Three strategies thatÂ help achieve the biggestÂ impact from artificialÂ intelligence.
By Sudhir Jha
As the global economy enters the age of artificialÂ intelligence (AI), the conversation about how AI will impactÂ the workforce has reached new heights. Questions aroundÂ the negative implications of AIâincluding potential jobÂ loss and ethical dilemmasâare forcing organizations toÂ consider a future fueled by autonomy. As more and moreÂ organizations are getting their AI strategies in place, HRÂ needs to ensure that their workforce is ready.
According to a recent Infosys report, Leadership in the AgeÂ of AI, 73 percent of respondents said that AI has alreadyÂ transformed the way they do business. AI is producing realÂ results and impacting business strategy, growth investment,Â the competitive landscape, customer experience,Â recruitment, and team management. With this in mind,Â there are three approaches that will help HR succeed in theÂ age of AI.
1. Be transparent. Eighty-three percent of respondents saidÂ that their organizationâs AI deployment is outpacing theÂ accuracy and productivity of comparable human activity forÂ certain tasks. And itâs statistics like these that breed concernÂ and speculation among workers. In fact, 69 percent ofÂ C-level executives acknowledged that their employees areÂ concerned that AI technologies will replace them.
However, these fears appear to be unjustified: Only twoÂ percent of executives think AI will have a negative effectÂ on employees. Seventy percent of respondents expect AIÂ will have a positive effect on employees, with anotherÂ 26 percent saying that AI will have neither a positive norÂ a negative effect. AI will ultimately augment humanÂ activityânot replace itâand the findings agree:
- Forty-eight percent said AI augments human skills toÂ make their people better at their jobs.
- Forty-five percent said that AI is making employees moreÂ valuable because it frees their time.
HR should be proactive about communicating theirÂ companyâs AI strategy and benefits to employees.Â Transparency will not only help reduce fears, but it will alsoÂ help organizations maximize value derived from their AIÂ deployments. Consider this: Of the organizations that saidÂ they have already seen measurable benefits from their AIÂ deployment, 77 percent said that their employees are awareÂ they are using AI. For the organizations that have not seenÂ measurable ROI from their AI deployments, only 46 percentÂ report that their employees are aware of AIâs role.
2. Rethink the approach to hiring. As AI makes its way intoÂ the enterprise, new skills will be needed and new roles willÂ be created. Across all industry sectors surveyed, respondentsÂ report that recruiting talent with AI skills is absolutelyÂ necessary. Forty-nine percent of respondents said that theirÂ organization has already changed the way it hires due toÂ their AI deployments.
According to the survey, AI has had the biggest impact onÂ the IT function, and that is expected to continue for theÂ next five years. However, other departments, includingÂ marketing, HR, and legal, are also increasingly beingÂ impacted by AI.
Due to the wide reach of AI, there should be an increaseÂ of professionals trained with AI-related skills. SurveyÂ results show that 95 percent of IT decision-makers fromÂ organizations in the late stages of digital transformationÂ said that they plan to have a dedicated team of AIÂ professionals. These AI experts will be in high demand andÂ will likely command high salaries.
Thatâs why organizations would benefit from developing aÂ recruitment approach that is aligned with their companyâsÂ AI strategy. This involves understanding the long-term planÂ for deploying AI technologies and assessing what skills willÂ be needed across every part of the business. In what willÂ only become a more competitive market for AI experts, HRÂ will need to make tough choices about what AI expertiseÂ is needed to succeed versus what expertise they couldÂ develop in-house or otherwise do without.
3. Invest in the workforce. Businesses planning to deployÂ AI technology should proportionately invest in theirÂ employees. While recruiting talent with AI skills isÂ important, it will be likely be inadequate due to issues ofÂ supply and demand. Those skills will be in high demandÂ and, therefore, scarce and costly. As AI increases in scale andÂ drives further change, businesses that embrace training andÂ reskilling current employees will realize long-term benefits.
Organizations that are already successfully using AIÂ recognize the value of training and upskilling employees.Â The survey found that 53 percent of respondents indicatedÂ that their organization has already increased training inÂ the job functions most affected by AI. Forty-six percentÂ of respondents listed employee training as the top areaÂ of investment related to their AI deployments. Just as AIdrivenÂ transformation will not happen all at once, teamÂ training should not be a one-time event.
Driving business change starts at the top. HR needs to workÂ closely with business leaders and encourage them to evolveÂ their own skills and gain a deeper understanding of theÂ technologies that are driving their business forward. If theyÂ do not, they will not be able to get the most value out ofÂ their AI investment or their team, and they might find thatÂ they themselves have become obsolete.
Sudhir Jha is senior vice president of product management andÂ strategy for Infosys.