The use of the technology of Artificial Intelligence offers new potentials which have raised some critical topics of concerns. AI power to highly improve cost, quality and access, has made its implementation very appealing to many fields of human activity.
But how AI is changing employee experience and how HR respond to? In order for HR to leverage AI and shape the future of work, proper change management models should be adopted to support organizations in the redefying process of their operation for improved performance and agility.
“Digital is not the cherry on the cake, it is the new cake.” Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman, L’Oréal Group
According to IBM’s 2017 survey of 6,000 executives, “Extending expertise: How cognitive computing is transforming HR and the employee experience”
- 66 % of CEOs believe cognitive computing can drive significant value in HR
- 54 % of HR executives believe that cognitive computing will affect key roles in the HR organization.
The Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) reported in a 2017 survey that
- 52 % percent of respondents indicated their businesses were unlikely to adopt AI in their HR departments in the next five years.
- 36 % believe their organization was too small to do so
- 28 % said their senior leadership did not see the need for such technology
There are many challenges for the leaders of HR to integrate the new technology to the existing human forces and to lead the business to great achievements and success.
“AI forces HR to rethink its added value and license to operate.” Robert Charlier, PwC
Four key aspects which HR managers have primarily to focus on for the better use of AI are:
Every organization must evaluate the reason behind the use of AI. It could be the wish to reduce the repetitive work or to empower services with fast-pacing technology or any reason that the organization deems useful.
However, it is very early to depend entirely upon AI, but an ideal scenario is to create a perfect combination of human as well as artificial intelligence. Redesigning business processes requires higher-level responsibility which is based upon creativity, innovation and tapping upon the requirements.
“Automation and a human touch don’t be mutually exclusive. Strategically combining them can deliver unrivaled results.” Stacey Browning, Paycor
It’s imperative for organizations to adopt, accept, analyze the potential of AI in business strategy and work in that direction.
The change management strategies and policies should consider the forces that lead to change or to resistance as explained by the Lewin’s Force Field theory, especially in AI application where the fear to unknown is much more vital.
Force field theory is a model for analyzing and defining decision situations where changes in either direction or magnitude are required, whether these are as a consequence of an internal or external requirement placed on the organization.
The model explains forces that lead to change and forces that restrain it. Lewin in his theory assumes that both driving and restraining forces influence the change that occur.
DRIVING FORCES are considered to be the forces that influence the current situation and lead to change.
On the other hand, RESTRAINING FORCES are those forces that their act diminishes the influence of the driving forces.
In order for change to occur there must not be an equilibrium between the two forces, the driving forces for change must exceed.
The application of Lewin’s model to analyze AI can easily be understood through the following proposed stages:
HR managers should create motivation and prepare the ground for the implementation of AI. Communication policies should be applied so as knowledge and support for the new situation to be provided to employees. Some organizations fall into the trap of spending most of their budget on the new AI solution, and not nearly enough on training.
Employees should be empowered to embrace the change and to adopt the new working system introduces by the employment of the AI in various task of working system.
The tactics the HR should apply is praise, reward and reinforcement in order to consolidate the use of AI and to establish a new order.
Going from a sector without AI, to one with it, is a big step. AI has the power to transform organization and in order to leverage the benefits that come with this technology, a strong change management strategy is needed to be formed.
The ADKAR change management model developed by Jeff Hiatt in 2003 and introduced as a practical tool by Prosci, provides to HR managers a strong and useful tool to facilitate change, to understand employees’ response to AI application, to support the transition periods, to create the proper environment and skills for achievement and stabilize the new working procedures combining humans and AI talents.
It includes five steps for the AI use to be achieved. If organizations employ this 5 step model, change will be more successful.
At this stage, employees must understand the nature of change, the reasons of AI implementation and the risk not adopting it. Strategies for building awareness are the use of different means of media to:
Motivation and personal choice are critical in supporting and getting involved to change. The actions and words of the HR leader create great influence to employees’ desire for change. Some of the strategies of this stage are:
- the involvement of senior leaders in addressing the concerns about Ai application
- the dealing of issues and problems emerged by the new technology
- the demonstration of the benefits of Ai introduction
- the support of the change
- the understanding of employees’ objections and concerns about their future jobs
- the engagement of the workforce in the AI adaptation process
At this stage HRM should focus on the training for skills and behavior the AI applications need, the information concerning the function of the new processes and the new rules and roles of responsibility related to the new working process. Strategies for developing knowledge are:
- the analysis of the current needs and the future offered by AI application
- the proper design of the training programs for the easiest AI adaptation
- the organization of personal coaching for difficult tasks
- the involvement of great users, groups and forums of AI users of other fields
The capability of the workforce to implement AI applications to their working tasks is demonstrated through achievements of change. The strategies to reach higher performance levels are:
- the personal coaching to fill in the gaps in employees’ skills and abilities from their experience with AI collaboration
- the creation of a safe working environment to practice the new conditions
- the mentoring of AI expertise and the measurement of AI performance
At this stage of change management all actions focus on the stabilization and strengthen of the change. Employees are encouraged to support the implementation of AI applications even after their first adaptation. Strategies to consolidate change are:
- the recognition of AI implementation
- the feedback from their use and coexistence with previous procedures
- the constant review of performance data
AI application and implementation present a great potential in addressing important challenges, but might also be limited by the quality of data provided and the inability for a proper integration by the workforce.
Instead of the resistance to AI and the advantages losses, HR professionals must cultivate the proper knowledge and background for the opportunities to come by the new technologies.
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