The field of human resources has long been known as running quietly in the background. It takes care of functions assumed to be basic for the organization: talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, performance management, and others. It is the team to which employees turn for their most basic concerns.

The HR team is charged with talent acquisition, and is as such not known to be a pioneer of technology. The advent of artificial intelligence (AI), however, represents a great opportunity for all tasks handled by HR – from recruitment to employee experience and talent management. HR leaders will however need to focus on creating an optimal combination of automated and human work, and their priority will be to develop fluency in AI while reimagining HR as a more personal, engaging experience for candidates.

As we head towards 2020, HR professionals will need to prepare for the following trends:

The future of the organization depends on an AI-ready workforce

AI is slowly but surely moving into the workplace, from its previous presence within the domestic lives of consumers. Leveraging AI implies the need to train employees to work with AI team members. This is only going to become more important, with 20% of workers in non-routine tasks relying on AI to do their jobs. The following initiatives are needed:
  • Use AI to identify the business problem, collect data on the problem and its Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
  • Educate a cross-functional team of stakeholders on the business benefits of using AI to solve business problems
  • Create learning opportunities for key HR roles impacted by AI
  • Identify new jobs and skill requirements as a result of leveraging AI
  • Include a fundamental understanding of using AI across the employee lifecycle

More importance will be given to unique human skills

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has said that uniquely human skills will be more in demand. With AI taking over routine work aspects, 75 million current jobs could be displaced, though 133 million new ones too could be created. HR leaders must remember that the important skills especially going ahead will be emotional intelligence and technical intelligence (such as technology design and programming).

Skills-based hiring will gain prominence

Skills-based hiring looks to set specific skills and competency requirements for a job. Initial steps could include a modified job description and removing degree requirements, but the change has to be more deep-rooted i.e. a change in mindsets. HR professionals will need more flexible, progressive mindsets to source talent in new ways. Key components of this approach include:

  • Educated business stakeholders
  • Identification of benefits of a wider talent pool, and barriers to the same
  • Upskilling a diverse employee population through proper learning and educational pathways
  • Workers will look for meaningful work
Employees traditionally are believed to look only at money. However, increasingly, there will be a tradeoff, with workers willing to give up some of their earnings in return for work that has meaning. This is now a business imperative, with essential components such as a supportive, healthy work culture and alignment with the values of workers. The talent acquisition team needs to put more emphasis on training, mentoring and coaching employees to work towards a shared vision.

Training is being transformed by virtual reality

More and more HR leaders are looking to virtual reality (VR) to train their employees, with compliance training becoming particularly interesting in this regard. Estimates of adoption rates vary, but there is no denying that VR is slowly becoming a supplementary tool for corporate training.

AI and human intelligence will enhance the candidate experience

Talent acquisition is where most companies conduct their first AI pilots. Thus far handled only by HR professionals, this leads to immediate, significant and measurable results. Candidate screening times are down, job application completion rates are up, and recruiters now can spend more time discussing the corporate culture and values with candidates.

AI clearly has significant implications for HR, with a number of efficiencies along with effects on the future of work. HR would do well to consider the trends above on its way to becoming more personal for candidates and strategic for the organization.