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HR turning to AI for relief from admin burden, burnout as workload rises: Study

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April 4, 2024
By Talent Canada

Photo: Adobe Stock

HR professionals are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) to ease the burden of admin jobs, take away time-consuming tasks, and ultimately ease burnout, according to a new global report from Sage.

The annual report, The Changing Face of HR, surveyed more than 1,000 HR leaders across a range of sectors and countries. It found that 77 per cent believe AI has the potential to revolutionize ways of working within their company. And they’re feeling the heat — 95 per cent report an increase in workload over the past year and nine in 10 (91 per cent) are seeing an increase in responsibilities.

“Our findings show that HR professionals are facing increasing pressure to deliver results while managing an ever-growing list of responsibilities,” said Amanda Cusdin, chief people officer at Sage.

“However, the industry and its people are resilient and those that embrace technology and AI will gain more time back, which we know is so invaluable when you’re trying to avoid burnout. As a result, HR professionals will be able to shift their focus’ to areas of their jobs that they find more valuable, such as people strategies, which in turn can increase job satisfaction.”


Key findings

The research also revealed that:

  • Amount of work (80 per cent), low morale and burnout of employees (79 per cent) and limited budgets (79 per cent) are the top challenges keeping HR professionals up at night
  • 80 per cent of HR professionals believe the role of HR will change considerably due to AI
  • 71 per cent of HR professionals believe implementing AI in HR tasks will create more jobs
  • 45 per cent of HR leaders are currently using HR metrics, 44 per cent are utilizing automation, and 43 per cent employing cloud HR solutions, showing a significant shift towards automation and analytics

The report also highlighted some areas of focus, with more than half (56 per cent) of HR leaders reporting that they need more technology to operate effectively. Training was identified as key to taking advantage of the benefits of technology with 79 per cent agreeing that education was needed to fully capitalize on AI’s capabilities.

Future outlook

Looking forward to the future, the top three areas HR professionals want to spend more time on are strategic planning (61 per cent), using data to drive decision-making (59 per cent) and employee engagement (59 per cent).

This demonstrates a fundamental shift from paperwork to people strategies, meaning that there is a need to automate labour-intensive HR admin tasks, according to Sage. Although 68 per cent say over half of the HR processes in their organization are automated, 79 per cent say more could be automated to improve efficiency.

Interestingly, the research also revealed a gap between small businesses (57 per cent) and medium businesses (80 per cent) in terms of automation levels, indicating that smaller companies may benefit from investing in HR technology to keep up with larger competitors.

Survey methodology

More than 1,000 HR leaders across a range of sectors were surveyed across the following countries: US, UK, Germany, South Africa, Canada, Spain, France. 50 per cent of respondents were from small businesses (50-249 employees) and 50 per cent of respondents were from medium businesses (250-2,500 employees).

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