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How Can Technology Help Ensure Talent Retention?

New technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and automation will affect HR and the future of work. We reached out to five future-of-work thought leaders to ask them about the changes they foresee in human resources and talent leadership. 

BRINK: As HR leaders focus on building talent from within, what steps do you advise for determining which tasks should be automated, redesigned or outsourced?

Mark Babbitt, President, WorqIQ: There are certainly tasks HR leaders should automate (anniversaries and milestones), redesign (employee experience and fulfillment), and outsource (workplace assessments and data collection around culture cornerstones).

However, we advise HR leaders not to fall into the trap of thinking technology is the answer for everything in today’s world of work. 

For example, random acts of leadership — the art of genuinely engaging team members when least expected — cannot, and should not, be automated. Same with meaningful one-on-one conversations that go past performance-based discussions to learn how that individual feels their work contributes to both the mission and bottom line.

These purely human moments — opportunities to show a leader genuinely cares about the person doing the work as much as the work itself — are an integral component of building the “mentor-first” mindset that inspires peak performance from every team member. These personal connections simply can’t be automated or over-designed — and they certainly can’t be outsourced.

Jennifer Brown, Founder, CEO, and President, Jennifer Brown Consulting: The success of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will turn on the expansion of gender parity. The loss of certain jobs and creation of new ones are inextricably linked. 

Managing the human side of this will require that we standardize training and development culture to be executed through the lens of diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Organizational development professionals are already critical to monitoring the health of an organization — especially because AI already has bias baked into it, something that is both the result of human bias and something only humans can mitigate.

It’s no longer what you know, it’s what you’re learning that provides stability in the workforce of the future.

BRINK: Two-thirds (68%) of high-growth organizations say they now differentiate talent value using predictive analytics. But less than half of modest-growth companies do this. What benefits do predictive analytics have in improving the employee experience?

David Green, Global Managing Director of The People Analytics Program at Insight222: People analytics offers tremendous potential to firms seeking to improve the employee experience. In the design phase, data can be analyzed to help understand employee sentiment, ideas and needs to support design and personalization of experience. 

Analytics has also helped revolutionize how we listen to employees both actively (through surveys, pulses and the incorporation of text) and passively. 

All this helps firms better measure experience, particularly in moments that matter. Of course, none of this matters unless firms are prepared to act on what the data tells them and communicate both transparently and effectively.

BRINK: While many people focus on the large number of jobs predicted to be lost to AI and automation, should business leaders be more focused on the anticipated 58 million new jobs that the same technologies could create by 2022? 

Meghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture: Artificial intelligence and automation are going to replace humans in the workforce in many capacities — and not just on the factory floor. It’s already happening and it’s going to continue happening at a faster rate than we may fully understand. 

However, what is less celebrated — and one huge silver lining — is the fact that many, many new jobs will be created, and these roles will allow humans to be more human. We’ll be better at our jobs by embracing the fact that we are human and by improving how we treat each other. 

Business leaders should be focused on evaluating workforce skills from an entirely new perspective — less task-specific and more business value-orientated. Yes, human jobs will be replaced, but one thing it will never replace is the human quality called empathy. And, that’s a good thing.

Tamara McCleary, CEO, Thulium: Humans will not run out of work. Despite the gloom and doom discussions surrounding job displacement due to automation and technological advancements, we are not entering into an era of less, but rather we are entering into an era of more opportunity. 

Fear and trepidation arise from the unknown, and the unknown is often the seed behind facing our fears around the future of work. The jobs of today will shift, evolve and most certainly require additional skill sets 10 years from now. 

In looking at the jobs of tomorrow, we are challenged to rethink the human experience. What does it mean to be human? How will we use our humanity to add value in the future? 

In the future, what will be most marketable are our unique human attributes such as our exquisite human touch, creativity, relationship-building prowess, empathy and our ability to understand complex human structures. Want job security? Cultivate resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness and lifelong learning. 

It’s no longer what you know, it’s what you’re learning that provides stability in the workforce of the future.

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