Article: The ethical use of AI in HR: Ericsson's HR head shares the approach to transparency


The ethical use of AI in HR: Ericsson's HR head shares the approach to transparency

Our proactive steps to address bias and privacy concerns reflect our commitment to ethical AI in HR. This fosters trust, inclusivity, and fairness, creating a supportive workplace for all, says Priyanka Anand.
The ethical use of AI in HR: Ericsson's HR head shares the approach to transparency

The topic of ethical HR remains one of the most contentious and hotly debated issues in boardrooms today. The increasing power and influence of artificial intelligence (AI), especially with advanced AI-driven models like Bard and ChatGPT, add complexity to these discussions. Concerns around data privacy, employee misuse of technology, and security vulnerabilities heighten the stakes, making ethical AI use in HR a pressing topic for the entire c-suite.

Despite AI's numerous business applications, chief human resource officers (CHROs) and board members face a critical decision: should they adopt every new technology out of fear of falling behind, or should they carefully evaluate the business impact of each new application?

In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Priyanka Anand, Vice President and Head of HR, South East Asia, Oceania & India at Ericsson, emphasised the importance of humanisation, urging leaders to pause and critically assess: "What exactly have we initiated, and how fast is it progressing?"

She also asserted how a significant concern is the gap between the recognised need for trustworthy AI in businesses and its actual implementation. As adaptive and generative AI tools evolve, establishing proper guidelines to ensure data trustworthiness and unbiasedness will become increasingly urgent.

Excerpts from the interview: 

What is your perspective on the role of AI in shaping the future of work, particularly within the HR domain? How does Ericsson utilise cutting-edge technologies?

Leveraging AI in HR presents exciting prospects, transforming operations and providing invaluable insights. At Ericsson, we believe that AI enriches recruitment, engagement, and learning, while underscoring the significance of preserving a human touch in all engagements. 

It amplifies work efficiency, thereby making business operations more robust and agile. AI excels in processing large volumes of data, complementing human abilities in creativity, critical thinking, and emotional understanding. Thereby fostering innovation and boosting productivity in today's workplace.

Here are some specific examples of how Ericsson utilises AI:

Eight-Fold: Our recruitment platform leverages AI to source, screen, and hire the best talent. This tool is instrumental in pre-screening candidates and calibrating recruitment requirements, resulting in time savings, quick sourcing, better quality of shortlisted candidates, and faster closure of the recruitment process. Additionally, it facilitates the creation of talent communities and interactive events with external universities, contributing to a diverse and robust talent pipeline.

Textio: This AI-augmented writing tool is vital in providing gender-neutral language in job advertisements and descriptions, demonstrating Ericsson's dedication to creating an inclusive and equitable workplace. With 100% utilisation across global teams, Textio plays a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion in our hiring processes.

Career Hub: Our innovative Career Hub platform empowers employees to take control of their career journeys, providing comprehensive career support and seamless exploration of opportunities aligned with their aspirations. Leveraging AI algorithms and the Job Skill (CCM) model, Career Hub ensures that employee profiles and preferences are meticulously matched to open positions based on skills and experience criteria, thereby facilitating career growth and development within the organisation.

For the campus hire program we have elements of AI - through gamified assessments by which the students undergo during the interview process.

Ericsson's integration of AI in HR reflects our commitment to leveraging innovation to enhance talent management, employee engagement, and career development. We believe by harnessing the power of AI alongside human expertise, we can create a workplace that is agile, inclusive, and geared towards continuous growth.

What measures does Ericsson undertake to ensure the ethical and responsible use of AI in HR practices, particularly concerning issues like bias and privacy? 

At Ericsson, we are deeply committed to ensuring the ethical and responsible use of AI in our HR practices, particularly addressing issues such as bias and privacy. We have implemented several measures to uphold ethical standards and mitigate potential biases in our AI-driven HR processes including:

Privacy Protection: Our organisation prioritises the protection of employee privacy in all AI-driven HR practices. This includes strict adherence to relevant data protection regulations such as GDPR and the implementation of robust security measures to safeguard employee data from unauthorised access or misuse. Additionally, we ensure that all our tools, vendors, and technologies adhere to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), further enhancing the protection of sensitive employee information.

Continuous Monitoring and Improvement: We continuously monitor the performance of our tools and systems to identify and address potential biases. This involves ongoing training and education for employees involved in tool development and deployment teams, ensuring a deep understanding of ethical considerations and potential biases associated with AI technologies. Moreover, we collaborate with vendors to utilise tools such as Textio, which is designed to structure gender-neutral job advertisements, thereby mitigating potential biases in recruitment processes.

The Code of Business Ethics (COBE) & Compass: The Code of Business Ethics is our Compass and one of Ericsson’s core pillars of corporate governance. The Compass guides us to conduct our business professionally, respectfully, and with integrity. We use technology, including artificial intelligence, in a responsible, fair, and ethical way. This includes focusing on human oversight to ensure safety, inclusiveness, transparency, data privacy, accountability, and overall societal and environmental well-being.

Our commitment to ethical and responsible AI use in HR practices is reflected in our proactive measures to address bias and privacy concerns. These measures are essential in fostering trust, inclusivity, and fairness in our HR processes, ultimately contributing to a more equitable and supportive workplace environment for all employees and candidates.

How does Ericsson measure the success of its Learning and Development (L&D) initiatives in terms of their impact on the overall company culture, employee engagement, and organisational performance?

Ericsson measures the success of its Learning and Development (L&D) initiatives in several ways:

Business Impact Analysis: We gather feedback from employees through in-depth evaluation methodologies to assess their perception of the impact of L&D initiatives on their skills, job satisfaction, and performance. This feedback provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of the programs in shaping the company culture and employee experience. Furthermore, we conduct a comprehensive analysis to quantify the impact of L&D initiatives on key business outcomes, such as productivity, innovation, and customer satisfaction. By correlating the implementation of specific L&D programs with tangible business results, we measure the return on investment and effectiveness of the initiatives.

Performance Metrics: Ericsson tracks key performance indicators such as employee retention rates, promotion rates, and performance evaluations to evaluate the impact of L&D initiatives on individual and organisational performance. By analysing these metrics, we gauge the extent to which the initiatives contribute to improved employee capabilities and overall business outcomes.

Alignment with Organisational Goals: We assess the extent to which L&D initiatives align with Ericsson’s strategic objectives and values. By examining how the initiatives support the development of skills that are critical to achieving organisational goals, we can gauge their impact on shaping the company culture and driving performance. Our recent update to a Job Skills model better aligns with our strategy and performance indicators through the definition and credentialing of key skills essential for our success.

Behaviour and Cultural Observations: We observe and assess changes in employee behaviour, interactions, and the overall organisational culture resulting from L&D initiatives. This involves monitoring how employees apply newly acquired skills, knowledge, and behaviours in their roles and how these contribute to a positive and productive work environment. An example of this is our cultural movement called “Ericsson on the Move,” which is a key driver for our organisational culture and includes L&D initiatives to help further the movement throughout our organisation. The implementation of the movement is then measured through our employee engagement survey.

This comprehensive approach allows us to assess the effectiveness of our L&D programs and make data-driven decisions to continually enhance our learning and development strategies.

What future trends and advancements do you foresee in the intersection of AI and HR, and how does Ericsson plan to stay at the forefront of these developments?

In the intersection of AI and HR, several future trends and advancements are likely to emerge, some of these include:

Personalised Employee Experiences: AI can be used to create personalised experiences for employees, including personalised learning and development plans, career path recommendations, and tailored benefits and rewards. This can enhance employee engagement and satisfaction while optimising talent management.

Predictive Analytics for HR: AI and machine learning algorithms can enable predictive analytics in HR, helping organisations forecast employee turnover, identify high-potential talent, and make data-driven decisions to optimise workforce planning and performance.

Enhanced Recruitment and Selection: AI-powered tools can streamline and optimise the recruitment process by automating candidate sourcing, screening, and matching, as well as leveraging predictive analytics to identify the best-fit candidates based on historical data and performance indicators.

AI-Powered Learning and Development: AI can revolutionise learning and development initiatives by enabling personalised, adaptive learning experiences, content curation, and skills gap analysis, leading to more effective training programs and skill development.  Our Job Skills model already utilises AI to create and maintain a current and dynamic digital catalogue.

AI-Powered Employee Well-being and Engagement: AI can be utilised to monitor and analyse employee well-being and engagement, proactively identifying potential issues and providing personalised interventions to support employee mental and emotional health.

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To stay at the forefront of these developments, we will continue to invest in AI and consider where additional investment is required. We are committed to:

Investing in AI and HR Technology: We are dedicated to evaluating cutting-edge AI technologies and HR platforms to leverage advanced analytics, predictive modelling, and AI-driven tools for talent management, workforce planning, and employee experience enhancement.

Collaboration with AI Experts and Partners: We understand the importance of collaborating with AI experts, research institutions, and technology partners to stay abreast of the latest advancements in AI and HR. By fostering partnerships, we aim to co-develop innovative solutions tailored to our specific needs.

Continuous Learning and Development: We prioritise continuous learning and development for HR professionals to build expertise in AI and data analytics. This will enable them to effectively leverage AI tools and insights to drive HR strategies and decision-making.

Ethical AI Implementation: We are committed to focusing on ethical and responsible AI implementation in HR practices prioritising transparency, accountability, and fairness in AI-powered decision-making processes.

By embracing these strategies, we aim to position ourselves as a leader in leveraging AI to transform HR practices, driving improved workforce management, talent development, and employee experience.

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Topics: Technology, #Artificial Intelligence, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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