'Putting people first' | HR leaders confident AI will augment jobs, not take them

HR leaders confident AI will augment jobs, not take them

A considerably low number of HR leaders are concerned about the impact of AI on job security, with most confident that the emerging tech will enhance jobs rather than take them.

These were the findings of Workday, a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, which has published a Global CHRO AI Indicator Report. It reveals AI trends, rates of adoption, sentiment, and the challenges, as well as opportunities, for HR professionals.

Many HR leaders think AI offers a solution to admin frustrations in the profession, with 40% agreeing that AI will enable their teams to deliver more strategic value – rising to 54% for AI Pioneers. In particular, over a third (35%) of HR leaders believe an immediate benefit of AI will be support in performance management tasks. Increased revenue and profits are also an expected benefit of AI according to almost 3 in 10 (29%) respondents.

Daniel Pell, vice president and country manager, UKI, Workday, comments: “It’s a good sign that many HR leaders are hopeful about the power of AI to navigate today’s climate, from tackling talent shortages to boosting employee engagement. By automating and simplifying manual processes which impact employee experience, AI can reduce the amount of time HR professionals spend on administrative tasks and thus boost the time spent on high-value tasks only a human can do. For instance, Workday AI users can create job descriptions in a matter of minutes rather than hours – freeing up considerable time for hiring managers and recruiters to search for quality candidates.”

Concern around AI is measured

Despite the commonly expressed anxiety that AI will take the place of human workers, HR leaders are not troubled by this. In fact, only 5% expressed concern about their jobs becoming obsolete. However, almost half (47%) worry about the trustworthiness of AI, more than any other function surveyed. More specifically, the report shows HR see risks to implementing AI around potential errors (21%) and security and privacy concerns (20%).

AI is not replacing, but putting people first

Beyond improving the efficiency and speed of day-to-day tasks, HR leaders recognise the potential for AI to create a fairer work environment. In fact, over a third (36%) say AI will enable a more equitable and diverse workforce – rising to more than half of AI Pioneers (52%). Similarly, 38% of HR leaders say AI will make their organisation more meritocratic, compared to 47% AI Pioneers.

Upskilling HR teams will unlock the power of AI

As AI becomes more integrated with HR, leaders will want to see employee skill sets fundamentally shift toward the more technical. Currently, HR leaders prioritise skills around creative thinking and problem solving as well as the ability to identify, anticipate and manage risk (both 25%). However, increasingly, skills around the ability to work closely with new technologies as well as data literacy and data-driven decision-making (both 26%) are coming to the fore.

The need to proactively upskill teams to build confidence using the technology is crucial, especially as almost a third (32%) believe HR employees won’t have the technical skills to work well with AI. HR leaders can look to overcome this skills gap by empowering teams with AI-specific training and learning materials and intuitive tech and AI platforms that are easy to use for non-technical employee skill sets.

Read more from us

Pell concludes: “As governance gatekeepers, those in HR understand the importance of ensuring transparency, compliance, and risk management when rolling out and using new tools. Leaders can do this by offering the right training, working with trustworthy partners, and leading with a human-in-the-loop approach, which keeps human decision-making at the helm.”

As AI interest snowballs within all areas of the organisation, HR must stay a step ahead in training, testing, and facilitating buy-in and partnership in order to help shape organisation-wide adoption. When HR adopts the tools that help automate repetitive tasks and prioritise human-exclusive strategic value, the whole company benefits.



You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for the next 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.