AI in HR: applications, benefits and examples.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already transforming the human resources (HR) function. Discover how HR professionals can leverage AI to remain competitive across recruiting, talent management and employee experience.


Learn about AI in HR.

Our guide to AI and HR explores how leaders are using AI to build a business fit for the future. Navigate to each of the key sections using the links on the right.


What is AI in HR?

The workplace of the twenty-first century has been defined by rapid technological evolutions. From paper to computers to the cloud, forward-thinking businesses have always been at the forefront of that change. But AI technology isn’t just a future trajectory – it’s already an integral part of today’s business landscape. In order to stay ahead, it’s critical that businesses adopt AI technologies and the innovations they enable.

For HR, AI has proven to be a decisive factor in enabling a streamlined recruiting process, personalised career development and improved employee engagement – and that’s just the start. According to Workday Research, 80% of business leaders say that AI and ML help employees at their company work more efficiently and make better decisions. Before we explore those efficiencies in greater detail, let’s define some essential AI terms:

  • Artificial intelligence refers to machines that can perform tasks typically seen as requiring human intelligence. By analysing data, recognising patterns and making predictions at greater speed and scale, AI enhances human productivity.
  • Machine learning (ML) is a subfield of AI that’s focused on how machines learn and interpret data through repetition. ML models use data and self-modifying methods to generate progressively stronger predictions and content.
  • Generative AI refers to AI algorithms that can generate new data or content such as images, music or text. By learning the structure of existing datasets, generative AI models learn to generate new data with similar qualities.
  • Natural language processing (NLP) is machine learning technology that helps machines understand, interpret and generate human language. NLP tools enable speech recognition, sentiment analysis and real-time responses to questions.

By using solutions with AI embedded at their core, HR leaders are able to make smarter decisions faster. Leaders can optimise business outcomes, understand and utilise workers’ skills with a strategic outlook, and empower their workforce with insights brought forward by AI. Whether identifying the correct candidate for a new role, or surfacing relevant employee feedback, AI gives HR teams the support they need to succeed.

“Workday’s use of AI and ML is powering intelligent services that help us support our people, build capability in future skills, and provide that powerful user experience.” 

– Chief People Officer, Elders


How is AI used in HR?

As AI continues to make headlines for its consumer applications, mostly as a result of text and images created by generative AI, the business case for AI is only growing stronger. With HR teams generating and analysing more data than ever before, the key to unlocking the power of that workforce data lies with AI.

In the next section, we'll outline some important use cases for AI in HR. However, it's worth noting that what makes AI such an important inclusion for organisations is its versatility. Today, AI is already changing how businesses think about skills, hiring and culture, but tomorrow, the opportunities will continue to multiply. That's why Workday has embedded AI and ML at the heart of Workday Human Capital Management.

With that in mind, here are the three areas where Workday AI is making the biggest waves in HR:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Talent management
  3. Employee experience

“Understanding, let alone matching, workers’ skills to business needs simply isn’t possible without AI and ML tools that help make sense of all the data.”

– David Somers, Group General Manager of Products for the Office of the CHRO, Workday

The role of AI in recruiting

Finding the right candidate for the right role can be a time-consuming process for recruitment teams. Worse, a slow hiring process can deter more desirable prospects – a major potential obstacle in a consistently competitive job market. With AI, hiring is both a smoother and more informed process, empowering recruiters to be key strategic advisors. These are three examples of how AI is already proving decisive for Workday users:

  • Reducing repetitive manual tasks AI can assist in screening large volumes of job applications to identify candidates with the right skills for the role. Likewise, generative AI can help in generating job requisitions. By automating labour-intensive tasks while keeping humans in control of all major talent acquisition decisions, you enable greater efficiency and stronger results.
  • Identifying the right skills for your business Developing a strong skills framework should begin at the first point of contact with a prospective new employee. By analysing skills data captured during recruiting, Workday Skills Cloud uses AI and ML technology to suggest jobs, provide skills recommendations and power intelligent skills-based hiring.
  • Expanding and diversifying candidate pools Without the right data outlook, companies may inadvertently recruit employees who are similar to their current talent – without consideration of hiring for the emerging skill sets needed to grow the business. Workday skills intelligence foundation helps you build diverse teams by expanding candidate pools with equitable, AI-driven job recommendations.

The role of AI in talent management

Retaining and fostering top talent is an evergreen priority for organisations, and a significant factor of success is having timely, data-driven insights. AI-embedded HR solutions surface employee insights when they’re relevant, enabling business leaders to support talent at every stage of the lifecycle, from personalised employee onboarding to skills learning and development. Here are three areas where AI is accelerating the development of high-performing and engaged teams:

  • Understanding your skills portfolio Without proper oversight, disconnected skills management systems often result in unnecessary skills gaps and friction with employees. Workday connects your talent and skills data as the building blocks of a modern skills-based talent strategy. Not only that, but Workday Skills Cloud enables users to import and normalise external skills data, connecting skills data from multiple sources for stronger insights.
  • Generating tailored career development When employees receive one-size-fits-all development opportunities, turnover rises. Working from large datasets, including data provided by employees, AI can generate career paths based on personal goals. By suggesting individualised gigs, mentors and opportunities for internal mobility, you ensure employees see their future career at your company.
  • Creating individual learning pathways In addition to career development, AI can assist in automating personalised learning. By recommending training courses based on an employee’s specific learning styles and skills gaps, AI makes each employee’s needs a priority. In addition, AI-generated manager actions help reduce pressure on your people leaders, empowering them to confidently support their teams.

The role of AI in employee experience

Just as technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, so too do employee expectations. Alongside shifting individual priorities, those evolving expectations make creating a satisfying employee experience at scale increasingly complex. According to the Workday “AI IQ: Insights on Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise” global study of 1,000 business decision-makers, three-quarters of responders feel pressure to increase investments in AI and ML to improve the employee experience. Here are three ways that the HR management team of the future is already creating a more engaged workforce.

  • Streamlining manager and employee workflows Every time an employee hits friction in their day-to-day workflow, that’s an example of employee experience failing. Generating data-driven insights and recommendations is important – but how do your employees and managers access that data? Workday's unified platform approach empowers users to get the best out of AI, whether at their desk or on the go.
  • Surfacing employee feedback on specific topics Gauging the success of employee experience initiatives requires regular employee surveying, but surfacing specific topics can be difficult. Using NLP technology, our employee survey platform Workday Peakon Employee Voice enables users to search employee feedback for relevant comments. By intelligently determining the contextual meaning of each search, you can identify what’s important to employees in their own words.
  • Summarising large amounts of feedback Even after surfacing relevant comments, reading through large amounts of employee feedback is time-consuming. Since NLP technology can infer contextual meaning, it can also succinctly summarise high volumes of language data. Our NLP technology provides managers with top-level insights sourced from feedback, freeing up time for them to take direct action.

Did you know?

65% of respondents in the Workday “AI IQ: Insights on Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise” survey say existing AI and ML deployments improved the employee experience.


What are the HR benefits of AI software?

The modern CHRO needs to be omni-present, utilising to-the-minute data on nearly every aspect of the employee lifecycle. By embracing AI tools, HR professionals can transform the HR function and remain at the forefront of strategy and planning. Leaders who lean on old-fashioned manual processes risk being overwhelmed by the oncoming tidal wave of information.

According to the Workday “AI IQ” global study, 99% of decision-makers believe investing in AI leads to business benefits. The main reasons include improving decision-making (41%), automating business processes (35%) and improved employee retention/experience (32%). Here are just a handful of the areas where AI is already pushing improved performance for HR:

  • Reducing repetitive manual tasks, freeing up employees to focus on the big picture
  • Generating content, such as job descriptions, knowledge articles and career plans
  • Enabling people leaders to make data-driven decisions with increased speed and accuracy
  • Importing external skills data and relating it to existing data, creating an open and connected skills ecosystem
  • Analysing skills, understanding their relationships and mapping those insights to a workforce at scale
  • Connecting the right internal or external candidate to the right role
  • Creating long-term career and learning pathways specific to each individual
  • Empowering workers with personalised employee experiences, driving engagement

The time for AI is now

The majority of organisations are already conscious of AI when purchasing new solutions, but investment in skills and resources is still lacking. HR leaders must be proactive in implementing AI and overseeing change management for their business to prevail.


of responding organisations are cognisant of AI and ML when making technology purchasing decisions.*


of respondents believe a lack of resources with needed skills is the main reason their organisation’s AI and ML use is falling short of expectations.

*Workday report “AI IQ: Insights on Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise”


What is the future of AI and HR?

Looking to the future, AI represents an incredible opportunity for HR leaders. The shift to a skills-based economy has required HR teams to step up to a strategic function. In the new world of work, AI will be a requisite for any organisation that wants to stay ahead. That’s why the market leaders of tomorrow are investing in AI today.

Identifying the right AI solution requires two things: transparency and accountability. Be wary of organisations that describe their products as “AI powered” with limited specifics. Workday is the only major HCM provider that embeds AI and ML into the core of its applications. Rather than battling with complicated integrations, our solutions natively leverage AI and ML during the workflow.

Our “AI IQ” report shows that only 29% of business leaders are very confident that AI is currently applied ethically. At Workday, we’ve been proactive in developing responsible AI, keeping human decision makers in the loop and adhering to key ethical principles. In addition to our Responsible AI programme, which provides governance in defining procedures for the development and management of AI at Workday, we're committed to the belief that AI should:

  • Amplify human potential
  • Positively impact society
  • Champion transparency and fairness
  • Deliver on our commitment to data privacy and protection

With more than 65 million users on the same version of Workday, our AI isn’t only trustworthy, it’s also adaptive. Learn more about how Workday can support you in creating the HR function of the future.


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