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Why CHROs are the key to unlocking the potential of AI for the workforce 

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It’s no longer a question of whether AI will transform business and the workforce, but how it will happen. A study by the IBM® Institute for Business Value revealed that up to three-quarters of CEOs believe that competitive advantage will depend on who has the most advanced generative AI. 

With so many leaders now embracing the technology for business transformation, some wonder which C-Suite leader will be in the driver’s seat to orchestrate and accelerate that change. 

CHROs today are perfectly positioned to take the lead on both people skills and AI skills, ushering the workforce into the future. Here’s how top CHROs are already seizing the opportunity. 

Orchestrating the new human + AI workforce 

Today, businesses are no longer only focused on finding the human talent they need to execute their business strategy. They’re thinking more broadly about how to build, buy, borrow or “bot” the skills needed for the present and future.  

The CHRO’s primary challenge is to orchestrate the new human plus AI workforce. Top CHROs are already at work on this challenge, using their comprehensive understanding of the workforce and how to design roles and skills within an operating model to best leverage the strengths of both humans and AI.  

In the past, that meant analyzing the roles that the business needs to execute its strategy, breaking those roles down into their component skills and tasks and creating the skilling and hiring strategy to fill gaps. Going forward, that means assessing job descriptions, identifying the tasks best suited to technology and the tasks best suited to people and redesigning the roles and the work itself.  

Training the AI as well as the people 

As top CHROs partner with their C-Suite peers to reinvent roles and change how tasks get done with AI and automation, they are also thinking about the technology roadmap for skills. With the skills roadmap established, they can play a key role in building AI-powered solutions that fit the business’ needs.  

HR leaders have the deep expertise in training best practices that can inform not only how people are trained for skills, but how the AI solutions themselves are trained.  

To train a generative AI assistant to learn project management, for example, you need a strong set of unstructured data about the work and tasks required. HR leaders know the right steps to take around sourcing and evaluating content for training, collaborating with the functional subject matter experts for that area.  

That’s only the beginning. Going forward, business leaders will also need to consider how to validate, test and certify these AI skills.  

Imagine an AI solution trained to support accountants with key accounting tasks. How will businesses test and certify those skills and maintain compliance, as rigorously as is done for a human accountant getting an accounting license? What about certifications like CPP or Six Sigma? HR leaders have the experience and knowledge of leading practices around training, certification and more that businesses will need to answer these questions and truly implement this new operating model.  

Creating a culture focused on growth mindset and learning 

Successfully implementing technology depends on having the right operating model and talent to power it. Employees need to understand how to use the technology and buy in to adopting it. It is fundamentally a leadership and change journey, not a technology journey.  

Every organization will need to increase the overall technical acumen of their workforce and make sure that they have a basic understanding of AI so they can be both critical thinkers and users of the technology. Here, CHROs will lean into their expertise and play a critical role moving forward—up-skilling people, creating cultures of growth mindset and learning and driving sustained organizational change.  

For employees to get the most out of AI, they need to understand how to prompt it, evaluate its outputs and then refine and modify. For example, when you engage with a generative AI-powered assistant, you will get very different responses if you ask it to “describe it to an executive” versus “describe it to a fifth-grader.” Employees also need to be educated and empowered to ask the right questions about AI’s outputs and source data and analyze them for accuracy, bias and more.  

While we’re still in the early phases of the age of AI, leading CHROs have a pulse on the anticipated impact of these powerful technologies. Those who can seize the moment to build a workforce and skills strategy that makes the most of human talent plus responsibly trained AI will be poised to succeed. 

Unlock employee and work potential

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