I want to start with a confession that I am not a believer in horoscopes. My belief got shaken because a friend read out the predictions for my zodiac sign. He read aloud, “This year will see significant changes. Big opportunities will come your way.” I went home a happy bunny. I knew just what my year would look like. I was all set to hit the big league. A week later my friend showed up sheepishly and said that he had got the dates mixed up. The relevant prediction for Scorpio (my zodiac sign) was ominous. It predicted, “Get out of your comfort zone. Face the challenges head-on.” Even that sounded fairly relevant for my life.
That day I decided that I would read the weekly forecast for every zodiac sign and the one that sounds the most optimistic is the one I will believe is my forecast for the week. It keeps me motivated.
Every year in December, the best of magazines and newspapers begin to look like tabloids that publish horoscopes. Business horoscopes have become all too easy to write. If I told you that your organization will be disrupted by startups using Artificial Intelligence, I would sound like Nostradamus. Or if I said, “A Fortune 500 company will lose its credibility because of a cyberattack”, you know that I will be right. It is safe to say that humans and robots will be working together. Very soon hiring the correct robots will become an important part of Talent Acquisition. But it may not be HR that will be taking this decision. Amazon had 88,000 people in 2012 and no robots. A year later their human workforce grew to 117,000 and they had 1000 robots. In 2019 they had 750,000 people on their rolls and 200,000 robots. The growth rate of robots is way higher than humans.
From farming to fashion every business has to be reimagined. The ones who are not doing it will go bankrupt the way Forever21 did. The market is not going to stay the same forever – not even till 2021. The time is short.
Very soon hiring the correct robots will become an important part of talent acquisition. But it may not be HR that will be taking this decision
Invest in HR Tech
Large clunky enterprise systems have to be replaced by HR tech that is open, connected and part of the employee’s work. Getting information must be as easy as asking a friend. HR Tech products in the space of Talent Acquisition, Workforce Management, Talent Management are transforming even huge enterprises within 6-9 months. HR Tech changes the experience of work. 2020 must bring that clarity of vision.
IBM's Institute for Business Value recently conducted a worldwide study of more than 5,000 executives on closing employee skill gaps. They speak of the major gap in soft skills – not technical. Having a workforce that is adaptable to change can build nimbleness and agility in the employer. In a time-starved world, being able to prioritize can help build speed in the organization. The ability to create the data that will help HR take better decisions in every aspect of talent management should be a priority for the CHRO. Even as the organization gathers the data, having the right investments in cybersecurity and data privacy have to become part of the business agenda. All businesses are becoming tech businesses. All jobs are becoming tech enabled. So, must HR.
There are hundreds of startups that are leveraging AI to solve discovery problems. Sourcing candidates based on their social media presence is a great place to start. Scheduling interviews with multiple stakeholders, finding the right fit are all easier with AI-driven solutions. AI can be used to find candidates for jobs. But the bigger opportunity is to match jobs to candidates. Humans look at qualifications and experience to find a fit. AI can use thousands of variables to find such a fit. The possibilities are endless.
I have one question to ask you …
Businesses may change but Human Resources will remain unchanged, would that prediction be valid for your organization if we compared notes a year later?