Artificial Intelligence (AI) is creeping into our lives at a faster rate today than it did yesterday. We might not be able to see these changes, but they are happening. What frightens people most of all, is the power of AI that the majority of the world’s human population will never be able to fully comprehend.
Half of the human workforce is expected to be replaced by software and robots in the next 20 years. When we hear such shocking statistics, our immediate thoughts turn to catastrophic outcomes. This reminds us of the “Alien Invasion” fever that spread like wildfire with the advent of space travel in the 1950s, with stark, comical movie posters that were spread in this cult movement. Now, with the unknown nature of AI causing fear for some, our work-lives are beginning to feel invaded by supra-human forces too.
“A hyper-intelligent machine defying corporate roles and rules in a war to the death”
People at the top of the corporate hierarchy have dollar signs in their eyes when machines are mentioned. Machines are more predictable, and apart from the occasional snag, they are immune to error. They certainly don’t need health insurance or severance pay.
Now, the new movement of “business-romantics” is challenging the fate of automation. These thought leaders advocate the importance of keeping organisations human. Of course, not all jobs can be replaced by AI, and these competencies will be sought after.
This is a new responsibility for HR in people management. As an organisation, it’s key to invest in developing the talent already present in organisations. It makes sense, if you push towards developing a workforce resilient to automation. We also need to consider how we can acquire talent with the right fit for the vision of your forever “human” organisation.
1. Encourage creativity
Many companies have put in place time allowances where employees can work on whatever they want. That’s right – companies like Google and 3M are allocating time every week, month or quarter, for employees to work on what they wish. The purpose is to encourage employees to be creative. The result? Some of the best features/products offered by such companies, such as Google Alerts and Post-it notes. Give your employees free reign and forget about work for that small chunk of time. The human mind is a wonderful thing to let loose and flourish.
2. Enforce relevant training
Have you ever sat through a training session that bored you to tears? It’s probably because it wasn’t relevant. During training sessions you should be constantly applying the learnings directly with your own work world; if you can’t see the link, then training deployment needs to be rethought. Training should also mold your employees into agents for the future that you forsee needing; that way, they will be well-equipped in skills and knowledge required to fill the holes technology alone won’t be able to fill.
3. Promote ‘intimacy’ – (Social Collaboration)
Say the word ‘ intimacy’, and the workplace rarely springs to mind. Many share the same outlook, until Tim Leberecht said: “relationships are nothing more than a string of micro-interactions”, which are interjected with key moments of intimacy. These are what distinguishes a positive view of our workplace versus an aversion.Social collaboration is increasingly difficult when work is a) digitalised, and b) often remote – you are unlikely to be in the next “cube” to your co-worker. Enterprise social collaboration tools foster a broken intimacy: whilst email is great for communication, it’s not ample enough for truly meaningful micro-interactions.
4. Outline Requirements
It’s easy to become lost in a pool of fluffy adjectives or buzzwords when publishing a job description. A competency framework should allow you to fully understand what talent you seek, rather than just throwing out a collection of popular job requirements, then playing a guessing game with candidates when they walk through the door. This also relates back to the subject of relevant training: recruitment should, likewise, add employees to your workforce that you forsee needing. Only humans can read other humans, technology can only go so far; but technology is necessary in these “people processes”.
The above points become new responsibilities for “people management” But HR need the technological support in order to excel, albeit ironic, it’s a necessary investment; after all, even in the tech-industry, the organisations that can stay human will stay differentiated.
Skilo is a talent management platform for HR innovation, adaptable and therefore relevant to any organisation and industry.
Skilo facilitates HR processes such as mapping competency frameworks, manager-employee evaluation and feedback, enforcing skills development schedules and social collaboration.
Start creating a personal development friendly organisation: Find out more here.
(*Thanks to Tim Leberecht for the inspiring TED Talk. Watch it here)