There are no proven guidelines that describe how an enterprise can best combine the strengths of humans and machines. Human capital executives will have to work closely with other business leaders to find the best route.

The emergence of intelligent enterprises, which combine the reasoning abilities of humans and machines to gain competitive advantage, will place huge demands on executives responsible for human capital management.

They’ll have to prepare employees for the further incursion of artificial intelligence throughout much of the workplace. They’ll need to reskill and redeploy workers whose jobs have been automated while also enabling other workers to use intelligent machines to augment and enhance their tasks. Furthermore, staff development, performance management and remuneration criteria will all have to be revised. Search and hiring requirements will also need to change.

Our research shows that employees are likely to have mixed attitudes to the impending spread of artificial intelligence in the workplace. Around 84 percent of all managers, for example, expect artificial intelligence to make their work more effective and interesting. However, 36 percent fear it will threaten their jobs.

To successfully integrate artificial intelligence within the workforce, and build intelligent enterprises, human capital executives need to work closely with other leaders throughout the organization. There are no proven guidelines that describe how an enterprise can best combine the strengths of humans and machines. Executives will have to explore the capabilities of artificial intelligence, experiment with test applications, and share learning and insights.

Key steps should include:

Encourage buy-in from managers. Many managers, particularly middle and entry-level managers, are wary of artificial intelligence and need to understand how intelligent machines work before they trust them. Involving such managers in early pilot projects will help them overcome their skepticism and reduce resistance to the roll-out of intelligent machines.

Track sensitive data. As intelligent machines become entrenched within organizations they will handle increasing amounts of sensitive data. The processing, storing and sharing of this data by such smart systems need to be carefully controlled to ensure governance and regulatory requirements are not compromised.

Revise key performance indicators (KPIs). Intelligent enterprises will require managers to display a willingness and ability to collaborate, share information, experiment, learn and innovate. KPIs should be revised to promote these attributes.

Devise new training and recruitment strategies. Established workforces may understand the history and context of their organizations but they’re likely to lack skills, such as creativity and problem-solving, essential in an intelligent enterprise. New training and recruitment strategies will be needed to plug these gaps.

Look outside the organization for inspiration. Traditional approaches to transformation are likely to be inadequate. Nimble and creative organizations, such as start-ups, advertising agencies and humanitarian groups, can provide useful insights into how to encourage workers to better collaborate and innovate.

In my next blog post I’ll discuss the key skills senior executives will need to lead intelligent enterprises. Meanwhile, take a look at these links. I think you’ll find them useful.

The promise of artificial intelligence: Redefining management in the workforce of the future.

A machine in the C-suite.


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