An insight into the hopes and fears of HR professionals. And AI doesn’t appear to be one of them. Yet.
All the talk about automation and the threat to jobs is not getting to the HR profession. The numbers are in and according to new research conducted by AHRI into the future of work, 96 per cent of respondents view AI as an opportunity rather than a threat.
Most HR professionals don’t believe that the jobs in their organisation will be supplanted by AI. However, what the future of the workplace actually means yielded some interesting results, with many thinking it could stretch anywhere from one to 10 years from now. Could it be that HR is in denial, or just optimistic? The survey results appear to point towards the latter, with most feeling technology will improve processes in their organisation. The sentiment seems to be that just because a certain technology is available, it doesn’t mean it has to be used.
“We call our facial recognition technology: “staff”
One organisation that’s determined to use technology where it sees fit is Bank of Queensland. One of the primary goals of the organisation is to maintain the human connection with customers despite advances in technology. This ethos is captured in the slogan plastered in the windows of their branches: “We call our facial recognition technology staff”.
At the heart of this idea is keeping people at the forefront of the business, despite the availability of automated technology. This is not to say that the bank doesn’t plan on using technology going forward. Frank Fillipone, owner manager of Bourke Street’s Bank of Queensland branch in Melbourne, says there is a place for technology, but not as a replacement for human interaction.
“Obviously we believe we’ll be assisted by technology, and that will help us in our goal of personalised banking. But we see it as something that will further strengthen and maintain those relationships and connections,” he says.
According to Fillipone, his employees aren’t afraid of an AI takeover either. “Our employees see technological development as an important and significant thing, as something that will increase efficiency and allow us to actually spend more time with clients. They will then be able to spend more time engaged in strategy and managing various circumstances,” he says.
In Fillipone’s eyes, this is what differentiates the organisation. “Human interaction will be more and more important going forward.”
So what does irk HR about the future? It’s worth mentioning that the gig economy is seen as having the potential to negatively impact on performance, customer service, workplace culture and ethical behaviour.
HR can have a positive role to play in addressing the new world of work, as Lyn Goodear, AHRI CEO explains. “HR clearly has a central role in contributing to a responsive and resilient workforce that needs to accommodate itself to the new ways in which we are now working, and how we are going to deal with greater change as the rapidly emerging phenomena of artificial intelligence and computers are introduced into workplaces.”
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