By: Emily He – Blogs Oracle
When you really think about it, what we call “work” hasn’t evolved much since the Industrial Revolution: While the technology has made most tasks easier, the name of the game is still mass production—codifying business processes using technology and scaling it across the entire enterprise. But artificial intelligence (AI) changes the game. Rather than fitting people into a repetitive process, AI offers the opportunity to liberate them from it altogether, freeing their time and creative energy for more strategic and meaningful work. For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, technology is being used to bring humanity back to work.
This revolution actually began at home, thanks to the smart technology behind Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, which have found a place in our daily lives. We can ask questions and expect helpful and accurate answers. It’s a much more conversational, intuitive human way of interacting with technology than we’re used to at work. Enterprise software reflects a set of predefined business processes (accounting, HR, etc.) into which people input data, allowing the system to produce the right outcomes.
Now, technology can start with the outcome. Think about how you engage with Google Maps: The outcome is getting to your destination as quickly as possible. Behind the scenes, the app is
synthesizing inputs, such as traffic, slowdowns, and construction, to recommend the best route. When people come to work, they expect the same type of experience.
AI and Employee Experience: A Few Use Cases
About 10 years ago, HR started transitioning from a compliance-oriented function to one driven by employee experience. That’s because, more and more, employees want to connect with the company’s values and understand how they’re contributing to the organization. It’s up to HR to deliver that kind of employee experience. Luckily, AI technology is already available to make this happen. Here’s how:
For employees: AI is already transforming the HR help desk. Earlier this year, Oracle launched an HR-specific digital assistant and it allows employees to ask questions with their voice, or through text on their mobile phones. They can quickly get answers, such as directory information, vacation balance, paychecks, expense reports, and more. The conversational user interface can also help guide employees to the right business processes, such as manager feedback, without having to know ahead of time where to navigate to.
For applicants: The recruitment and application process is the first time anybody experiences your employer brand, so it’s really important to deliver an engaging candidate experience. Chatbots can guide candidates through the recruiting process by answering questions around job requirements or position details, as well as providing guidance on the next steps in the recruiting process.
For recruiters: In addition to helping recruiters find the right candidates based on job requirements, AI can also analyze your organization’s most successful employees to identify criteria that you may not be aware of, and use those to help you recommend the candidates that are the most likely to succeed for your target positions. Additionally, AI can be leveraged to reduce unconscious bias by ignoring demographic factors, such as the candidate’s gender, race, and age, which research has shown to affect hiring decisions.
The relationship between humans and machines will be completely redefined in the next five or 10 years. As AI and robotics take over routine, repetitive tasks, the humans working alongside them will take on what Deloitte calls “superjobs.” These superjobs are those that can only be done by humans, bringing together technical skills with “soft” skills in areas such as communication, service, and collaboration.
Let’s say I’m in charge of the HR help desk. In the past, my job was to field questions from employees and get answers to them as fast as possible. Now, I can use AI to automate the answers I already know. My job immediately becomes more strategic, offering faster responses to common questions and additional high- touch services to employees that will take their experience to the next level, leading to greater engagement and reduced turnover.
Now that AI has reached a level where it can automate a lot of the things we don’t really want to do, we have more time to focus on creativity, strategy, and more importantly, connecting with each other, which is what humans want to do in the first place. Let me leave you with this parting thought: In the Deloitte survey, 36% of respondents say they are “reimagining work.” Now that you have the power of AI, what will you imagine work to be?