4 Tips for HR on Improving Org Dynamics & Engagement with AI

Deidre Paknad  ::  Strategy & Execution

At HR West 2024, more than 100 HR professionals joined a panel discussion on Unlocking the Power of AI: Transforming Organizational Dynamics and Employee Empowerment. I was thrilled to be a panelist because this is a topic that should be at the top of the list for every HR org (and it already is for CHROs)!

My 4 takeaways are a great starting point for those who have yet to jump in and are great validation to those already charting the course forward.

Don’t wait.

Virtually every CEO and a rising tide of CHROs have prioritized using AI to elevate performance, productivity, and people — be a part of the solution. HR should take a leadership role not a laggard posture on AI for your workforce; many chief people officers I speak with, like Enrique Toledo at Modivcare, have already done so.

To get started check out what Donna Morris, Mackenzi Crank, and the Walmart HR team have done with AI to elevate their workforce! Vision meets execution.

Improve lives.

While there are many novel ways to use AI, focus on reducing friction and fatigue for your workforce with generative AI, in particular. Generative AI distills and drafts content for people saving them time and often improving the integrity and eloquence of what they communicate. Think of it as providing an 80% complete first draft of something in just 3 seconds (yes!!) that a person can then polish the last 20% ... instead of struggle from 0.

GenAI does delightfully fast what humans do frustratingly slow! At WorkBoard, we’ve already embedded a Co-Author that helps employees generate:

  • OKRs to align faster
  • Dependencies Lists to reduce blind spots
  • Executive Briefings to eliminate meetings
  • Scorecards & Status Summaries to save time
  • Employee Progress Snapshots to improve coaching in the flow of work

Get informed.

Using GenAI and data to improve productivity and advantage is a topic for virtually every CEO and board of directors according to E&Y (their Q4 CEO survey showed 99% of CEOs were investing significantly despite the difficult economic climate).

If you don’t know how your CEO feels about AI, it’s easy to find out:

  • Do a Google search with your CEO’s name and “AI” — what is the CEO saying?
  • Find the last earnings call recording on your website and see what the CEO or CFO told shareholders.
  • Check your Intranet to see if there is an IT AI council. Very often, there is also money set aside to experiment and invest in AI solutions that improve productivity so the benefits aren’t missed for a year because no one saw it coming during last year’s budget cycle.
  • If you have an OKR or strategy platform that gives you transparency on senior leaders’ objectives and results, who on has objectives to drive AI? Check the CEO, CHRO and CIO’s.

Be wise.

As with any technology that involves your data, it’s important to be informed and protective (but not paralyzed). These simple steps are good principles to work from as you bring AI implementations to life:

  • Your data must be used for your benefit not the vendor’s or its other customers. Ensure that your data is private and is never used to train their models or informing answers provided to other customers.
  • Ask the provider what they’re doing to ensure AI-generated information or responses are ethical, fair, inclusive and trustworthy. If they don’t have an answer, they’re not doing enough.
  • If your identified solution uses generative AI, ensure there is a “human in the loop”. The human in the loop proofs the “drafted” information GenAI provides before it’s published or syndicated.
  • Partner with your IT AI counsel after you’ve identified solutions of value to your workforce and that pass the first check points with you.
  • Use Workday’s Trustworthy AI resources to get up to speed and identify partners they trust for solutions.
  • Work with HR and executive leadership teams on a value framework for AI – will it be used to elevate people or to replace them? If you must do both, by all means start with the former so the people that remain in the organization can scale and thrive!

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