HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board presents the first application-specific guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for personnel work

Frankfurt am Main, 03/04/2020. Following an intensive public consultation period, the HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board has now published ten guidelines for using AI and modern technologies both innovatively and responsibly in the workplace. The guidelines provide direction in answering the main questions in human resources, including: Does an algorithm decide, which candidates are recruited? Who is liable, if algorithms make incorrect decisions? or: How can previous errors and prejudices be prevented from simply continuing in modern AI applications?

The HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board guidelines discuss the integration of the relevant stakeholders into the decision-making process when selecting and using corresponding technologies, the question of the final decision-making power in use, the integrity of the subject, liability and responsibility and purpose specification and information obligation. In its version now presented, the guidelines supplement the statements of the European Commission white paper on artificial intelligence presented in February and provide specific and guiding recommendations.

Dr. Elke Eller, Initiator of the HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board and HR Chairperson of TUI AG, explains that “Even though the use of AI for many HR departments is still a long way off: We have to deal with the ethical safeguards of such technologies today so that we can use them responsibly tomorrow. The HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board guidelines provide those in charge of HR with specific recommendations for actions.”

“Future digital technologies such as AI offer new creative possibilities to also provide a better working environment for employees. But rules are still needed. The HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board delivers these rules in the form of an, until now, unique guiding value compass which is relevant for the entire workforce”, explains Michael H. Kramarsch, Co-initiator of the HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board and Managing Partner of the hkp/// group.

Reiner Hoffmann, Chairman of the German Federation of Trade Unions and member of the HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board sees a central basic requirement for the alignment of change processes reflected in the guidelines that are now published: “The HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board guidelines are a good basis for a new culture of corporate negotiation processes as they make clear that the rules for participation and co-determination must be expanded so that we can use AI for good work from the start and get the required acceptance for it in the workplace.”

Brigitte Zypries, Federal Minister a.D. and member of the HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board sees the providers of AI solutions as being obligated and also recommends that they take into account the guidelines: “Those who, as technology providers, cannot answer fundamental future questions such as liability and responsibility in the sense of the user or leave users alone to deal with these topics, will not be able to survive.”

And Inga Dransfeld-Haase, President of the Federal Association of Human Resources Managers and Head of Corporate Functions of Nordzucker AG emphasizes that “When AI-based applications for HR management are widely understood and used, the HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board guidelines will become an important compass whether it concerns finding talent or making processes more efficient.”

Guidelines as a result of broad public discourse

The HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board’s objective, composed of well-known representatives from science, trade unions, start-ups and established companies, is the responsible use of AI and modern technologies in human resources management. To this end, the guidelines that are now published are intended to help as a practical compass.

Not only the HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board members were involved in preparing the guidelines, but also the interested general public. The committee widely called for public consultation when the draft of the guidelines was presented in June 2019. The result: around 50 opinions and comments in the form of blog posts, letters, emails or social media posts. The feedback is included in this version of the guidelines.

The guidelines are still not intended to be understood as a finished project, on the contrary: With the ongoing development of digital technologies, new areas of activity and challenges as well as solutions will emerge. The HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board will therefore also review and update the guidelines in the future in collaboration with the interested general public. However, the working focus of the expert committee is shifting with today’s publication to the ability of those in charge of human resources to specifically apply the guidelines.

Overview of the Guidelines

The ten guidelines are relevant not only for the use of AI in human resources. They also include the use of modern technologies that will permanently change the personnel work in the coming years.

  1. Transparent target setting process and engagement: Before introducing an AI solution, targets must be defined for its use. All relevant interest groups should be identified and integrated in this process.
  2. Well-founded solutions: Anyone providing or using AI solutions must ensure that they have been empirically evaluated and have a theoretical foundation.
  3. Humans decide: Anyone using AI solutions must ensure that a human has the final authority to make important personnel decisions.
  4. HR drives AI solutions - not the other way around: Successful use of AI solutions by HR requires the combination of technological, analytical and personnel management skills.
  5. Liability and responsibility: Organizations using AI solutions are responsible for the results of their use.
  6. Specific purpose and data minimization: When using personal data for AI solutions, it is necessary to define the purposes for which the data will be used in advance and ensure that such data will be collected, stored and used only if it is relevant.
  7. Duty to provide information: Before or when using an AI solution, the respective data subjects must be informed of the use, purpose, logic and types of data collected and used.
  8. Respect for human dignity: For use in AI solutions, data beyond the deliberate control of a human may not be collected without the timely participation and individual consent of such humans.
  9. Anti-discrimination testing: Anyone developing or using AI solutions must ensure that the underlying data are of high quality and that system-related discrimination is prohibited.
  10. Continuous monitoring: Whoever introduces AI solutions according to these guidelines should transparently safeguard that the guidelines are also observed during implementation in running business and further developments.

About the HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board

The HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board was established in January 2019. The interdisciplinary body sees itself as a driving force for promoting the use of digital solutions in personnel work. The members of the HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board (in alphabetical order) include:

  • Thomas Belker, CEO of PRECIRE Technologies GmbH
  • Andreas Dittes, CEO of Talentwunder GmbH
  • Dr. Elke Eller, HR Director of TUI AG
  • Prof. Dr. Björn Gaul, Partner at CMS Hasche Sigle
  • Prof. Dr. Christine Harbring, Professor and Chair for Organization at RWTH Aachen
  • Reiner Hoffmann, Chairman of the German Federation of Trade Unions
  • Prof. Dr. Bernd Irlenbusch, Professor of Corporate Development and Business Ethics at the University of Cologne
  • Anna Kaiser, CEO of Tandemploy GmbH
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Kersting, Professor of Psychological Diagnostics at the University of Giessen
  • Frank Kohl-Boas, Chief Human Resources Officer of the Zeit publishing group and Vice President of the Federal Association of Human Resources Managers
  • Michael H. Kramarsch, Managing Partner of hkp/// group and HR Startup Investor
  • Torsten Schneider, HR Director of Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH
  • Prof. Dr. Katharina Simbeck, Professor of Business Information Systems at HTW Berlin and head of the project "Discriminated by Artificial Intelligence," funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation
  • Mr. Reiner Straub, Editor-in-Chief of Personalmagazin, Haufe Group
  • Oliver Suchy, member of the DGB Federal Board
  • Brigitte Zypries, Federal Association of German Startups

More information about the HR-Tech  Ethics Advisory Board can be found on the website


Thomas Müller, hkp/// group, Tel: +49 69 175 363 323,


Author Thomas Müller

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