Content generation tools are an emerging way for content creators of all kinds to get an artificial intelligence (AI) assist. These tools—like Jarvis, Writesonic, Concured and more—are being used by news organizations and others to automatically generate content. The technology is still somewhat new and somewhat clunky, but it holds promise. In fact, organizations like the Associated Press have been using this technology for a few years now to generate content of various kinds.
But journalists and content creators aren't the only ones who can benefit from this technology by finding efficiencies and streamlining repetitive tasks. There are opportunities for HR, as well.
The use of AI technology is still limited in HR environments, with some exceptions.
Victoria Mendoza, CEO of Media Peanut, is familiar with content creation tools and uses them in recruiting. "As a tech expert and CEO of Media Peanut, I am usually hands-on in our hiring process as we are a small-sized company," she said.
She regularly uses AI writing software to lessen that load, especially for e-mail content creation and other HR and administrative tasks.
For instance, Mendoza said she uses Writesonic for creating content "from hiring ad titles to job descriptions that can quickly be uploaded on Facebook or LinkedIn." She also pointed out that "Writesonic's Facebook Ads generation tools generate hundreds of Facebook Ads as well as provide templates for quick content generation."
Media Peanut recently conducted research on how HR professionals are using automated content creation. Responses from 1,319 HR professionals indicated that:
- They use AI to rewrite and enhance e-mails that they originally crafted themselves (34 percent).
- They use AI to write initial job description templates, then refine details by hand (21 percent).
- Some (45 percent) use no AI writing tool at all; of these, though, 61 percent said they plan to incorporate AI in some manner into their daily workflow within the next two years.
Those already using automation to help create content of various kinds are finding it can help make their departments more effective and productive.
Opportunities for HR
There are a number of ways that HR organizations could leverage automated content creation tools to save time and streamline processes.
At IMI People, HR lead Patricia Sharkey, SHRM-SCP, said automation "has been a major help in raising our department's productivity and freeing up our lean HR team to focus on the things we really enjoy doing, rather than getting bogged down in paperwork and data for 1,500 employees based around the world."
The company's automated communications technology was created internally. The HR team, she said, "is really playing a pivotal role in how that is continuing to develop."
IMI People uses automated content creation tools for:
- Employee engagement. Each week, a "Rhonda AI" persona sends out automated questionnaires asking employees to rate their week's experiences on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being highest. If employees indicate a score of 2 or lower, the CEO is notified and will call the employee's manager and, in some cases, the employee, to check in. The process, Sharkey said, allows the company to maintain a real-time check on the pulse of the employee engagement environment. "Truly understanding how our employees regularly feel is job number one in today's climate," she said.
- Safety. IMI People has worksites spanning various cities, states and countries, so having a simplified way to disseminate important safety information is vital, Sharkey said. That's particularly true with messaging related to COVID-19, she said. "Rhonda enables us to screen employees to ensure we have a healthy workplace."
- Employee reviews. IMI People is using Rhonda automation as part of the employee review process for the first time this year. Both employees and managers weigh in via text. The AI platform then compiles the data, and it prompts and reminds the manager to schedule an in-person call. Using this process, Starkey said, "we were able to save at least three weeks of back-and-forth and paperwork during this year's review process."
- Benefits. Rhonda also prompts and reminds employees to fill out their benefits enrollment forms and other documents, saving time and redundant e-mails, Sharkey said.
Because IMI People is an international company, all of the automation is bilingual, she said, to eliminate potential language barriers.
The technology is still evolving, and there are some potential downfalls in the use of automated content generation tools.
One of the most universal concerns with technology, Sharkey said, is the potential that it may dehumanize the employee experience—it can feel cold and technical to have AI checking in on employees.
But, she noted, "when harnessed correctly, these tools stand to make us more connected." Automation, she said, can ensure that "no one is lost within the system."
It's important, she said, to address any potential employee concerns up front—particularly those that HR staff might have related to the impact on their jobs. She recommends "communicating with the staff in a way that allows them to understand and embrace the new technology, rather than fearing it."
Communicate the benefits, and address potential concerns, Sharkey said.
"Emphasize that this is an employee enhancement, not an employee replacement, that will allow them to eliminate redundant tasks to focus on their core strengths," she added.
In considering any kind of automation, Sharkey said, it's critical to first think of your unique workforce and its needs—in this case, its communication needs.
At IMI People, she said, "it is not a given that every employee has a smartphone or even a computer." Because of this, knowing that every employee does have some kind of cellphone, the company decided to make sure their automation tools pushed content via text message.
"As an HR manager, it's important to truly understand who is in your company and for whom the technology will be adapted," she said.
It's also critical to present the return-on-investment of the technology to the CEO to get support from the top—and then to get buy-in from managers.
"If they don't support it, it's not going to happen in the field," Sharkey concluded.
Lin Grensing-Pophal is a freelance writer in Chippewa Falls, Wis.