HR Professionals ready to embrace AI in the face of burnout

A recent international study by Sage has found that HR professionals are embracing AI as a solution to reduce administrative burdens, tackle time-intensive tasks, and alleviate burnout.

The 'The Changing Face of HR' annual report surveyed over 1,000 HR leaders from various sectors and countries, revealing that 77% see AI as a transformative force for their company's work practices. Notably, 95% of participants have experienced a workload increase in the last year, with 91% taking on more responsibilities. UK HR leaders, in particular, are feeling the pressure, with many working over 45 hours a week, a significant increase from pre-pandemic levels.

The study identified key challenges for HR professionals, including workload (80%), employee morale and burnout (79%), and budget constraints (79%). Additionally, it found that:

  • 80% believe HR's role will significantly change due to AI.
  • 71% think AI in HR will lead to job creation.
  • Adoption of HR metrics (45%), automation (44%), and cloud HR solutions (43%) indicates a notable move towards automation and analytics.

Over half of the HR leaders (56%) reported a need for more technology to function efficiently, highlighting the importance of leveraging tech for data analysis and decision-making. Furthermore, 79% stressed the necessity of training to maximise AI benefits.

Looking to the future, HR professionals wish to focus more on strategic planning (61%), data-driven decision-making (59%), and employee engagement (59%), signalling a shift from administrative duties to strategic people management. While 68% report that over half of their HR processes are automated, 79% believe further automation could enhance efficiency.

The research also uncovered an automation disparity between small (57%) and medium (80%) businesses, suggesting smaller firms could gain by investing in HR technology to compete more effectively.

In conclusion, the report underscores HR professionals' pivotal role in adapting to and shaping the future of work through technology and automation.

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

Sarah Holmes, People and Training Manager, Cleveland Group, says, "A people centric strategy is critical to achieving long term, sustainable results. Sage's research shows that HR professionals want to spend more time on are strategic planning (61%) and using data to drive decision-making (59%). This is the same in our business; having all your key people trends and results, in real time analytics, at your fingertips is critical to us making the best business decisions. It complements and reinforces your plan of action and is essential to fully realising the full potential of your business. The benefits technology brings to HR teams cannot be underestimated; without it businesses are at risk of overlooking areas of potential growth."