3 Ways Natural Language Processing (NLP) Will Transform HR in 2019


The HR function sits on a data goldmine. We explore how NLP can help HR teams turn this data into valuable insights to drive business performance.

Data is the bedrock of 21st century HR and organizations have been obsessing over data analytics over the past couple of years – and with good reason. Data analytics has helped HR become more objective and strategic. As a business function that historically been a key consumer and producer of vast amounts of data, HR has been slow to embrace the promise of analytics.

However, that is changing now. With the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) capabilities within the HR function, HR teams have been able to streamline their analysis efforts to gather meaningful insights that inform their strategy.

While the role of AI and ML has been covered extensively over the last two years, NLP is still a new concept in the world of HR. So, before we dive into how NLP can transform the HR function, let’s take a look at what it means and how HR teams are leveraging it in 2019.

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What is Natural Language Processing (NLP)?

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is defined as a branch of artificial intelligence that helps algorithms to interpret written and spoken languages such as English, Spanish, and French. NLP uses multiple disciplines such as computer science and computational linguistics to bridge the gap between human language and computer understanding.

For instance, when you ask Siri to make a restaurant reservation for you, Siri uses NLP algorithms to decipher your intent based on your command. NLP algorithms can sense the difference when you say, “book a table for two at Morton’s Steakhouse at 8 PM tomorrow,” and when you say, “book a table for two at Morton’s.” If it’s the latter, Siri will follow up with a question like, “What time do you want me to book you a table at Morton’s Steakhouse?” and when you say, “8 PM, tomorrow,” Siri will understand and correlate that this is a continuation of the last message where you asked it to make a reservation.

NLP algorithms today can analyze more language-based data than humans in a more consistent and unbiased way. Considering the complexity of languages – the dialects, the grammar and syntax rules, terms, and slang, NLP is crucial to scaling language-related tasks and often does a much better job than humans.

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The Role of Natural Language Processing in HR

As a business function that is heavily reliant on human communication, NLP can be applied to the first resume screening to the exit interview. Additionally, as HR chatbots and text analytics become ubiquitous across the HR function, NLP can help HR teams turn massive amounts of text into quantifiable insights almost instantaneously. This can be used to inform decisions about retention, engagement, the employee experience, and even employee performance. So, how can HR leverage NLP solutions to improve its efficacy and streamline processes?

Let’s look at some of the critical applications of NLP in HR:

1. NLP in Recruitment

As a recruitment professional, you understand how challenging it can be to sift through multiple resumes. And as a result, most recruiters tend to focus on keywords when screening resumes. This practice is in effect, one of the most inefficient and inaccurate methods to select a candidate.

NLP provides a data-driven approach to resume screening, which not only gives you more time per candidate but also helps you make better hiring decisions. NLP also enables you to rank and classify candidate profiles, identify personal traits, and eliminate human biases.

It reduces time-to-hire by automating pre-qualification via chatbots and automated interviews, also improving the candidate experience.

2. NLP in Employee Engagement

NLP uses text analytics to provide advanced insights on employee sentiment, identifying areas of conflict, perform comprehensive feedback analysis, and survey analysis. Based on these insights you can measure and design an employee engagement strategy that addresses employee pain-points and drives engagement.

AI-powered engagement solutions like GlintOpens a new window can analyze hundreds and thousands of employee comments from pulse surveys to identify the most relevant keywords and phrases in your organization to quickly summarize and provide a gist of employee feedback. Moreover, collaboration and communication tools like Slack and emails can be layered with an NLP solution to provide HR teams real-time visibility into employee sentiment and morale.

3. NLP in Employee Social Media Analytics

NLP is an effective “listening” tool for HR teams to analyze social media content of employees to uncover areas of interest, identify employee potential and talent, identify competence, and track behavior trends.

Insights based on social media analytics can help employers identify at-risk employees, high performers, gauge employee loyalty, and ultimately drive retention.

NLP in social media analysis can also a powerful addition to your employee advocacy program and help you rationalize the ROI of your program.

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HR is the prime candidate for adoption of NLP-based technologies due to its people-centric and communication-based nature. As AI solutions continue evolving, NLP will become a must-have technology for forward-thinking organizations.

Have you deployed NLP solutions in your organization? How did it work out for you? Let us know on FacebookOpens a new window , LinkedInOpens a new window , or TwitterOpens a new window . We are always listening!