AI (artificial intelligence) and how to use it – has been a question central to many individuals and leaders over the past several years. Searching “how to use AI for business” on Google will result in over 2.8 billion results (as of the posting of this article). So yes, you could say AI for business is a hot topic.
As a small business ourselves, our team at TalentFund was eager to leverage the opportunities and efficiency – not to mention cost effectiveness! – that AI can offer to our small team. Heck, who isn't trying to make their manpower multiplied at a minimal cost.
But where to start?
Intimidated…heck yes. Knowledgeable…absolutely not. And at the core of our hesitance: how to balance the power of AI with the human touch that is so core to our business and our organization’s foundation?! After all, we hold the foundational belief that people are the core of what makes a business successful. People are the core of the organization, its heartbeat and a company's biggest asset (oftentimes literally a company’s biggest expense!). AND the force that creates value and drives culture in an organization.
As a team looking to embrace the power of AI - while not replacing the human value that is core to our beliefs, here are some tips on how we have balanced the two. And while we are no experts, these tips might help other small businesses balance the interest in embracing the power of AI with the desire to maintain the value and power of your people.
Embrace AI with your existing staff: A Collaboration, not Replacement
One of the key principles we hold is that AI should be seen as a collaborator rather than a replacement for human staff. AI should not be viewed in an "OR" situation but rather an "AND" situation. The challenge lies in identifying the areas where AI can make the workload more efficient and convenient, allowing human staff to focus on what they do best – understanding the nuances of human relationships.
For instance, AI can be instrumental in automating administrative tasks such as ata management. This frees up your team to engage in meaningful interactions with candidates and clients, where their emotional intelligence, communication skills, and industry expertise come to the fore. This way, you ensure that the human touch remains at the heart of your business, while AI takes care of the repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
Develop Your Teams for the Human Experience
AI's ability to streamline operations and reduce workload should provide the opportunity for teams to invest in creating the best human experience possible. Recognize where your team can deliver that invaluable human touch and develop that for your teams - create a sense of problem-solving, creativity, emotional intelligence and encourage your team to leverage the knowledge they have about your business.
Within our organization, we understand that in the staffing and recruiting industry, personal relationships, and an understanding of client and candidate needs are paramount. We encourage our teams to develop their problem-solving, creativity, and emotional intelligence. These are the aspects that make a recruiter truly exceptional. Emotional intelligence, in particular, plays a crucial role in understanding the unique needs, aspirations, and concerns of candidates and clients. By focusing on developing these skills, our team can deliver the human touch that no machine can replicate.
Encourage Learning and Adaptation
Change, especially in the form of technological advancements like AI, can be intimidating. Ensure that your team is comfortable and adept with the evolving landscape by fostering a culture of learning and development. Make it exciting to learn. Make it okay to fail. Make it important to embrace change and new. Encouraging our employees to embrace technological advances, including AI, can yield significant benefits.
This culture of learning not only keeps your team updated with emerging trends and technologies but also opens up new career opportunities within the organization. We believe that a well-informed and adaptable team is an asset to business - regardless of the industry. Consider this - believe it or not, there are organization's still operating on mostly paper environments in 2023. Think about the inefficiencies and waste all because they have stayed consistent, versus embracing change.
Fostering change, learning and adaptation enables your organization to maintain a competitive edge in the industry, while also reducing turnover as employees recognize the value in staying and growing with your organization.
There is undoubtedly tremendous potential of AI – much of which we may not even know about - in enhancing operational efficiency for businesses of all sizes. However, we remain steadfast in our belief that people are at the core of our business's success. The personal experience, emotional intelligence, creative thinking and problem solving and the touch that (human) employees bring to the table are irreplaceable.
We’ve seen success both within our team and for our clients with integration - integrating AI as a collaborative partner rather than a substitute. This ensures that AI and human staff work together, leveraging each other's strengths. We have also encouraged our teams to invest in their human touch and emotional intelligence skills, recognizing these as essential differentiators in our industry. Furthermore, it is essential, now more than ever, to foster a culture of learning and development to help our employees embrace technological advances and adapt to changing landscapes.
In a world where the rapid advancement of technology is the norm, finding the right balance between AI and the human element is crucial. Companies face competitive disadvantages, employee disengagement or customer disloyalty if they miss the mark with AI. The right approach ensures that companies are well-equipped to provide the personalized, human touch that their clients, customers and employees deserve while benefiting from the operational efficiency that AI brings to business. It's not AI "OR" humans; it's AI "AND" humans, working together for a brighter, more efficient future.