• HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board presents draft guidelines on the application of artificial intelligence in modern HR management
  • Launch of broad public consultation process

Berlin/Frankfurt am Main, June 25, 2019. The HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board, a committee made up of renowned representatives from science, trade unions, start-ups and established companies, has issued guidelines for the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) in HR management. The announcement at hand marks the beginning of an extensive consultation period within which all interested parties are invited to comment on the guidelines and to develop them further through informed suggestions.

The guidelines developed by the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board are designed to help users and providers to identify, exploit and responsibly manage the opportunities of digital solutions for employees and the human resources department. Once the consultation period has been completed, the guidelines will, if necessary, be revised and the results will be communicated to the public. Over the next few years the guidelines will be reviewed at regular intervals and adapted to changing circumstances.

The guidelines were developed on the basis of several technology fields (including blockchain, big data) which have been summarized under the term AI solutions. In this process, current and predictable fields of application were examined along the so-called Employee Life Cycle, which constitutes a model in order to describe the different phases an employee goes through – from recruitment through to exiting the company. In addition, the guidelines will serve as a basis for a program of empowerment in human resources management. In this context, test criteria for the range of AI solutions in HR management will also be put into place.

"Artificial intelligence as a technology is a great opportunity for the field of human resources. The guidelines presented by the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board are practical recommendations for a modern HR. We want to discuss the challenges and outline solutions," explains Dr. Elke Eller, Head of Human resources at TUI AG and co-initiator of the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board.

Michael H. Kramarsch, Managing Partner of hkp/// group and co-initiator of the expert panel, emphasizes the participatory approach represented by the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board in the further development of guidelines: "The use of modern technologies requires ethical guidelines. AI analyzing an x-ray is not the same as making a potential assessment about an employee. We firmly believe that such guidelines are relevant if and only if they are based on a broad discourse. We therefore explicitly invite all interested parties to participate. We are looking forward to a vibrant and broad exchange," says the HR management expert.

Overview of the Guidelines

The ten guidelines submitted for consultation by the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board were developed within the course of intensive committee work and take into account the diverse perspectives and competences of the advisory board members. They cover the main fields of application of modern technologies in human resources work which include:

  1. Transparent target setting process: Before introducing an AI solution, the target of its use must be clarified. All relevant stakeholders should be identified and involved in this process.
  2. Sound solutions: Those who offer or use AI solutions must ensure that they are empirically evaluated and have a theoretical basis.
  3. People decide: Anyone using AI solutions must ensure that people’s ability to act in important HR decisions is not restricted.
  4. Necessary expertise: Those who use AI solutions in their organization must be able to understand and explain them.
  5. Liability and responsibility: Organizations that use AI solutions are responsible for the results of their usage.
  6. Purpose limitation and data minimization: Anyone who uses personal data for AI solutions must define in advance for what purposes these are being used and ensure that such data is only collected, stored and used for its intended purpose.
  7. Obligation to inform: Before or when using an AI solution, the people affected must be informed about its use, its purpose, its logic and the types of data to be collected and used.
  8. Respect for subject quality: For use in AI solutions, no data may be collected or used which is fundamentally beyond the control of the persons concerned.
  9. Data quality and discrimination: Anyone who develops or uses AI solutions must ensure that the underlying data is of high quality and that any systemic discrimination is excluded.
  10. Constant review: Anyone who introduces AI solutions in accordance with these guidelines should ensure in a transparent manner that the guidelines are also taken into account during their operational implementation and further development.

Invitation to the consultation process

The guidelines of the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board with supplementary information in German can be read and downloaded at the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board's website: https://www.ethikbeirat-hrtech.de/.
They are now available for comment as part of a consultation process. The e-mail address feedback@ethikbeirat-hrtech.de allows interested parties to submit their comments directly to the Advisory Board till the end of September. In addition, a broad public discourse will be conducted in various formats – e.g. in personal dialogues, at events, in the press, in blog posts and comments, as well as on social media under the hashtag #EthicsAdvisoryHRTech.

The outlook: from the empowerment guidelines

Following the consultation process, the suggestions, wishes and critiques coming out of the public dialog will be incorporated into the guidelines by the members of the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board. The publication of the final guidelines on the use of artificial intelligence in modern HR management is scheduled for the end of 2019.

In addition to its educational role as well as which includes the development of guidelines for the responsible implementation of IT solutions for decision-makers and experts in the human resources sector, the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board considers itself as a standard setting body in the empowerment of people. "In contrast to comparable initiatives, the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board has set itself the task of not only developing guidelines, but also of enabling experts and managers in personnel management to apply this compass of values in practice and to become a role model even for other users of modern technologies in the company," explains Frank Kohl-Boas, Managing Director, Personnel & Legal of the ZEIT publishing group. "A corresponding concept with concrete measures will be presented by the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board at the end of the year," the experienced HR manager says.

About the HR -Tech Ethics Advisory Board

The HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board was established in January 2019. It is an initiative of the Federal Association of Personnel Managers and the management consultancy hkp/// group. The interdisciplinary body sees itself as a driving force for promoting the use of digital solutions in personnel work. At the same time, it is important to adapt and supplement established ethical rules in order to allow for a socially accepted use of artificial intelligence and new technologies in personnel work. The aim is to develop and establish guidelines for the responsible use of technology for decision-makers and experts in human resources.

The members of the HR Tech Ethics Advisory Board (in alphabetical order) include:

  1. Thomas Belker, Speaker of the Board of HDI Service AG and Vice President of the Federal Association of Human Resources Managers
  2. Andreas Dittes, CEO of Talentwunder GmbH
  3. Dr. Elke Eller, Head of Staff at TUI AG and former President of the Federal Association of Human Resources Managers
  4. Gerhard Fehr, CEO of Fehr Advice & Partners AG
  5. Prof. Dr. Björn Gaul, Partner at CMS Hasche Sigle
  6. Prof. Dr. Christine Harbring, Professor and Chair for Organization at RWTH Aachen
  7. Reiner Hoffmann, Chairman of the German Federation of Trade Unions
  8. Prof. Dr. Bernd Irlenbusch, Professor of Corporate Development and Business Ethics at the University of Cologne
  9. Anna Kaiser, CEO of Tandemploy GmbH
  10. Prof. Dr. Martin Kersting, Professor of Psychological Diagnostics at the University of Giessen
  11. Frank Kohl-Boas, Chief Human Resources Officer at the ZEIT publishing group
  12. Michael H. Kramarsch, Managing Partner of hkp/// group and HR Startup Investor
  13. Torsten Schneider, Director HR Luther Rechtsanwältgesellschaft GmbH and Chairman of the Executive Board of the Federal Association of Personnel Managers
  14. 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
  15. Mr. Reiner Straub, Editor-in-Chief of Personalmagazin, Haufe Group
  16. Oliver Suchy, member of the DGB Federal Board
  17. Brigitte Zypries, Federal Association of German Startups

More information about the HR-Tech Ethics Advisory Board can be found on the website www.ethikbeirat-hrtech.de.

For questions about the Ethics Advisory Board or its members, please contact us at the address below or through the contact address of the members on the website.


Dr. Katharina Schiederig
Leiterin der Bundesgeschäftsstelle
Bundesverband der Personalmanager e.V.
Tel +49 (0) 30/84 85 93 00

Thomas Müller
Partner, Head of Marketing & Communication
hkp/// group
Phone +49 69 175 363 323
Mobile +49 176 100 88 237

Author Thomas Müller

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