February 16th, 2024 | Sterling

Sterling’s EVP, Chief Information Technology Officer Ivneet Kaur Talks AI with Fountain

In October, Ivneet Kaur, EVP, Chief Information Technology Officer at Sterling, took the virtual stage together with our partner Fountain as part of a roundtable during their showcase event to discuss the emerging role of artificial intelligence (AI) in human resources (HR). Together with other thought leaders, Ivneet described how HR professionals can help to carefully implement AI in their own organizations to increase efficiency in the hiring process.

During the roundtable, “AI in Action: Transforming HR from Hiring to Onboarding,” Ivneet discussed the transformative power of AI for HR and business, when leveraged together with policy and best practice guidance. She also revealed what this looks like at Sterling, outlining severalways we practice our core value of “Putting People First” through ouruse of AI and its role in supporting our employees, clients, and candidates.

Let’s review the highlights revealing how HR professionals can add a human touch to this powerful technology.

Q: Can you provide an overview of Sterling and the role AI plays within the organization?   

A: Ivneet first introduced herself and explained: “As Chief Information Technology Officer, I have responsibility for Sterling’s global technology and security function, and I also lead our overall AI program.”

Ivneet shared that Sterling has capitalized on AI by launching an AI Steering Committee to ensure that Sterling implements technology in adherence to our principles of:  

  • Transparency 
  • Privacy 
  • Security 
  • Compliance  

Our AI Steering Committee provides oversight, sets policy, provides guidance, and also reviews proposed AI use cases to ensure Sterling’s legal, privacy and security compliance, best practices, and adherence to high standards.

Ivneet painted an ambitious picture of Sterling’s current use of AI across the entirety of the business and services: “We are currently exploring, testing, and actively implementing advanced AI capabilities. Our goal is to optimize, accelerate, and enhance our products and services, from criminal checks to employment verifications.”

At Sterling, we believe AI is going to propel the background check industry with both quality and speed. To this end, we’re also augmenting our own internal functions with AI capabilities to enhance our employee experience and to streamline services for our clients and their candidates.

Q: How has AI been applied to enhance our processes and functions?

A: Ivneet summarized that, at Sterling, we leverage AI to ensure our clients and candidates are getting a frictionless, seamless screening experience. Ivneet also pointed to the near future with her prediction: “We believe AI capabilities are going to be a game-changer for our clients and candidates while also enhancing the employee experience for our people.” 

  1. Smarter Operations: Our clients must be able to hire candidates with confidence and then onboard them as quickly as possible. With these goals fully in mind, we are utilizing AI capabilities in the areas of identity verification and background checks to help us improve both the quality and speed of these vital services. Similarly, we’re also deploying AI to expedite our handling of criminal check data from US courts. Using generative AI technologies, we’re able to accelerate these processes, reduce turnaround times, and help ensure our clients and candidates can quickly make hiring decisions and know exactly where they are in the hiring process.
  2. Employee Experience: We believe AI will be a force multiplier, particularly in the area of L&D (learning and development). Generative AI can summarize vast amounts of information while conversing with us and easily answering our questions. Our HR professionals will be able to create professional development plans and L&D training much more quickly. This allows them to be there for their employees and have meaningful conversations in all those moments when it really matters. 

Q: Beyond efficiency and automation, how is AI helping in our space to make things more thoughtful?

A: Instead of viewing AI solely as a technology area,Sterling takes a more holistic approach, including these considerations, particularly in the HR space:  

  • Since AI is such a novel and powerful technology, it presents a need for strong governance. Consequently, your organization must gather your legal, compliance, data privacy, and security teams all at the table as you are developing and enhancing your AI strategy. The technology itself is changing on a daily basis, so leaders need to consistently assess, adapt, and implement the advancements.
  • Upskilling is another huge opportunity to consider, because the evolution of AI requires a workforce equipped with these in-demand technology skills.
  • Finally, HR professionals should separate the hype surrounding AI from the reality. Consider prioritizing your upfront ROI and ROX assessment, cost management, and the impact on your talent and your workforce in order to bring the entire organization along with your AI vision.  

Q: What is your advice to those looking to start their AI journey?   

A: Ivneet advises HR teams to seize the momentum that AI offers: “Don’t be afraid of it. AI is going to augment your organization by helping to make you more efficient, and it’s going to help you do your job better in many different ways. Organizations should first define a policy and then make sure people know the expected do’s and don’ts concerning this technology.”

A helpful note to design an effective policy: when establishing a comprehensive AI use-case review process, make sure to involve a wide cross-section of stakeholders. Take an enterprise-wide approach to making AI truly pervasive in order to deliver ROI, encourage innovation, and empower people to act as change agents.

Ivneet’s AI Takeaways:

Envisioning the growing role of AI in HR, Ivneet advises HR leaders to fully embrace AI, but in a considerate and responsible way. “It all starts with taking a strategic lens and holistic approach which brings together the right governance, right use cases, upskilling of workforce, and sustainable infrastructure to support the entire AI program.”

As the use of AI rapidly evolves, Sterling will keep leading the industry with our deep technology expertise and people-first approach. As we continually innovate in AI and other areas, we’ll share more updates on specific improvements, impacts, and benefits with Sterling’s clients, their candidates, our partners, and our employees.   

Ivneet would like to thank Fountain for inviting her to the panel: “Fountain and Sterling have been partners for about five years now, and it’s been a strong relationship. Our roundtable showcase event was a great success, and we received positive feedback from many people who loved the broad range of speakers and points of view about AI.”

Catch up on the latest HR regulatory developments surrounding AI in our recent compliance blog post.

For additional HR insights, download Sterling’s insightful report, HR’s Guide to Onboarding: From Decision to Day One and Beyond.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.