Why TD Bank is Excited About Predictive Hiring

The bank's head of talent acquisition explains how the organization expects to benefit from AI.
By: | October 15, 2018 • 4 min read

In today’s world, most people have had some encounter with artificial intelligence, whether they’re aware of it or not. In the last 10 years, machine learning, or AI, have become far more effective and available than ever before. Now, we at TD Bank are reaping the benefits of it in human resources, and for good reason. Historically, many HR practices have been manual and biased, and HR professionals have lacked the data necessary for telling a complete story about a candidate, employee or decision—until now.

Last year, TD Bank acquired Toronto-based startup Layer 6 AI. Michael Rhodes, TD’s group head of innovation, technology and shared services, explained that the sheer amount of data that’s available today, along with increases in computing power, have given rise to the ability for machine learning/AI to play a much more prominent role in vital corporate processes. And, according to research from Bersin by Deloitte, TD isn’t alone in this pursuit. Nearly 40 percent of companies are using some form of AI in HR, and many anticipate that number will grow significantly in the near future.

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Given the prevalence of AI technology and its potential for enhancing workforces, it’s no surprise that most major software vendors have, or will soon have, products that help recruiters make more efficient and effective hiring decisions. At TD, we take optimal advantage of AI’s predictive hiring capability. The predictive hiring algorithms and analytics enable us to coach our managers on how to conduct unbiased interviews and determine the best candidate for each role. In addition to high-impact, real-time results, we’re also able to forecast the long-term effects of predictive hiring—and we’re optimistic! Based on our current results, we expect to see a 10 percent to 30 increase in retention of our high performers, resulting in millions of dollars in incremental annual recurring revenue. We also expect predictive hiring to reduce our three-month turnover rate. Finally, we anticipate that with AI-driven technology and predictive hiring, TD will see an overall increase in diverse hires. Not only do these results accomplish our HR business objectives, but they deliver on TD’s promise to embrace diversity, develop its colleagues, and innovate with purpose. That’s powerful stuff!

Career-Planning Capabilities Are Key

Among the many applications of AI in HR, the potential to elevate talent planning and career development stands out. AI capabilities can assess mobility patterns inside an organization, analyze the employee experience and developmental tracks of successful employees, and provide advice to managers as to what decisions and actions to take next. This is exciting for organizations that promote a culture of growth and mobility and that wish to retain their top talent.

These career development capabilities are especially critical as the workforce continues to evolve. In a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, more than 1 in 3 Americans in today’s workforce (35 percent) are millennials, making them the largest generation in the current workforce. AI technology will be critical to understanding these new generations’ career patterns, core values and attributes, and in workforce planning for years to come.

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The Importance of Staying Human

For all the hype about AI, this much is true—it can do some pretty amazing things. Whether predicting consumer tastes in television shows or music, or finding the best route home in rush-hour traffic, the possibilities are endless. But technology still can’t replace the human touch, and for the businesses that lose sight of this, AI may be a threat rather than an opportunity. Organizations that get this right will use AI to augment and enhance the human experience, not replace it. As recruiters, we love people, the interactions, connections and impact that we make on our colleagues’ lives. We must not lose sight of that. To put it another way, technology needs to be at the service of deepening human relationships. In a world where technology is evolving fast, maintaining human connection will prevent individuals from feeling left behind.

As HR professionals, we should be excited to experience the positive impact and progressive changes of AI applications. They will increase efficiencies for recruiters, enable the growth of diverse and inclusive organizations, and develop our colleagues in meaningful ways. AI is the wave of the future. It’s time to embrace it and its potential to help us build a stronger and more diverse workforce.

Angie Fearn is head of talent acquisition at TD Bank.