The world of work is experiencing a major change as we are already observing some of the most remarkable disruptions related to the workforce and work. The demographic, political and socioeconomic trends of the past years, like rapid urbanization, globalization and polarization are influencing these disruptions of working. Furthermore, automation, gig economy, digital platforms, and other innovations are changing the radical nature of work.
Future of work, workplace and work culture
As per World Economic Forum, 75 million current job roles may be displaced by the shift in the division of labor between humans and machines, while 133 million new job roles may emerge at the same time. The impact is much beyond just change in jobs, its more about task automation and leveraging on human potential and productivity. For organizations, it’s important to create opportunities out of these, as the rising of the new technology has brought us to a conjugation point with a transition in the world of work.
Everyone is unique and different and what works for one may not work for another. New ways of working also change in behaviors and growth of digital world clearly demands future workplaces for more human connection. These workplaces are the places where employee’s senses are being put to work, and are the key to creativity, collaboration and wellness; and should enable new, more effective ways of working; increase employee engagement and agility with consumer-oriented way.
For any transformation, it is a change in the mindset of an organization, as the way we work today is different from the past, and this difference is driven by the rise of technologies. There are always the organization shifts from its old ways of doing things to the new. The new strategies, structures, processes, and technologies are most likely so different from the past and current state that they require people to adopt new ways of working, an adoption to a new work culture.
For any transformation, it is a change in the mindset of an organization, as the way we work today is different from the past, and this difference is driven by the rise of technologies
Organizations must create right approaches to ensure such a shift in culture, and the two most important drivers for creating organizational cultural change are leadership support and learning agility. A successful strategy for new working must focus on a holistic integrated approach and emphasis to empower and trust employees to work anywhere, anytime with full flexibility.
Moreover, retaining and developing top talent, reskilling, augmenting tasks and functions, collaborating with non-human workforce are some other factors while considering strategy for future of work. The opportunities with these strategies can be recognized once the organization focuses in providing a framework to drive transformation across their workforce, workspace, and culture, as such initiatives must be an integral piece of an organization's overall transformation strategy.
When thinking about the future of work, there are many things to consider, and one is definitely the impact of AI and augmentation on the workforce. The future of work is not only about creating new ways of working or how new workplaces are derived or even how AI is replacing existing jobs; it is also about how we can enrich new human capabilities and integrate them into the workforce, while creating more sustainable business functions for the future, including the HR function.
Impact of AI and automation in HR
Today, there are different types of HR technologies out in the market, and many of them are using some form of machine learning or AI technologies in their platform with use cases. One of the biggest areas that we can see an impact is in recruitment, whether its candidate sourcing, screening, pipelining, interviewing or even onboarding. The other HR functions that are seeing automation are administration, learning & development, talent management, benefits, engagements and many others. Overall, it’s going to impact every single area with more automation, augmentation, and amplification. The impact and adoption are not the same for all these functions, as the benefits of AI and automation for HR and the workforce don’t come instantly. It’s a journey and one can see the short-term benefits of this journey in automation, the medium-term benefits in augmentation and finally the long-term benefits in the amplification of human activities or tasks.
When considering short term benefits, focus is more on saving cost and increase productivity, hence automating tasks is a primary objective of such initiative, robotic process automation is very good example on it. While assessing the medium-term benefit, attention is on better decision making and human-machine interaction; chat-bots, predictive analytics are some good use cases for mid-term. For longer term, organizations must consider capabilities to autonomous work and boost human activities, like use of cognitive analytics and robotics can be some examples.
HR leaders needs to contemplate and understand a lot when it comes to the impact of AI and automation on the HR function, and as well as on the organisations. Workforce are the core part of every single transformation and organization overall, and the impact of AI and automation on the workforce is no doubt very high. And it is critical that HR professionals are prepared themselves enough to support the workforce transformation within their organizations as well.
HR is lacking many of the skills to prepare for future of work including competence like design thinking, analytics, agile working, etc. HR needs to be able to build itself to prepare for these, if they want to survive with other business functions, as many of them are way ahead of HR today
New role of HR and continuous learning
HR is not about what it implies today or in past rather the emphasis should be on the values that it can create for the organization and workforce. Today, the focus is on activities like staffing, training, compliance and other administrative stuff, as HR plays a transactional role for the business today. But for organizations, it matters most when HR activities and capabilities add value to the investor, customer, community and the workforce.
HR is lacking many of the skills to prepare for future of work including competence like design thinking, analytics, agile working, etc. HR needs to be able to build itself to prepare for these, if they want to survive with other business functions, as many of them are way ahead of HR today. This can help also HR to empower themselves to get to the business and help them to prioritize based on the business needs and to become more adaptable.
HR has to learn from the business on how HR can look more at the consumerization and focus on workforce on that respect. Enabling a culture of employee experience, agility, networking, continuous learning, and data-driven work, is what HR needs to consider. HR is yet to be integrated across organization functions and be ready to cater as trusted business partners, neither as a silo nor to just remain as a transactional function.
With all of the changes that are happening, it is critical that HR looks into their current function and considers how they too can reskill, upskill and adopt the concept of lifelong learning to ensure that they are prepared to reinforce a much more digital and data-driven business. Continuous learning is a need for organizations today, as it provides transparency on the skills of its workforce, invests in the development of its people, provides workforce with visibility into potential career paths and the skills they should develop.
The world is moving at an unusual pace, hence organizations need to be proactive and ensure that they can help their workforce and leaders get prepared to respond to the needs of the business, to the demands of the transitions and supporting the fast-growing changes associated to the new world of work.