather Market (Skinners café in the courtyard) | Weston Street | London SE1 3ER How do I register: you can register your interest here.

Places are limited, so don’t miss out. Register today!

If you have any questions or want to know more please email

AI in HR networking party

We’d also love you to join us for a practical and energising party exploring Automation and AI with Kim Travers, the Head of HR Services at Transport for London. For more information, click here.


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