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The AI revolution: how will it benefit HR, talent and careers?


Would you like to participate in future virtual roundtables?

For our first Virtual Roundtable of 2024, we were delighted to welcome Jonathan Winter, founder of The Career Innovation Company, as our provocateur. Jonathan is the author of many reports on the future of work, and host of a new podcast on innovation.

Jonathan offered us a compelling overview of AI – and what this means for HR, talent and careers.

An opportunity to “level up”

AI has well and truly arrived, and with it, many more ways to not only automate tasks but also to transform the employee experience. Among the delegates to our roundtable, there was a real mixture of excitement around the new opportunities created by AI, combined with a clear sense of uncertainty around its risks.

The development of Generative AI is now so rapid, that it’s very hard to understand, let alone navigate. We should accept this – and not feel ashamed. Even so, we are coming to a time where all professional workers will need to “level up” – one study of consultants showed an immediate and substantial improvement in performance amongst those who use Gen AI, even without training.

It’s important to be aware of the strengths and risks of generative AI, and then move on quickly to calibrate its potential for HR and careers.

Potential and risks of generative AI

At its core, the key strength of AI lies in pattern recognition. It can provide important support for decisions made through, for example, data analysis and forecasting. And in workforce planning, it has a big role to play in the automation of everyday tasks, such as recruitment admin, or matching people and their skills to open roles or projects. The linguistic skills of Generative AI have added the ability to draft and to summarise and to answer questions, in multiple languages.

Generative AI, however, also comes with a number of potential risks. Five of the biggest include: a deliberate mis-use of AI and the biases that it can potentially create, albeit accidentally. Then there are other obvious risks, such as legalities around copyright, the spread of false information, and finally data security.

The enormous potential of AI for HR

The potential and risks need to be understood and in each workplace, they will differ considerably. What is not in doubt, however, is the likely scale of AI’s transformative impact on HR, talent and careers.

Recent research by BCG, for example, broke down and measured the ways in which AI will impact productivity across the HR value chain. Overall, the research found that generative AI has the potential to drive productivity gains of 30% in the near term. Recruitment for example, has a very high potential efficiency gain and has been one of the first areas where a mix of conversational interfaces and automation have been really making a difference.

AI and HR: towards a new age of imagination and ambition

It’s clear that the impact of AI across the entire HR value chain is going to be transformative – so the response of every HR department is crucial. This means that the profession needs to seize the opportunity of generative AI as a catalyst for imagination and ambition. For example, many current conversations about AI and change are about improving processes within HR. Now, however, the focus must be on the transformative effect of its potential for the employee experience.

For us at The Career Innovation Company, our focus is on how AI will change the skills each person will need and for the careers that will exist in the future. The real opportunity is that AI now gives organisations the chance to offer personalised career support at scale to make that change. And employees will also need to embrace the opportunity – after all, it’s not AI that will take their jobs, but the colleague or competitor who knows how to use AI better than they do.

Personalised support from AI for Careers

Here are some ways in which AI has the greatest chance to give an exceptional experience for employees, as they try to navigate their career journey.

  • AI as CoPilot. This means the ability to find rapid internal support, resources and opportunities for career and professional development.
  • AI as Assistant. This helps employees with the ability to draft, refine or brainstorm their ideas, including applications or personal statements, such as an elevator pitch.
  • AI as Trainer. This is about building skills, given AI’s ability to do role-play and create scenarios, in preparation for a conversation.
  • AI as Coach. It becomes possible here for AI to be challenging, as well as supportive – and to nudge the coachee on action planning and follow-ups.

Humanity with an AI touch

Many other impacts of AI on careers will doubtless soon emerge. What is clear, however, is the way in which a lot of discourse around AI has centred on finding solutions with a human touch. An alternative way of looking at this how the organisation enables employees to ‘find the AI touch’, because as humans we will all need to experiment and use our imagination and ambition to stay in the driving seat in its development.

We are offering to support our clients in this rapidly developing area. So, if you want to join us in taking a deeper dive into how you can leverage AI more actively in relation to HR and careers, then we are planning to host Career Innovation Labs, to help organisations accelerate their adoption of AI for a compelling employee career experience.

For more information, talk to our CEO

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