The power of AI is in being able to surface patterns: Manmeet Sandhu, PhonePe
Manmeet Sandhu heads HR for PhonePe, digital transactions platform anchored on payments. As the Chief People Officer for PhonePe, Manmeet supports the organization’s goal of scaling leadership to keep pace with its exponential growth and build a world-class HR organization with the right tools and systems so PhonePe employees can access opportunities to be the best versions of themselves.
Manmeet has extensive experience in HR across multiple countries and in areas such as compensation, D&I and business partnering. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Manmeet Sandhu, Chief People Officer, PhonePe, who will be speaking at TechHR 2019 shares her views on how can organizations leverage AI effectively yet balance the human element in HR.
While there is the talk of AI and automation taking over jobs, how do you think it can augment HR operations?
AI and automation can be really powerful tools to enhance the employee experience and engagement by speeding up operational tasks (letter requests, data updates, and validations, follow-ups etc), responding to queries, surfacing discrepancies etc. Just two aspects-self-service on data and query resolution can both be a huge saving on time and effort spent in operational tasks, that can free up significant chunks of time for more value-added work.
In addition, there is an opportunity to use AI and automation to surface intelligence and process improvements within the operations world. By looking at the movement of data through the employee lifecycle, identifying opportunities for validation and check-in mechanisms, we can streamline the processes themselves, and review the entire system holistically.
How will AI enable to shift the mindset from transactions to experiences and increase engagement?
The power of AI is in being able to surface patterns and make an ongoing sense of the data. Improved automation removes the need for people to spend an inordinate amount of time in gathering inputs, and focus instead on leveraging this information.
“The key capability HR will need to develop is the ability to see the data, understand the insight and place it within an empathetic and contextual frame.”
Focusing on the transaction will be redundant as the machine will be able to do that piece faster and better. HR's role is that of an enabler, that equips managers by creating frames of reference to drive the right decisions.
How do you think organizations can leverage AI effectively yet balance the human element in HR?
With the right AI systems in place, we will not be spending time gathering inputs and poring over them for hours. With AI we can create tools that empower managers to make the right decisions for their teams. But HR, with its understanding of the broader organizational framework and empathy towards what the employee needs can help craft solutions that are simple and humane.
What does the world of work of tomorrow look like to you?
“It will be a world that will require us to increasingly balance the left and the right side of the brain.”
It will not be enough to be good at any one of these ways of thinking but strengthening the capacity to do both. Logical, rational methods will be needed to design the right data inputs and leverage them for insights. But we will also need to connect the different pieces, develop a holistic picture and leverage the information with honesty, empathy, and kindness.
How can organizations make sure to prepare employees for the changes that will come with more of AI making its way in the workplace?
We will have to be willing to invest more in people, and invest in helping them be their best selves at work. The space for repeatable, standardized work will continue to narrow, which means that merely doing the bare minimum will not be enough. We will have to invest in developing deep dive and holistic thinking for employees so they don't just work with data but are able to view it within a larger context.
People will have to leverage diverse ways of thinking, remain open to new thoughts and be flexible in their approach to work. Only then will we be able to develop wisdom which will be the critical human skill in a world that is deeply integrated with AI.
What is your one advice to employees to grow and not be overwhelmed even as sweeping technology changes take place in the workplace?
If you are willing to think deeply about your work and focus on creating simple solutions for your stakeholders, you will see technology as your friend. It will be your tool that will enable you, rather than you becoming a tool of technology. Be willing to change and learn new things.
Don’t miss out the opportunity to engage in a tête-à-tête with Manmeet Sandhu at TechHR 2019 on 1st and 2nd August 2019 at The Leela Ambience, Gurugram. Register now.