It’s not only employees and businesses who face change and possible disruption from the spread of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. HR must also prepare for the impact AI will have.

AI, automation and robotics all have implications for how many of us will work in the future.

How Will AI Affect HR Strategies?

A 2018 survey from the software company CIPHR has revealed that over half of HR professionals expect automation to have an immediate impact on strategy.

Worries about the impact of AI and automation are adding to ongoing concerns about the UK’s skills shortage

In 2016, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) reported that one in four UK jobs were unfilled.

Businesses face rapid change, and to support them, HR also must look at what approaches they need to take.

While much of the current focus has been on job losses or displacement, this is too narrow a view, and doesn’t point towards any long-term solutions.

With many present-day school children likely to be working as adults in jobs that don’t currently exist, the focus for HR should be on adaptable, forward-thinking learning and development.

What About the Bigger Picture?

PwC has estimated that 30% of existing UK jobs could be affected by AI and automation.

What will happen to these jobs? They won’t all disappear, but rather, many of them will change.  Therefore, HR must be in the right position to help prepare people for this change.

It means moving away from an emphasis on just the current skills you need, to learning skills for what you’ll be doing in the near future.   

It’s about anticipating the future requirements of industry and integrating them into meeting its current needs.

Already, many businesses state their commitment to their workforce’s continuous improvement.  This is something for HR to build on, and to encourage the spread of this ethos into many other areas of work.

It is, in fact, a cultural change. It should underpin a new flexibility in the economy; with implications for workforce planning and training in the future.

Businesses cannot realistically resist or ignore the inroads that AI and automation are making.

Technological advances will continue to up the pace of change, therefore, the task for HR, in supporting business across a spectrum of sectors, is to ensure the workforce is properly prepared

This is a new revolution, in which potentially all of us have a part to play.