Artificial intelligence can elevate workforce planning by providingÂ insight into the key skills and growth potential of talent.
By Steven T. Hunt
Gartner predicts that by 2020, artificial intelligence (AI)Â will create 2.3 million jobs and eliminate 1.8 million. ThisÂ shift will redefine the value that employees bring to theÂ workplace, and in many cases, make peopleâs roles moreÂ strategic as machines start to take over manual tasks.Â However, AIâs impact on administrative roles is only theÂ beginningâleadership roles are also set for disruption.
The impact of AI has already required many leaders toÂ shift their mindset as they prepare to work alongsideÂ machines. Executives are starting to lean on AI forÂ answers to questions they previously didnât even knowÂ how to ask, and many common leadership practices areÂ about to be changed forever by AIâs disruption.
Looking Beyond the Organizational Chart
Regardless of industry or size, most companies rely onÂ organizational charts to map roles and responsibilities,Â with the goal of encouraging task delegation andÂ productivity across various lines of business. CareerÂ progress was once defined by climbing the ladder orÂ moving up the organizational chart. Managers oftenÂ used these charts to influence and interpret powerÂ structures within companies.
But today, digitalization is decreasing the value ofÂ organizational charts as a tool for managing businesses.Â In todayâs digital organizations, employees workÂ across functions in ways that do not fit into traditionalÂ reporting relationships or linear paths. In fact, lateralÂ career moves are becoming just as or even moreÂ important than moves up the ladder. With employeeÂ roles blurring the lines of traditional functional divisions,Â organizational charts are no longer an effective tool forÂ mapping career goals and progress.
Instead, with the right data, business leaders can turnÂ to AI for a better understanding of how work is done.Â Leaders can use employee data to map out importantÂ factors like where there may be risk for talent gapsÂ and which employees have the largest impact on theÂ organization.
As the web of available career moves expands beyondÂ the bounds of linear career ladders, AI can also helpÂ employees identify which job moves will have theÂ greatest benefit for their long-term growth, whether theÂ move is lateral, linear, or otherwise.
AI: The Staffing Assistant
Though many workers today are concerned about robotsÂ putting them out of a job, people will always be at theÂ core of any companyâs success. AI will simply never haveÂ the creativity and interpersonal collaboration skills thatÂ employees bring to the table. What AI can do is helpÂ identify people with the greatest potential to succeedÂ in different roles. For example, AI tools can be usedÂ to provide leaders with insights on when itâs better toÂ look to external talent or to promote from within theÂ organization for certain roles.
Leveraging AI will allow business leaders to redefine theÂ staffing and hiring process by providing the data neededÂ to answer questions such as:
- What types of skills are most valuable for certain roles?
- Does this candidate have a high probability of beingÂ successful in this job?
As AI becomes more ingrained in business processes, itÂ will help companies enter new markets by informingÂ leaders on whether a geographical area can provideÂ them with the talent needed to support business growth.
From Training to Trust
Trust is at the core of decision-making, whether theÂ decision is being made by an employee or a machine.Â AI shouldnât be trusted without continual monitoringÂ and review, as blind trust can introduce bias and lead toÂ systems that run without the proper guidance needed toÂ ensure optimal performance.
Instead, leaders should begin to treat AI systems likeÂ they treat people. This means trusting them a little bit atÂ a time, watching the outputs, providing feedback, andÂ coaching in real time.
With this approach, leaders who understand theÂ importance of exploring new technologies will ultimatelyÂ run the successful companies of the future. LeadersÂ willing to work alongside AI and use it to supportÂ decision-making will stand apart from leaders who relyÂ solely on gut instinct. When it comes to big decisions, itâsÂ time to give AI a seat at the table.
Steven T. Hunt, Ph.D., is the senior vice president of human capitalÂ management research at SAP SuccessFactors.