Josh Bersin, a leading figure in HR and technology, spoke at Unleash 2023 about the most profound change in technology in the last 100 years: AI. ‘But you have to have a business case for it,’ he warns.
Think business case
During his opening keynote at Unleash World in Paris, Bersin addressed the economic drivers, which play a crucial role in this transformation. ‘Despite the amazing promises of artificial intelligence (AI), it is essential to have a business justification for its use. In this economic context, where we are experiencing the longest economic cycle in decades without a severe recession, the labour market has been transformed.
More important chair for HR and recruitment
In these challenging times, HR (and recruitment) has a more important chair than before, observes Bersin. “Companies cannot simply hire new employees to grow. There is a shortage of workers, and unemployment rates are historically low. This scenario is expected to continue for quite some time, leading to the need for HR departments to focus on redeployment, upskilling and technology support.”
Transformation more important than execution
Interestingly, 61% of CEOs focus more on transformation than execution, Bersin quotes a PWC survey. “Employees are also making themselves heard and expressing their dissatisfaction with the current situation, which is reflected in strikes in the US and Europe.”
Crucial role for AI
Therein lies a crucial role for AI in the post-industrial era, as Bersin calls it. “The only path to business growth is through productivity and AI. Companies need to embrace technology and learn how to use it effectively. It is not just about improving HR, but enabling all employees and managers to work in a more productive way. This requires investment in training, development and creating a learning culture.”
“Moreover, companies face a plethora of technology solutions. The HR technology market has grown tremendously in recent years, with a plethora of tools and applications. In the past three years, the average number of business apps has increased by 57%, adding to the complexity. Companies need to consolidate and use the available tools more efficiently.”
AI creates skill transformation
Finally, Bersin sees AI slowly but surely transforming the HR and recruitment market. “Companies are adding AI functionalities to their existing HR technologies. Major players like Microsoft are playing an increasing role in these developments, with new tools and suites offering AI-based capabilities.”
Bersin emphasises that AI is making HR and recruitment technology indispensable for business growth, but he also sees challenges. “Companies are increasingly moving towards a skills-based approach, with job titles becoming less relevant. This is a complex task and is complicated by the fact that the market for skills tools is chaotic and fragmented.”