A Gartner survey of 179 HR leaders in January this year has revealed that 38% of them are piloting, planning implementation, or have already implemented generative AI (GenAI) – up from 19% in June 2023.
The top three use cases respondents said that they are prioritising include:

* HR Service Delivery: Employee-facing chatbot (43%).

* HR Operations: Administrative tasks, policies, document generation (42%).

* Recruiting: Job descriptions and skills data (41%).

“More organisations are moving from exploring how GenAI might be used to implementing solutions,” says Dion Love, vice-president of advisory in the Gartner HR practice. “Yet, the same Gartner survey revealed that 67% of HR leaders reported they do not plan to add any GenAI related roles to their function in the next 12 months.”

The expected headcount change within the HR function due to GenAI adoption has decreased: in January 2024, the average change expected by respondents to Gartner’s survey was a decline of 5,1% versus June 2023 when the average expected change in HR headcount was a 6,7% decrease.

“As HR leaders experiment with GenAI solutions it remains unknown at this point how they will potentially affect organisation’s HR headcount,” says Eser Rizaoglu, senior director analyst in the Gartner HR practice. “HR must work with business leaders across the organisation to assess how GenAI investments should change their teams’ roles and workflows, and the impact to current employees and future hiring needs.”

Two-thirds of HR leaders said that they would use cost and productivity gains from using GenAI to reallocate impacted employees to new roles within the organisation; 46% said they would stop backfilling roles arising due to natural attrition.

The Gartner survey revealed that HR functions are at various stages of helping their organisations prepare for the introduction of GenAI:

* Updating development plans to upskill employees to use AI and related technologies in their work (34%).

* Identifying talent based on AI/GenAI skills & proficiency (29%).

* Preparing employees whose work will be augmented by AI-related automation (28%).

Employers are also taking steps to ensure their workforce is trained on how to use GenAI once implemented. More than one-third of the 116 respondents said that their HR function is training their organisation’s general employee population; 20% reported that they are training executives. Yet, 41% of HR leaders said that they have not begun training employees on GenAI.

“The organisations that are able to leverage GenAI to the fullest – and generate the most ROI – will be those that trust and empower their HR function to work with business leaders to pilot new programmes, add new roles, and train their workforce,” adds Rizaoglu.