Artificial Intelligence Digital Transformation

How HR can include AI in their business strategy

23 March 2018

How HR can include AI in their business strategy

Consulting agency, Gartner, has published a threatening report: by 2020, Artificial intelligence could replace skilled professionals in the fields of medicine, law or IT. But this technology won’t only be useful for repetitive or time consuming tasks, it will also have its uses in skilled professions where the added value usually lies within human intelligence.

Within these particular domains, training and learning require time and resources. With each new hire, the company must factor in a period of low employee productivity before hoping to see a rise in turnover. But by exploiting machine learning the company will see an acceleration in its processes, as only the first machine requires a learning period unlike the ones that will follow.

Should we really be so worried? Right now, the answer is no. The long term approach will involve regarding artificial intelligence and human labour as a collaboration. But for this to happen, companies will have to implement a policy of change within their organisation. So how can employees be encouraged to make the most of AI’s advantages?

Upcoming changes in IT

By applying a factual approach we can understand that the first service to be affected by artificial intelligence is IT. What sort of changes can we expect?

Firstly, we can speak of a change in job roles. Customer-based services, such as helpdesks, chatbots, customer care and help centres, will be increasingly more automated. The link between the professional and the end user is being reconfigured so as to maximise availability and minimise time consuming tasks. If we think about sourcing or buying roles, artificial intelligence will be able to compile efficiently all smart data and deliver more efficient dashboards.

These role changes will naturally bring about changes in their processes. From now on, employees will have to include the machine’s assistance and way of working into their daily work. Whilst artificial intelligence may replace them in certain tasks, managing the technology will be the responsibility of skilled employees.  

Another development will be seen in cases where artificial intelligence will replace humans in laborious tasks, giving them space to generate value and become specialists. Adobe is already honing this approach by building a tool that can design a house from just a brief description. On the DTP side of things, the company has developed Adobe Sensei, a photo editing and graphic design suite.

Changes in labour will also favour changes in expenses. With machines costing less and performing better than certain human resources, this will allow companies to change and diversify their investments.

The importance of a good human resources policy

In a context where both non and highly-skilled jobs are threatened by artificial intelligence, how can human resources rise to these new challenges? The new approach to managing employees can be split into three tasks: redefining job specifications, informing employees of the impact of AI and, lastly, overcoming the new lack of resources.

Changing the job specification is essential as it must be adapted to the employees’ new roles. It is therefore important to fully apprehend the outlines of the impact of AI on each task within the teams in order to remove and add roles, and readjust the employer’s expectations of the employee.

The impact of AI isn’t just something that teams are subjected to – they can also control it. Whilst this technology will generate a natural enthusiasm, an purely AI-based business could lose its flexibility and adaptability when faced with complex issues. The challenge here is to properly measure the roles of each employee.

Once these job specifications have been redefined, the task of providing information and training sets in. This can be carried out by managers, HR Managers, senior management or all three combined. To avoid falling into a situation of unmanaged self-learning, the information can provided alongside training sessions.

By developing a creative comprehension strategy, managers will not only benefit from a positive reception from their employees but will also from the innovative uses of AI.

In terms of recruitment, the profiles considered useful to the company will have to be redefined, by taking a gamble on engineering, data and digital profiles. Future employees will focus on complex tasks, which implies deep knowledge and a cross-over in skill sets.

On the one hand, this collaboration is defining a high-performance machine used for simple tasks and, on the other, defining new employees dedicated to a more complex, enriching approach.

If artificial intelligence is an attractive solution to the science, automobile and aerospace sectors, we mustn’t forget that that it presents a risk in regard to data retrieval, processing and transfer. This is an ongoing problem with no solution at the present moment. Will this problem actually be the source of future skilled roles?

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