"The Artificial Intelligence Landscape in 2020" (1) is a report by McKinsey & Company, in which 2,395 executives were interviewed, representing a huge variety of industries around the world.
The central idea presented is that the deployment of AI in companies drives revenues and those considered high performers know how to use it most effectively to achieve success.
"Technology will reinvent the business, but human relationships will continue to be the key to success" – Stephen Covey
In the report in question I identified some challenges and opportunities for HR – and the main one is to exponentiate people with the support of Artificial Intelligence.
Insights and observations on each topic in the report
1. Adoption and impact of AI
50% of respondents reported that their companies have adopted AI in at least one business function – most use AI to develop or improve products and services.
In terms of HR, only 10% of companies applied AI for talent management optimization and 7% for performance management (recruitment, retention, etc.). The report points out how impactful AI deployment is, and the numbers show that this technology is still underutilized when it comes to strategic HR.
"Strategic HR is a model of Human Resources management in which professionals are a strategic part of the company. Strategic HR has the mission of optimizing processes and decisions with the use of technology, data and indicators, assisting in the growth and profitability of the business" – Gupy (2)
2. What sets the best companies apart?
AI algorithms have several applications, among them, bringing to light information relevant to business. They are very important to support strategic decisions, but should not be used as the only decision-makers – leadership, know-how and market experience are still the most important aspects in decisions.
Managers who lead their teams seeking continuous innovation, using AI, tend to lead their companies to achieve more expressive numbers in their performance indicators, which can be translated into higher revenues. AI helps these leaders and their teams achieve better performances, a deeper understanding of micro to macro scenarios, and gain clearer insights into the desires of their company and customers, but in this positive scenario there is a big problem... According to the survey, only 36% of technical teams working with AI are successfully recruited and integrated into high-performing organizations. This number drops to 21% in other companies. These professionals may therefore be ill-equipped to develop decision-making systems.
3. Managing AI risks
The issue of integrating technical teams from the previous topic has a direct connection to this topic.
Among the various risks scored, 31% of respondents consider the relocation/dismissal of people a relevant risk. The number drops to 24 percent when it comes to equity and fairness. This positioning has devastating potential for the company's ESG.
"ESG is an acronym used to refer to the best environmental, social and governance practices of a business" – Nubank (3)
Without purpose and social impact, mission, vision and values are just "beautiful words" emblazoned on the walls of companies.
The development of AI algorithms in a responsible way, along with the creation of ESG policies, has moved companies towards very important changes in their business so that they can better meet the expectations of their customers. According to a report by Computer World (4), the four pillars of a responsible AI are:
Discussions around ESG and Responsible AI are raising leaders' awareness of the positive and negative impacts of AI. In general terms this concern comes from more conscious and informed societies, which have chosen products and services from companies with business models that meet these requirements.
There are significant advantages for organizations that empower their teams in favor of this global awareness and that have a clear understanding of the impacts caused by their products and services throughout their production chain.
4. The COVID-19 effect
The pandemic has accelerated a number of changes that were already underway, for example, Digital Transformation and the adoption of AI in many companies.
61% of respondents from high-performing companies reported that investments in AI have increased because of the pandemic, however, at other companies this number is only 25%.
AI, one of the core technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution, is creating unicorns and bankrupting well-established companies. Increasingly, people are working in hybrid workplaces and doing processes online that were previously solely face-to-face.
Having an understanding of this technology is no longer a market differential but a matter of survival.
There is much to discuss and learn from the data presented and insights from the report. We can infer that in companies there is a lot of room for improvement in the development, implementation of AI solutions, that the most successful companies have a head start and are capitalizing on their advantages.
The amount of companies using AI to improve and monitor the performance of their teams is still low. In addition, with the expansion of remote/hybrid work opportunities, in many companies new employees begin to work from home without coordinated integration, sometimes working longer hours, being less productive, and suffering from increased stress level.
I believe in how important and transformational the symbiosis between Leadership, Innovation and AI is. This technology allows to positively impact the HR area in several aspects, such as, for example, providing insights that improve people's productivity to achieve better results and consequently cultivate happier teams.
Many HRs work on tight budgets, or with a lack of autonomy to decide where resources will be invested. It is necessary to have adaptations and often profound changes in the culture and business model of many companies, so that there is Digital Transformation that, with the support of Artificial Intelligence, can solve most of these problems, in addition to reducing the need for the intervention of managers in transactional processes so that they have more time to take care of people.
How has your company dealt with these challenges?