Artificial Intelligence plays key role in Talent Management

Millennials have grown up freedom & choice while Gen X was raised with hardship and prudence, which is why they value stability over speed.


With three decades of experience in human resources industry, Amitabh Akhauri has spent over 16 years with Tata Steel. Now, chief human resource officer at Jindal Stainless Limited, Akhauri is seeing the rise of impatient millenials against the stable GenX. Akhauri discusses the evolution of HR with Business world People’s Himani Chandna. Edited Excerpts.

Adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) is on the increase and is said to perform much of the HR professional’s tasks. Do you believe that AI will support the HR or would replace the HR in the coming years? 

The role of HR can never be replaced with artificial intelligence. That said, AI can definitely strengthen the information backbone of HR. AI is based on data and its synthesis by way of logical algorithms. It is designed to facilitate decision making. However, it can only take us as far as mathematics can. Empathy, after all, can’t be hard coded in analytics. At Jindal Stainless, we acknowledge the role of AI, which is why we have started working extensively on data. Currently in India, external data in the field of human resources is limited. But this does not stop us from making sense of the mine of internal information available with us. We have an aggressive plan to slice and dice our past records to cull out trends and behaviors. We intend to use AI for gaining insights from our own wealth of experience. I agree that some functions of HR would get redundant with the introduction of artificial intelligence in our lives, as bots will overtake humans by sheer speed. 

How AI will change HR in talent acquisition and managing talent

It is without a doubt that AI will make talent management more objective. It will bring in higher objectivity and transparency in the end-to-end process. Even then, ‘gut feeling’ and human wisdom will constitute the ideological underpinnings of talent acquisition and management. They will not only define the logical construct of AI, but also influence its interpretation. In cases of apparent similarity of conditions, where bots will accept defeat, human judgment will come in as the differentiator. 

Millennials are the future of all businesses and there has been a surge in their hiring rate. In your experience, on average, do millennial workers have different values for motivation than other employees at your workplace?

Yes, millennials clearly have different values and aspirations as compared to Generation X. The Generation X was raised with hardship and prudence,which is why they value stability over speed. The Millennials, on the other hand, grew with freedom and choice. That explains their fearlessness with experimentation, highspeed multi-tasking and impatience for growth. They need and demand opportunities and growth, and both in quick succession. Their speed of working, speed to achieve and grow in their workplace, climb up the ladder, is all more strongly driven and aggressive. If millennials don’t find solace at one place, they are willing to try newer pastures. At Jindal Stainless, we ensure that they are able to find solace within the company. The HR of this company is constantly evolving to assimilate their physical and emotional needs, and be responsive to the spirit of the times. 

Has your workplace experienced retention challenges from millennials?

Jindal Stainless does not suffer from a high attrition rate. We take pride in the longevity of our employees with us. Though attrition happens at all levels of the organization, the tilt is definitely pronounced towards millennials. Furthermore, manufacturing industry with plants at remote locations does not hold the same allure to them as other sectors do. However, we are constantly trying to raise the standard of living for them and others in all our locations. That does not mean that we relax our yardstick to measure performance for anyone – be it millennials or Gen X. 

What are the common mistakes that candidates make during an interview?

The inability of candidates to articulate their strengths, and how they dovetail with the need of the role, is a challenge often encountered. Even if candidates have accomplished multiple goals in their career, lack of proper articulation breaks the flow. Candidates must be able to walk the interviewer through the journey of their strengths. They are often unable to link one achievement to the next, and string the entire career together, in a way that can enable the employer to visualize their growth. This story-telling requires careful and committed practice. There are no short-cuts. Another common mistake, particularly at mid to senior level, is citing the reason for leaving as saturation with the job. In other words, nothing new left to learn in that role. I don’t believe that is possible. The largest room in the world is the room for improvement. Perfection is a moving goal. There are always new ideas and new avenues waiting to be applied to work. The world is changing at too fast a speed for one to rest on one’s laurels. Hence, an attitude of ‘been there done that’ reflects more on the inabilities of a candidate than their abilities.


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