Technology and data-driven processes continue to transform every aspect of today’s HR operations. Whether it’s automating laborious tasks or analyzing a mass of HR analytics, innovation – in the form of AI – offers HR leaders a powerful new tool to achieve their key objectives, guaranteeing employee engagement while hitting key business objectives. Businesses that fail to recognize the changes brought about by the evolution of HR analytics risk falling behind in a marketplace fraught with challenges. To that end, HR leaders must reflect on the potential of AI and how to effectively incorporate it into daily operations, like the resource-intensive talent management process.
Sourcing, recruiting, managing, and supporting top employees requires HR leaders to strike the right balance between quantitative and qualitative values: the ability to accurately measure and forecast people analytics, while on-hand to seamlessly integrate new starters and be available for one-to-one catch-ups.
As a result, many businesses want to achieve the golden formula of operations that gather and act on data effectively, while retaining the human touch that helps employee engagement and development. To learn what trends are having the largest impact on AI in talent management, HRD Connect spoke to Terence Mauri, HRD Thought Leader and author of the new global bestseller The 3D Leader: Take Your Leadership To The Next Level.
Automate and elevate
“With AI, HR leaders should act on what I call automation and elevation. Think of all the repetitive routine tasks in which AI could potentially help, and by automating those tasks, you can then elevate and leverage what you do best, and do more of that, in terms of value-driven work,” Said Mauri.
“HR leaders need to upgrade their mindset – more curiosity, more learning, more exploring and experimenting, rather than a business-as-usual approach. A big research topic for me is the leaders and businesses of the 20th century, when the priority was efficiency and scaling efficiently, whereas in the 21st century, to win you need to scale intelligence. You need a high ROI – return on intelligence. Automation is a big part of that, as well as employees that are imaginative and creative.”
Balancing technology and humanity
Going on to offer his thoughts on how man and machine can complement one another in an effective talent management strategy going forward, Mauri said: “2020 presents the chance to redefine what an HR leader is. Any role becomes atrophied over time, so you need to re-energize and reimagine how to add value in a post-pandemic, more automated world. HR leaders need to focus on the capabilities that are difficult to automate.
“Maths, for example, is easy for AI to replicate, but if you look at the human qualities of empathy, imagination, creativity, curiosity, they’re far more difficult because they’re more abstract. Not only do HR leaders need to explore these core traits, but see how they can be integrated into the employee experience; when you have energized employees, they’re more likely to stay, they’re more resilient, they’re more ready to re-skill.”
Prioritizing upskilling and reskilling
Mauri also expressed some strong views on why organizations should place a greater emphasis on developing the workforce during this disruptive period. How do HR leaders ensure that their innovative talent management strategy is getting employees ready for the future of work?
“A key strategy C-suite executives should focus on is what I call the race to reskill, defining the upskilling and reskilling strategy within an organization, because every organization wants to transform, and the pandemic and automation is accelerating that. I remember reading a report from McKinsey, and a statistic stated that 99% of companies want to change rapidly and embrace exponential technologies, but only about 23% of them feel fully prepared,” he said.
“There needs to be a coherent strategy around reskilling and upskilling the workforce, looking at how we work, why we work, and the way we work. What’s the communication strategy around upskilling and reskilling? Communication needs to be vertical and horizontal across the entire organization, it needs to be more explicit. HR leaders, and leaders in general, need to understand the difference between communication and engagement. Anyone can communicate, but that’s not enough; the question is how to engage, because when you engage, you involve, and people feel a sense of ownership, a stake in the future of the business.”
Developing a future-facing mindset
Mauri went onto conclude by asserting the importance of leaders looking ahead and ensuring that they are prepared for the integration of new and radical processes.
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He said: “One of the challenges for HR leaders is that their attention and focus are still being poured into the day-to-day operational functions of the role. It makes sense, because you do what you’re comfortable with and what got you that far, but the problem is the speed of change.
“What HR leaders need to do, in terms of a playbook, is they should develop a point of view about future trends and their impact on HR functions. How they can translate trends in HR value, act on global innovations. They need a challenger mindset, not just focused on operations, but more strategic more forward-thinking, and a clear strategy that they can communicate.
“You’ve got to look at the pain points and sources of friction in the office, removing those are where innovation lies and where HR leaders can really help. Where do the problems really exist – is it recruitment, talent retention, talent acquisition, learning and development? After identifying the flaws, HR leaders can work out what they can change over and automate, so in that sense they have to be much more forward-thinking and curious; less reactive and act as initiators.”
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