How best should HR respond to AI-driven changes
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How best should HR respond to AI-driven changes

How best should HR respond to AI-driven changes

Even while technologies replace some jobs, they are creating new work opportunities in corresponding industries

HR leaders broadly fall into two categories, those who still believe that artificial intelligence (AI) is a thing of the future – like flying cars and robot assistants as depicted in sci-fi movies, and there are those “baby boomers” that dread AI disruptions to the workplace, mistakenly thinking that it will cost them their jobs.

However, there is every reason to believe that the time to embrace digitisation and welcome AI as part of the new workplace is today and now. It is no secret that AI, machine learning and big data analytics are transforming the recruitment landscape in the cognitive era. The conventional ways for employee recruitment, retention and promotion stands to be further disrupted, but that is not to undermine the humanly interventions needed for leveraging AI. So how can they adapt and reconstruct processes to bring about this change instead of impeding – or rather – resisting it?

AI works with humans
Even while technologies replace some jobs, they are creating new work opportunities in corresponding industries that most of us cannot even imagine, and new ways to generate income. It is fascinating to notice how machines may replace humans in certain jobs, yet vital to understand how humans are still needed to operate and build these systems from scratch.

A 2011 research conducted by McKinsey in Paris, found that the Internet eliminated 500,000 labour-powered employment in France during the preceding 15 years while creating 1.2 million others, a net increase of 700,000, or 2.4 jobs generated for every job lost.

Despite the common misconception, AI can never replace humans. HR leaders can be oblivious to this as automation takes over more of their day-to-day tasks. But let’s not forget that AI is created, programmed and managed by humans.

The future of HR teams today depends on how well they can cope and adjust to a man-machine hybrid workplace, and more importantly how rapidly they can equip themselves with new set of skills required for managing the interface between technology and humans. Researchers claim that it is no long before AI and humans start working together as colleagues.

Implementing change
According to a survey by Deloitte, 33 per cent of employees expect their jobs will become augmented by AI in the near future. Meanwhile, IBM in a survey found that 46 per cent of HR professionals believe that AI is transforming their talent acquisition capability and 49 per cent believe it is bound to transform their payroll and benefits administration.

In most organisations, technological change is brought about by technical experts while often completely neglecting the human capital at risk. In this sense, HR play a crucial role in driving effective change in the organisation as a whole. Rapid developments in technology place the onus on HR to help get employees ready for change and mitigate this fear. HR leaders need to understand how AI works and introduce it to the team in a positive way through clear communication strategies and an upskilling and training plan in order for them to remain relevant and competitive.

HR has a more strategic role
It is true that some administrative tasks such as talent sourcing, sifting through resumes and performance assessment will be completely replaced by AI. Subsequently, in undertaking mundane and repetitive tasks, HR leaders will have a more strategic role to fill for. AI can only go so far when it comes to decision complexity and judgement, in which case a human intervention is by all means indispensable.

Overall, the world’s shift into becoming more technology-influenced is an exigent factor for all businesses that wish to survive in this century. The latest advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence are also rapidly reaching mainstream. This factor brings an unprecedented access to work opportunities in the field of human resources across several industries, accommodating a mix of all sorts of AI and machine learning-powered innovations. This may be a risk for some jobs, yet it opens a whole new sector for others. As a result, we should all be open to changes and consequently adapt by understanding the tech-shift and learn and work accordingly.

Dr. Ahmad Khamis, co-founder and CEO of BLOOVO, an HR technology company

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