Microsoft is investing billions in AI. Here’s how it’s using the technology within its own HR ranks

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Good morning!

The AI revolution is upon us, and CHROs across the world are scrambling to figure out how to integrate the new technology into their companies. It can be used to optimize everything from screening résumés to interviewing candidates, and it’s on its way to becoming the new super tool for managers everywhere—if they learn how to implement it in a meaningful way.

Microsoft is one of the biggest players in the AI space, thanks to big bets early on and pouring billions into OpenAI, among other investments. But the company has also been tasked with rolling out the technology within its own workforce of more than 200,000 employees. And a recent LinkedIn post from Christopher J. Fernandez, Microsoft’s VP of human resources, provides an insight into what they’ve been up to so far.

Fernandez writes that Microsoft’s “human-centered approach,” based on the company’s responsible AI tenants, has been key; those include accountability, inclusiveness, reliability and safety, fairness, transparency, and privacy and security. “The principles have guided every decision our HR team has made related to the implementation of first- and third-party AI solutions,” he writes.

He also highlights that HR workers don’t need computer engineering degrees to be key players in the AI metamorphosis of corporate America. “The adoption and transformation journey I and my team have been on proves you need not be a technologist to drive material digital transformation and AI adoption in your organization,” he writes.

To that end, Microsoft trained and empowered HR employees to become “citizen developers” for their own AI needs via a platform that did not require advanced coding skills. That allowed Microsoft HR workers to build their own AI applications and custom tools to transform operations and automate tedious processes. One such creation was the HR Virtual Agent, an AI-powered HR bot that answered routine employee questions about benefits and workplace issues, and led to a productivity gain of around 160,000 hours for HR service advisors.

In another instance, HR workers built upon an existing generative AI product to create the Copilot in Dynamics 365 Customer Service AI application, a case management tool which was rolled out to the company’s global HR service centers this year. It has led to a 26% faster response rate to initial HR inquiries, and a 7% reduction in case resolution time.

Fernandez writes that the company’s workers overall have had higher job satisfaction and an optimized employee experience because of HR’s foray into AI. HR workers using Copilot Dynamics 365 Customer Service were 16% more likely to say they enjoyed their job. And looking forward, Microsoft will continue to leverage AI in the HR function.

“Jobs will change and evolve with AI, as has been the case with all technological advancements in history,” he writes. “We cannot predict what the future holds, but we can be the ones to shape our future with AI.”

Emma Burleigh

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