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Hate Spreadsheets? Get Rid of Them in 2021

Dec 18, 2020


  • EDITORIAL TEAM Talent Management Institute
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It’s not just you. Human resources has become harder.

Managing spreadsheets is a top pain point for HR professionals, says a study by financialforce.com. With the rise in remote work, this thorn has become sharper and stronger. And it’s not just the operational aspects we are talking about –

Routine tasks take HR leaders’ attention away from the strategic aspects of their role, which can block their growth in the long term.

So, what do HR and talent leaders do to keep themselves on the right track? Some frontrunners are pointing at AI as the magic pill. Is it or is it not – we will see this and more here.

To AI or Not to AI

However much we tend to hate them, documentation is incredibly important for human resources. For decades, human resource leaders and talent managers have been using spreadsheets to:

  • Filter employee database
  • Create salary distribution charts
  • Understand the pay gap
  • Register or create a log sheet
  • Track leaves
  • Create a MIS report sheet
  • Train data

This list can be endlessly extended.

While the bulk of work has blown up, the means to streamline it (i.e. spreadsheet) has more or less remained the same.

Adding insult to the injury is the emergence of remote work and IoT flooding human resources with data from all ends: emails, phone calls, attendance check-ins/check-outs, register books, SMSs, chats, or even quick verbal instructions.

It’s not a surprise that talent leaders often find themselves caught up in the "spreadsheet dependency syndrome."

Spreadsheets are not fail-proof. They are known to have poor inbuilt controls, fraudulent entries, human errors, consolidation woes, scalability and agility issues, slow decision-making, endless explanations to employees, duplicate entries, and what not!

How AI Can Help

In his article, 4 Things to Consider Before You Start Using AI in Personnel Decisions, Professor Peter Cappelli says: “Algorithms from data science make predictions better than we have been able to do so far.”

Conventional statistical models focus on a few known factors associated with standard outcomes like job performance and tenures. Machine learning algorithms are neutral about which variables have worked before or why they work.

The algorithm churns them all the same and produces one model to predict an outcome like “who will be a good hire”, giving each applicant a single, easy-to-interpret score as to how likely it is that he or she will perform well in a job.”

3 considerations that go in favor of AI

  • Algorithms are less likely to be biased than the existing practices
  • They give additional insights that we may not be aware of
  • They can make decisions in real time

For talent managers, the benefits extend beyond the usual list.

Cloud services can help talent managers automate many tasks.

Combining the human element and AI can help talent managers and HR professionals up their employee experience. Using AI will increase their efficiency while cutting back administrative hours. In short, they will be free to invest time in value-added business functions.

That brings us to the point of where and how to use AI. We’ve outlined the important usages in this table.

In the Future:

50 percent of employees are currently using some form of AI, compared to only 32 percent in 2018.

In a 2019 study by Oracle and Future Workplace, 64 percent of respondents said they would trust a robot over their manager for advice.

Slowly but steadily, HR and talent leaders are gearing up for this change. Adriana Bokel Herde, Pega’s chief people officer, says that human resource departments need scalable AI technology to thrive in the times ahead.

How do you plan to use AI?

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