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Human Resources' Role in AI Implementation

Brian Chupp


When workers hear about the efficiencies that AI technologies promise, they err instinctively by asking, “Is AI going to take my job?” It’s natural to be self-protective, but I think they’re asking the wrong question.

The present prediction is that AI will augment tasks and improve productivity. It will rearrange the nature of specific roles rather than replacing roles. We’ll always need human talent. Some job titles may be cut, but the overall head count will remain stable.

The adage now is that AI is not going to take your job. It’s the person who works with AI who will take your job.

AI’s potential is yet to be fully realized, so future job skills are yet to be determined. The definition of talent will change. Job analysis and job design as they’ve been understood are already shifting.

These are core philosophical questions for HR professionals. To thrive, organizations will need to include HR professionals in the implementation of new technologies. They can help avoid the staffing concerns that keep CEOs up all night. They can define the skill sets needed and recruit talent with the ability to meet the change that AI brings.

However, organizations that don’t invite HR partners into the room may overlook gaps between the processes and the skills. HR experts know how to approach reskilling and defining efficiency, productivity and motivation.

I’ve seen managers say, “Hey, HR person, I forgot to tell you yesterday I made this change. I want you to know.” Or “I’m thinking of making this change.” Sometimes HR finds out about the change after it happens, and then they begin to hear about its weaknesses or faults from employees.

Utilizing HR early to help design the job description will save time and energy. As subject matter experts in organizational and change management behavior, they can help managers smooth the rollout of AI and fend off dissatisfaction and disruption in the workforce.

Explore this further in this discussion between Joe McGrath of Hy-Tek Intralogistics and I about the transformative impacts of automation and AI on the workforce in this installment of Hy-Tek's Industry Insights podcast.

Brian Chupp is an expert in experiential learning, virtual teams, organizational culture and performance management. He is academic director of the Daniels School’s master’s program in human resource management and a clinical assistant professor in the school’s Organizational Behavior and Human Resources area.