Last week we welcomed back our myHRcareers members for the first event of 2019 – and this sell out event was not one to be missed! However, do not fret, if you weren’t able to grab yourself a ticket, here’s a summary of what our inspirational speakers had to say…
Wednesday’s party welcomed not one, not two, but three guest speakers to the floor, each ready to talk about our number one agenda for HR this year: AI, Automation and Intelligent HR. This emerging technology is a hot topic within HR, but a very controversial one too. Some look at the opportunities that this technology will bring; improving user experience, improving efficiency and ultimately adding value to the businesses, whilst others fixate on the possibility of robots eliminating the need for a human workforce.
So, who were our speakers and what did they have to say about all of this and what it means for the future of HR?
Anton Fishman – HR Business Leader and established ‘AI Educator’
Anton immediately highlighted the huge amount of investment that has already gone into the HR space using AI and machine learning, with over 600 start ups developing their products and service offerings within the past two and a half years. The emergence of AI and automation within HR is therefore a reality that we need to start preparing for. Anton left us with three key messages:
HR has an extraordinary opportunity to be central to the wider business change and transformation that these emergent technologies will bring. HR should be prepared to be called upon during the digital transformation of the business and the impacts that it will have on the wider workforce and its organisational structure.The HR function as a whole will also have to be prepared to change. HR professionals’ jobs will need to be reviewed and restructured and skills redeveloped. This internal HR change will need to be planned for and engineered carefully.For the above to happen successfully, HR professionals will need a certain degree of knowledge about AI and automation to ensure that they can lead conversations with the business, foresee certain impacts and be a smart and informed purchaser of the technology.
Tom Holmes – Founder of Veran Performance and inspirational HR Business Leader
With over twenty years of experience as an HR transformation professional, Tom sees huge potential in deploying smarter, emergent technology that brings more benefit quicker and at a lower cost. Tom’s key takeaways were as follows:
The benefits of AI and automation are really real and can be felt very quickly. A well-known, global business have recently automated parts of their recruitment process and transformed the speed of hire from 140 days to just two weeks.Emergent technologies appear scary, complicated and too technical for the average person however, this doesn’t have to be the case. Those who automate the more simple, easy steps and processes are the ones feeling the benefit more quickly.There is a lack of tools to describe the journey of going from no or very little automation to having multiple processes automated. Keep things as simple as possible and look to automate those problem areas which are time-consuming and largely repetitive tasks.
Kim Travers – Head of HR Services at TFL
Having worked at TFL for seventeen years and therefore being very familiar with the current HR climate and her particular workforce, Kim expressed her concerns over what seems like a very steep learning curve. She provided the views of a somewhat more traditional HR professional and left us to think about the following key messages:
We have to think about the practicality of how to get the technology into the business and deploying it to a workforce that isn’t necessarily IT enabled. Thinking about hardware as well as software is key as we may need to give people the right resources to enable the automation and AI to progress.
The business change will be more important than the technology change. We need to think about the pace of change that the organisation can manage to ensure successful adoption of these new technologies and opportunities.
As HR professionals, there is a definite need to think about how we keep the human interaction within businesses and where human conversations and discussions cannot be replaced. When implementing intelligent technologies, we need to be sure to be able to distinguish where we can add value from technology and where we can add value through people.
In summary, AI, automation and robotics have the potential to drastically change the way that our businesses work as a whole and the way that the HR function is organised. It became apparent that this is a very controversial topic. One thing is for certain however, emergent smarter technologies are real, fast approaching and must be prepared for.
Veran Performance are offering free workshops to share research into how Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are being applied in HR, the benefits some businesses are already seeing and how you can get started in this area. To book a workshop or if you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org