Imagine a future where artificial intelligence (AI) has redefined the landscape of human resources (HR), transforming productivity, career growth, and equality of opportunity. This future is closer than you might think.
The skilled frontline workforce, encompassing sectors like healthcare, retail, logistics, manufacturing, energy, and public safety, is at the heart of this transformation. Accounting for approximately 30 million jobs in the United States, these roles are often viewed as the last to succumb to traditional automation due to their complexity and on-site nature. But now they stand on the leading edge of an AI evolution that promises to boost large company output by the striking 10-20% we’ve seen at our clients.
To grasp the magnitude of this impact, consider that such an AI-powered productivity surge in the US frontline workforce could elevate productivity growth from its current 1.4% back to its long-term average of 2.2%. This could add a staggering $1 trillion to GDP, or $15K per US household, over the next decade according to recent research by the consultancy McKinsey & Company. Compare this figure to the $700 billion created annually by all of Google’s businesses.
The AI transformation of HR is arriving in the form of three groundbreaking applications:
Shift Optimization AI is reimagining our approach to work schedules, employee mobility, and time-off. It’s an adaptive, dynamic system that aligns company objectives with employee preferences, striking a balance between business needs and workforce satisfaction.
Hiring & Onboarding AI is streamlining these essential processes. Hiring becomes frictionless and instantaneous; professionals can onboard themselves with a few simple clicks, removing any barriers to entry and reducing potential human biases.
Career Pathing AI is creating a clear, optimized roadmap for professional growth. For instance, a nurse in a national hospital chain could see their career progression transformed from a series of ad hoc decisions to an AI-optimized pathway designed to unlock their full potential.
As one might expect, a $1 trillion annual opportunity is not going unnoticed by capital markets. Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and corporations are aligning to nurture a burgeoning industry centered on AI for HR.
Large companies with substantial frontline workforces are particularly well-positioned to pioneer the AI revolution. As we’ve learned, data is the lifeblood of modern HR. Companies with vast datasets stand at the forefront, leveraging deep learning models and reinforcement learning to refine their systems.
The implications extend beyond large corporations. Smaller businesses may find the scale of AI deployment daunting, as large companies become dramatically more nimble, leading to further industry consolidation. But it also signals the emergence of new workforce aggregators tailored for SMBs. Such an aggregator could level the playing field, offering a broader spectrum of career opportunities and paths within the SMB community.
Career sites like Indeed.com, LinkedIn, and Monster.com will also be impacted. To stay relevant, they will need to revamp their data strategies and applicant value propositions as internal systems grow ever smarter and recruitment becomes increasingly automated.
The frontline professionals themselves stand to benefit significantly from the AI revolution. Quicker career progression, better access to high-paying jobs, and AI-informed training and development decisions are just some of the advantages on the horizon.
Likewise, the role of HR professionals will evolve, requiring proficiency in Operations Research to analyze and continually refine HR systems. As AI handles repetitive tasks, HR professionals will oversee larger spans, thousands of employees, elevating their roles.
As we look towards this future, it’s about more than just technology—it’s about the people who stand to benefit from it. Democratizing access to professional opportunities, eliminating hiring barriers, and empowering professionals with tools to direct their own career paths are just some of the promises of AI in HR.
In this new era, both large and small businesses must stay ahead of the curve, embracing the potential that AI brings. Success will increasingly hinge on how well a company harnesses AI to empower its workforce, boost productivity, and foster a culture of growth and innovation.
The future of HR is more than a technological revolution—it’s a shift towards a more empowered, productive, and equal workforce. As we step into this future, we are not merely observers but active participants in a world powered by AI.