The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the work environment is booming! Between 2015 and 2019, an advisory group, Gartner, found that the business use of AI grew by 270%. This was before McKinsey & Co. called "AI's breakout year" for 2023.
Looking ahead, Gartner surveyed 2,400 CIOs and tech executives to find out their expectations for 2024. This survey revealed 73% of respondents expect to increase their investment in AI and machine learning in the workplace.
This means AI is becoming increasingly important, not just as a task automator but for helping guide company decisions in real time. These decisions help companies stay relevant, resilient, and ready for future challenges.
AI in workforce planning isn't just about guiding decisions; it also helps improve employee performance and well-being. When companies use AI in the workplace, it fosters an environment where employees feel confident and skilled.
Let's look at one important example: how AI can help plan the workforce for the future. Companies are looking for new ways to succeed in the coming years. In this article, we'll show you three ways to leverage AI's potential to plan and organize your workforce for the long run.
1: Skill Mapping and Upskilling
According to consultancy group Deloitte, "One of the biggest advantages of AI in HR is the ability to enable organizations to take advantage of the opportunity marketplace at scale". In other words, this means that AI helps companies make the most of big opportunities effectively.
Deloitte also calls out that understanding the skills your workforce needs is not easy. However, AI can assist in identifying the necessary skills your employees require to perform their roles effectively. This not only saves time but also has a positive impact on employee engagement.
In practical terms, AI can analyze large datasets to find which skills are becoming important in your industry. Once you pinpoint which skills are essential, you can begin targeted training and skill-building programs. This way, your employees stay competitive and skilled, which is great for their job performance and job satisfaction. When employees feel well-prepared, they tend to enjoy their work more.
2: Enhancing Workforce Productivity
AI and automation aren't just about replacing people's jobs; it's also about making people even better at what they do. As Workable.com puts it, "As an HR professional, you should find places where your employees and AI can work together. Companies are advised to strike a balance between improving the skills of their employees and using technology to create a symbiotic relationship between humans and AI."
Ironically, AI can assist with this task! AI-powered tools can monitor workflows, identify bottlenecks, and suggest optimization strategies. This not only improves employee performance but also improves the employee experience through the use of machine learning and predictive analytics.
To improve decision-making, businesses should know where their team spends time and which tasks are difficult or delayed. This enables them to strategically redistribute tasks, automate repetitive actions, and introduce AI-augmented tools more effectively. This doesn't just increase productivity and experience but also benefits the company's bottom line.
3: Adapting to New Workforce Models
With the rise of the gig economy, long-term planning for business is changing. It's not just about having permanent employees working at the office anymore. Companies are now considering different types of workers, like freelancers, gig workers, or even people working remotely from their homes.
AI can be a big help in figuring out which roles are best for the different types of workers. It assists businesses in identifying which positions are suitable for full-time employees and which can be outsourced to freelancers or gig workers. This not only results in cost savings but also provides greater flexibility and access to a broader talent pool.
The Brookings Institute, a think-tank in Washington, DC, says "By using AI to increase the supply of workers of more types (e.g., contractors, gig workers) through improved communication, coordination, and matching, workforce ecosystems can grow more easily, effectively, and efficiently."
But there's an important thing to think about - ethics.
If AI isn't designed and used carefully, it can have unfair biases because of the data it has learned from. Part of planning for the long term is making sure that the AI tools are fair and honest and don't have any hidden biases. This is where data analysis and the help of HR managers come in. They play a key role in making an automated solution that works smoothly for all kinds of workers.
Data Privacy and Security Using AI
If you are using AI-powered workforce planning, ensuring employee data privacy and security is crucial. While AI and automation transform businesses manage their workforce, protecting sensitive employee data is of utmost importance.
According to Gartner, CIOs' top areas of future investment in 2024 include cybersecurity, data analytics, and cloud platforms. As companies increase the use of AI, they are focusing more on the data security of these platforms. As you consider using AI and automation keep the below information in mind:
Compliance with Data Protection Laws
Meeting data protection regulations like GDPR and CCPA is pretty much mandatory. Non-compliance of these regulations can bring fines or legal penalties to your business. AI systems handling data must comply with these rules to safeguard employee rights and maintain trust.
Secure Data Handling
It's important to use strong encryption methods and secure data storage practices. Since AI systems process large amounts of information, securing sensitive data against unauthorized access or breaches is a top priority.
The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation in workforce planning is not just a trend; it's a strategic necessity. The statistics speak for themselves, with AI's growth in the workplace skyrocketing. It's not just a tool for automating tasks; it's a guide for companies, providing real-time insights that enhance decision-making, adaptability, and resilience.
We've covered three key ways to leverage AI in workforce planning. From skill mapping and upskilling to enhancing workforce productivity and adapting to new workforce models, AI is transforming the way businesses prepare for the future. It allows companies to stay agile, remain competitive, and make the most of opportunities that present themselves.
While AI in the workplace can be exciting, it's important to remember the ethical considerations. AI, if not carefully designed and implemented can have unfair biases. Data analysis and the help of HR managers have to ensure AI tools are transparent, accountable, and fair.
As you plan ahead, it's clear that AI will continue to play a crucial role in shaping the future of work. By embracing these technologies and leveraging their potential, businesses can set themselves on a path toward success in a rapidly evolving business landscape.
CoAdvantage, a leading Professional Employer Organization (PEO), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.