'Robots are Coming For Our Jobs,' cried the Huffington Post. 'Robots will destroy our jobs -- and we're not prepared for this,' '' The Guardian calmly announced. And in line with the Daily Mail, 'Robots taking human tasks is leading to a "hellish dystopia'''.
These headlines may seem on the top, but, like the most bizarre nightmares, they're rooted in reality. From factory line tasks to professions like accounting and medicine and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies mean that a growing number of tasks can now be automated and finished by machines or algorithms.
A recent report by think tank Centre for Cities estimates that 1 in 5, or 3.6 million, British jobs will likely be 'displaced' by 2030 due to automation and globalization. According to the report, jobs that comprise largely routine tasks are at a greater risk of decline, as well as the businesses most at risk are warehousing, customer service, and retail.
So there's no doubt that automation will influence human tasks. But is it all doom and gloom? And how can this increasing automation have an effect on the HR groups of the future?
Automation = opportunities
It seems a gloomy statistic, does not it in 5 jobs? On the other hand, the Centre for Cities paints a very favorable picture, saying that, regardless of the likelihood of job declines, there'll be an overall increase in projects by 2030. In particular, jobs that require cognitive and interpersonal skills are put to develop.
It is the usage of the word 'homeless' that I find most telling. Rather than people all being left jobless with robots, the jobs us people do will change, change and evolve. The research points out that Britain's cities have been coping with automation and globalization for over a hundred decades and almost all our cities have seen the number of occupations grow throughout this period.
The emergence of new sectors -- as an immediate consequence of technology, automation, artificial intelligence, and so on -- will lead to new roles which now don't exist. Therefore, new occupations, occupation we can not even imagine yet, will appear to replace those that are already lost to technology. (If you believe this is too optimistic, remember there were no such matters as social networking managers or app programmers 15 decades back.) 'Automation and globalization will boost work in British cities within the coming decades,' Centre for Cities states.
How will HR change?
In its annual HR poll, recruiting firm Harvey Nash concluded that AI and automation are going to have a major impact on HR over the following five years. The poll found that 15 percent of HR leaders were affected by AI and automation, while 40% believe it will affect them at the subsequent two to five years. Looking further forward, an Oxford University study concluded, by 2035, HR administrative tasks had a 90% likelihood of being automated.
What exactly does this automation mean in practice? 1 good example is virtual reality agents -- chatbots -- that could answer easy employee questions like 'When is that the company closed over the Christmas break?' Or 'How much of my yearly leave have I employed already this season?'
Chatbots are becoming more and more prevalent in our daily lives. Many big brands happen to be using chatbots to socialize with customers. (eBay's ShopBot, by way of example, helps shoppers find and purchase eBay things from inside Facebook's Messenger app.) So, as we become increasingly more used to socializing with chatbots in daily life, we can expect to see increased use of chariots in the workplace. Plus, as our offices become more geographically dispersed, and the number of remote workers continues to grow, chatbots can fulfill a crucial demand for workers who don't have easy access to HR colleagues.
AI technology is so complicated that it can react to normal, spoken language, rather than typed questions, and also detect the underlying sentiment behind the words themselves. Call centers, as an instance, are utilizing this technology to analyze whether or not a caller is fulfilled, frustrated or angry during the course of their call.
Intelligent assistants may also play a part in talent acquisition, from scheduling interviews into supporting (or even making) decisions about applicants. Talla is one example of a chatbot that is designed to function as a real-time adviser to HR professionals since they source brand new hires. Talla can offer a listing of interview questions based upon the function being recruited for and also run a Net Promoter Score survey following the recruitment process.
Thus, it's apparent that HR will be affected by automation during the next few decades. But like with the wider jobs market, this should be seen as a positive development. Automating the easier, administrative-type jobs frees up HR professionals to concentrate on more important tasks that provide higher value to the company -- jobs that robots and algorithms can't finish.
HR's role in preparing individuals and businesses for what lies ahead
One critical point from the Centre for Cities report is that higher investment is needed to help employees adapt to the changing nature of work. People and businesses need help preparing for the changes that are forthcoming, and I see HR as being fundamental to fulfilling this requirement.
HR professionals should, therefore, develop a comprehensive comprehension of the problems around automation if they are to have the ability to answer key questions like, 'What sort of people does the business should work with these automated systems?' Or 'What skills should I be developing to future-proof my career?'
With the abundance of data available to modern HR teams, HR is ideally positioned to answer these questions and encourage both the organization and its people through the forthcoming changes.