How IBM is Using AI to Improve Hiring and to Retain and Retrain Employees

Apr 04

“We are the number one destination for Gen Z on Glassdoor,” says IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. “I get 8,000 resumes a day. I don’t make them go hunt for jobs. The AI talks to them and we ask very nicely and get permission, share this with me, share that with me, share this LinkedIn review with me, share this resume, and instead of you looking for jobs I’ll serve up jobs to you that actually match you. Our match rate of applying is 30 percent. With anybody else, it’s about nine percent.”

Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, discusses how they are using AI to improve hiring and to retain and retrain employees in an interview on CNBC:

AI Will Change 100 Percent of Jobs

The original genesis of this was a belief that AI will change 100 percent of jobs. But if you’re going to really get the benefit of it you have to change how the work is done. We chose to make HR, my HR leader chose to make HR, really the role model example of that. She has done a fantastic job putting AI in end to end. She tracks (the value of this AI approach) and we have now just from the AI alone, my HR function has saved $300 million from just doing that piece of it. In part, it helps the employees, because it completely makes HR employee centric. You don’t do things to people, you do it for them. It’s consumer-centric because of how we apply the AI. The other part of it is there’s productivity on the other side. Both are important right now.

Our experience has been and I’ll just use HR as an example. On the one hand, we were able to replace a lot of routine work. In the case of HR, our HR staffing went down by 30 percent. However, the people then doing the job of HR, they do far more non-routine work, their salaries all went up or their skills went up with it. You’re going to have this trade-off where technology will drive productivity but then it will also drive you and me to do our job different. It sits at that intersection.

Good for the Employee and Really Good for Business

This includes how we recruit today. We are the number one destination for Gen Z on Glassdoor. I get 8,000 resumes a day. I don’t make them go hunt for jobs. The AI talks to them and we ask very nicely and get permission, share this with me, share that with me, share this LinkedIn review with me, share this resume, and instead of you looking for jobs I’ll serve up jobs to you that actually match you. Our match rate of applying is 30 percent. With anybody else, it’s about nine percent.

It just shows this effectiveness for using the AI for things like a manager who says I’m doing salary. We do something to be sure salaries are fair, no unconscious biases that are in there, and then as well, proactive retention. That is the ability to use many pieces of data to say this person is likely to quit in the next six months, so do something now so that never enters their mind. We’re 95 percent accurate and have saved $300 million in replacement costs from that. These are both good for the employee and it’s really good for business.

We’ve Got to Make This Era of Technology More Inclusive

It’s not just driven by that (job demand driven by booming economy). I think you’ve got married here this idea that technology is going to change everyone’s job. It means reskilling of your current population. This is also so they’ve got the skills that apply for the future. I think this point of the word transparency, being clear with every employee, is their skill in the market hot or not so needed (based on) demand? Also, for your strategy, is it needed or won’t be needed for the future? We update that every quarter, that matrix, and we share it with employees. They know where they are and they say yes, I’ve got to move here and we use AI to help them move to a new area.

What’s happening in the market, whether or not there were IPOs, this would be happening anyways, this remake of skills. It means reskilling your current population. It means a strong belief that we’ve got to make this era of technology more inclusive. Six-year high schools where community colleges and high schools are combined together. We’ve been working with 500 other companies and with those schools and there’s a pipeline of 125,000 kids coming through. Now, 15 percent of our hiring was of less than 4-year college graduates. If you’re going to make this era inclusive, the technology is moving so fast, you’ve got to make it so more people can have a job in this world.

I just shared with the CHROs, one of the number one issues we see is we as employers over-spec the jobs that we go to hire for. We write down so many credentials they should have and it’s not true. If you’re your cyber analyst, which there’s going to be two million open jobs, let me tell you how many people can actually fill that that don’t have to have all those credentials. If I just talked about making this era for this country inclusive it’s that. It’s 15 percent and particularly the middle of the country is where we’ve done that hiring.

How IBM is Using AI to Improve Hiring and to Retain and Retrain Employees

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