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AI in Human Resources – dangerous to employee well-being?

HR analytics is studying all people’s processes, functions, challenges, and opportunities at work to elevate these systems and achieve sustainable business success. The active use of advanced analytics can improve the way organisations identify, attract, develop, and retain talent dramatically. On the other hand decisions supported by data and algorithms may be hiding risks for employees as well as employers that most companies do not even consider.

On November 4, 2021, this question and topics were examined from different perspectives – by renowned speakers from both the academic and business environment.

With the event generously hosted by the Digital Society Initiative at the University of Zurich, Markus Christen (UZH) and Karin Lange (die Mobiliar) opened the event – both on the leadership team of the Data Ethics Expert Group of the data innovation alliance.

Dr. Simon Schafheitle from the Institute for Work and Employment Research at the University of St. Gallen showed that people analytics are only effective if they can be enacted in a trust-enabling way. The conclusion was very clear:

“If your PA makes your employees visible:
Let them participate in the design and use and explicitly forego automation.
If your PA bears automation potential:
Allow your employees to withdraw OR explain and justify its “raison d’être” comprehensively!”

Nadia Fischer of witty works – a company that uses its product to help companies formulate job ads in such a way that the open positions can appeal to all types of talent – proved to the audience that we all have cultivated a language bias. With the help of artificial intelligence, this can be made visible and corrected.

Finally, the Mobiliar Lab for Analytics, represented by Mara Nägelin and Jasmine Kerr, used a research project on digital stress intervention to demonstrate on the one hand the great benefits for health management within companies – but also the great potential ethical dangers. In an exemplary manner, the scientists had clarified and cleared up all ethical implications in advance before the project started and repeatedly checked whether privacy and informational self- determination were guaranteed.

Three examples of how digital responsibilities can and must be assumed in order to continue to make our world worth living – and working – in in the future and not generate black boxes!

The panel discussion with the speakers continued in a lively manner during the subsequent aperitif. The audience agreed: A successful event with valuable insights on an important topic.