5 Principles to Leverage AI in Your Talent Strategy

September 23rd, 2019

As Josh Bersin shares in his recent article, HR in the Age of AI: Lots of Change Ahead, the most transformative and disruptive trend affecting organizations across the globe is the explosive impact of AI. Many companies are now leveraging AI heavily in the HR function. For us as HR leaders, AI will change every process we touch. The way we source, assess, hire, train, develop, pay, and move people is all being informed by AI.

Here are five core principles taken from our HR in the Age of AI program that will help you as an HR professional leverage AI to transform your talent strategy. Join the Josh Bersin Academy before September 30th to enroll in the program.

1. Get comfortable with Augmented Intelligence (AI)

We’re witnessing the evolution of smarter humans accompanied by smarter machines. A way to cut through and make sense of the noise is to reframe AI as augmented intelligence, rather than artificial intelligence. Instead of going into a state of distress over the common narrative of a new technology that is here to take the jobs of your people, why not view AI's ultimate goal as assisting people in doing their jobs better and more effectively than ever before? That’s where the real innovation will happen. Get comfortable with AI, it’s not going anywhere.

2. Begin to build a cognitive enterprise

For the past decade or so, we’ve been living in the digital revolution, where the effects of our always-on, always-connected world are once again upending businesses. It has, for the most part, been an outside-in transformation, where organizations have reacted and adapted to the massive information flows of the digital era. Which brings us to now. Leading organizations are now transforming to take full advantage of the changes brought by AI, automation, and other technologies. This new business model is being dubbed the Cognitive Enterprise, where iterative thinking and learning are at the core of how an organization works.

3. Transform your HR organization to support AI

As organizations transform into Cognitive Enterprises, powered by smart humans working alongside intelligent machines, HR has an incredibly important role to play. As the organization reinvents itself to adapt to changing ways of working, we have to lead and leverage those changes. Often HR is the part of the business that is most bogged down by the kinds of work that AI aims to augment. We get stuck in the heaps of low-level, routine, never-ending tasks that are the drumbeat of organizational daily life. And we don’t have enough time or creative energy to do the high-level, human-only work of strategic thinking and problem-solving. In order to free ourselves to truly support organizational transformation, we have to change how we work and change our HR culture. It’s time for us to embrace the power of data, AI, and other digital tools to update and enhance our workflows.

4. Prepare your people for the skills revolution

AI is radically changing what it means to be an employee. What will jobs look like in the future? How can we prepare people to take advantage of AI and automation? What does all of this future-forward thinking mean for our work today? The problem is that, as technology upends the way we work, there aren’t enough people with the right skills to take advantage of it. To solve this, begin to look at some of the skills that your people will need to prepare for the future. Then consider leveraging AI to help you understand which people have those skills and which need to develop them for the future.

5. Ensure AI practices are fair and inclusive

At this moment in history, AI is not regulated in the traditional sense. Few governments have laws in place dictating rules around privacy, bias, or security with specific respect to AI, leaving organizations largely to regulate themselves. It’s the role of HR who needs to rise to the challenge: we must be highly informed and extra vigilant around the potential for bias, discrimination, and other kinds of unfairness that arise from AI tools. When it comes to HR leadership around AI, our work is not so much about compliance with the law as it is about training a keen eye toward fairness and inclusivity in all of our AI practices. We need to think about the big-picture ways in which AI is changing the way we work—and to make sure those changes align with our core mission and values.


To learn more about how to leverage AI to transform your HR strategy check out our HR in the Age of AI Program within The Josh Bersin Academy.