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Preparing HR for the age of artificial intelligence

SOURCE: HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP
Leveraging AI can automate HR processes and enhance efficiency.


By Aisyah Liliana 

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Artificial intelligence plays a significant role in simplifying and streamlining work. 

According to Forbes, one of the major fears towards artificial intelligence (AI) stems from the idea that the need for trained human workers in many areas of the economy will decrease, as the use of AI grows and increasingly permeates the business world.

The counterargument is that these systems cannot operate in a fully autonomous mode, and that AI is not a job killer, but a job category killer.

The World Economic Forum predicts that more than half of all workers will need reskilling and training to address the changes created by intelligent automation and artificial intelligence.

In response, human resources and talent development functions are driving training initiatives, equipping employees with skills to adapt and drive the business forward.

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“Yes, artificially intelligent solutions can automate mundane tasks, save time and resources, and cut costs. But, the true benefit is that – thanks to AI eliminating rote tasks – employees now have the opportunity to up-level their roles, develop more complex and uniquely human skills, and lead more purpose-driven careers. In short: AI gives everyone a promotion” says Emily He, Senior Vice President of Oracle HCM Cloud

Some ways to prepare your organisation’s HR team in the age of automation:

Learn to leverage 

According to research from the International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology, AI integration into human resources practices will make organisations better by analysing, predicting, and diagnosing to help make better decisions.

HR is all about connecting companies with current and prospective employees on a personal level. For this to be achieved on a large scale, HR departments need to be leveraging scalable AI technology, according to Adriana Bokel Herde, Pega’s chief people officer.

AI can vet through candidate resumes, better understand employee referrals, provide data-backed resources and insights, keep the engagement going through chatbots, build smarter schedules, and possibly even reduce human bias.

The automation of tasks through AI allows for the freeing of HR professionals to focus on strictly human abilities such as critical and strategic thinking, creativity, and empathy. 

Train in digital literacy 

Earlier this year, Nationwide announced their intention to invest US$160 million in the next five years to offer their 28,000 U.S. employees training in digital literacy and “future capabilities”.

The company aimed to launch the programme to prepare its workforce for an increasingly tech-heavy future economy, listing automation and other tech advancements as key factors.

Another major employer to make big investments in human capital is Amazon, announcing last July that they would be committing US$750 million to upskill its workforce by 2020.

If your company has employees who are skilled in business analytics or data engineering, they could be good candidates to train for AI tasks, focusing on skills like Python and TensorFlow

“From a training and learning perspective, there is an abundance of online resources via Coursera, Udacity, open.ai, and deeplearning.ai that can help companies develop their employees’ AI/ML skills,” says Mehul Patel, CEO of Hired.

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Think ahead

Nationwide, Amazon and other big companies that are upskilling with the future in mind recognise the advantages of new technological advancements such as AI can provide. They know that current workforces are generally unprepared to successfully utilize advancements without help, so they provide assistance.

Apart from wondering which existing jobs may be replaced by technology in the near future, it is crucial that organisations start taking into account what new jobs are on the horizon.