AI, AI, O!

Authored by: Roger Pearman and Robert Eichinger

Abstract: Just because you build an AI-assisted development app, doesn’t mean people will use it.  AI will offer materially more opportunities to grow and prosper, but not everyone will engage.  Human nature is the blocker.

As we are all quickly learning, artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of computers to access large language models (LLMs) to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence such as reasoning, learning, decision making, and creativity.  AI is transforming every aspect of our society, from health care to education, from business to entertainment, from security to sustainability.  It can help us solve some of the most pressing challenges we’ve ever faced, such as climate change, poverty, disease, and inequality. However, AI can also pose some risks and challenges, such as ethical dilemmas, negative social impacts, and human rights issues.

AI is already helping many HR professionals do more and do better when serving their internal customers.  It will do even more in the near future.

One of the ways that AI can help human resource professionals do a better job is by automating and optimizing some of the more routine and repetitive tasks, such as screening resumes, scheduling interviews, conducting background checks or aggregating human resource data. This can save time and resources, reduce human errors and biases, and improve the quality and diversity of hires, and of data.

AI can also help HR professionals by providing data-driven insights and recommendations for strategic decision-making, such as for hiring, retention, performance management, succession, employee engagement or the sourcing of solutions and vendors that can bring additional value to the organization. AI can analyze large amounts of data from various sources, such as surveys, assessments, feedback, or social media, and identify patterns, trends, and gaps that can inform better policies and practices. For learning professionals and curriculum designers, AI can also generate personalized and adaptive learning and development programs for employees based on their unique skills, interests, and goals.

AI can enhance communication and collaboration between HR professionals and the employees and stakeholders they serve, by creating more interactive and engaging platforms for things such as chatbots, virtual assistants, or gamified systems. These can provide more timely and relevant information, guidance, and feedback to employees, as well as collect and respond to their queries, concerns, and suggestions.

AI can foster a more inclusive and diverse culture, by facilitating cross-cultural and cross-functional interactions, and by detecting and addressing issues of discrimination, harassment or bias.

The Talent Management Question

It’s clear that AI4HR/Talent Management will have a material administrative benefit.  It will cost less to do more and may do some things at a higher level of quality.  It can spur a wave of creativity and innovation from professionals that used to spend their time on repetitive, routine administrative tasks, and it may provide HR with more clout.

Less certain is whether it will lead to material Outcomes–the ever-important O.

So what’s the AI, AI, O proposition?

Leadership Development, Talent Management and Succession Planning are proven, important activities that CEOs and other stakeholders worry about. A lot of time, energy and resources are used to address these issues. 

The need is simple: source, hire and develop talent to deploy against the Mission, Vision and Strategies of the organization to deliver current and future performance. This leads to a continuously flourishing organization that satisfies multiple constituencies and stakeholders.

And the delivery is also simple.  There are abundant best practice processes and tools to execute all the pieces and parts of a Total Talent Management System, all now being enhanced by AI.  The outcome? Aligned talent deployed throughout the organization with exemplar leaders, and with strength on the bench for continuity.

Everything related to talent management will be faster, better and cheaper because of AI.  But what about the O? What about the quality of the Outcomes?  Will we have more and better talent?  Better team members, team leads, supervisors, manager, leaders?  More successful organizations? If these aren’t the realized Outcomes, then it will all be for naught.

You can lead a horse to water…

Just because it’s better and more available doesn’t mean everyone is going to use it.

The O is contingent upon prospective talent realizing its value and deploying skills and abilities more often.  Specifically in talent development, there will be more user-friendly access to better curated and vetted information, for everyone, and at the speed of need. This is an equitable benefit, available to everyone for addressing their unique needs.

AI will enhance the level of self-awareness–the starting line for the race to the top. 

AI will enhance the development of success profiles for all roles and jobs. KSA requirements will be available to all, to know and to develop.

AI will enable more and better feedback on anyone’s current KSA Profile and needs for any career goal or future state.

Then AI will deliver the absolute best researched-based, experience-tested, practitioner-confirmed, thought leader-aligned, individualized and contextualized developmental coaching and counsel that has ever been available. It will support the creation of the best individual development plan (IDP) imaginable. We have already seen this become a reality with our Career Architect©!

Then what?

…but you can’t make them drink.

The world is full of great stuff that people don’t use or take advantage of. There are people who have never used a smart phone, won’t buy a hybrid or EV car, won’t stream or use social media, won’t take their prescription medicine as directed and don’t exercise or maintain a healthy diet. The list is quite long.

Alas, the same will be true of AI-driven and -assisted HR tools and processes.  Again, a subset of the eligible population (mostly high potential and high protential contributors) will take advantage of the better stuff. Most will get more O.

About 1/3 will get better O from AI. They will use improved and AI-enhanced tools to learn more, learn faster, advance more quickly and fulfill their career aspirations with more certainty. The gap between users and passive observers will grow wider.

It’s all about closing the Know-Care-Do gap, by converting intention into action while acting on the higher quality advice and counsel, and by actively responding to feedback. The users have long shown that it’s about motivation and their need for achievement, and those drivers are being enhanced and accelerated by AI.   

Many coaches and TM professionals have asked whether AI might put them out of business. Only if they let it. A remaining task is to help prospective talent act on the higher quality advice and counsel, and to serve as an ideation, planning and accountability partner.

Getting more people towards “O”

What’s hanging out there (getting the O out of the AI investment) is that more people, with a little bit of support, can close the Know-Care-Do gap,. Many will need encouragement and hand-holding. That’s where the rest of the O will come from.

It’s always been mOtivation that makes the difference in the adoption of anything new.  And it will again be mOtivation that makes the difference in AI-assisted tool adoption and use.

Bring on the coaches and bosses who can enhance anyone’s motivation to act.

AI, AI, O.

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