The genie is out of the bottle.
Generative AI: It’s powerful. It’s accessible. And it’s poised to change the way we work. On one hand, everyone's talking about it, but on the other, its potential could be even greater than the hype.
Goldman Sachs reported that AI could have a bigger impact on U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) than the discovery of electricity or the advent of personal computers. Bloomberg estimates that the generative AI economy could reach a staggering 1.3 trillion dollars by 2032.
CEOs should no longer view exploration of generative AI as optional; it's a must. Generative AI presents a transformative opportunity for companies, offering a chance to reimagine everything from research and development to marketing and sales to customer operations.
While the technology's operational framework and risk management are still evolving, business leaders recognise the need to embark on the generative AI journey. The question now is: where and how to start?
The answer varies from company to company. Some may see an opportunity to leapfrog the competition by reimagining how work is accomplished with generative AI applications. Others may prefer caution, experimenting with a few use cases before making substantial investments. Companies will also need to evaluate whether they possess the necessary technical expertise, technology infrastructure, operating model, and risk management processes required for transformative generative AI implementations.
The approach depends on the company's goals and risk tolerance. Regardless of the path chosen, the key is to begin and learn through practical application.
But here's the exciting part: HR can play a significant role in increasing access to opportunities for a large part of the workforce. OpenAI's research estimates that 80 percent of jobs can incorporate generative AI technology into existing work activities. This is especially relevant as today's workforce is overwhelmed, with 87% believing they operate at full capacity. Simplifying work, reducing the number of systems, and saving time on administrative functions are essential to enable employees to work at the top of their capacity.
Enhancing employee productivity
Generative AI can be embedded into existing software, allowing employees to access its features. For example, email systems can offer first drafts of messages, productivity applications can create initial presentation drafts, financial software can generate prose descriptions of financial reports, and customer relationship management systems can suggest ways to interact with customers. These can significantly boost the productivity of knowledge workers.
And when used at a team level, it can create transformational opportunities. Let's consider a software development team. Generative AI can analyse the team's coding patterns and suggest improvements in real time, making the development process more efficient and code quality higher.
Imagine your research and development team. Generative AI can analyse market trends, customer feedback, and existing product data to suggest innovative features or product improvements, potentially leading to market leadership.
Consider a customer service department. Generative AI can analyse customer interactions and suggest personalized upselling opportunities to the agents in real time, enhancing customer satisfaction and revenue.
Generative AI can help managers reach higher levels of performance by automating administrative tasks, such as job description creation. By analyzing employee work history, it can generate more accurate job descriptions and provide insights into top performers' characteristics. It can also assist in recruiting by analysing candidate profiles and providing objective assessments.
When creating job descriptions, generative AI can analyse successful employees' profiles and use this data to suggest the most critical skills and qualifications for the role.
Improving people decisions
Companies spend a significant portion of their revenue on payroll, often based on management's gut feelings. Generative AI can help analyse salary benchmarks, rewards, and incentives by comparing pay levels across millions of open jobs. It can also assist in identifying pay equity issues and mitigating them.
Generative AI can, for example, regularly analyse salary data to ensure that employees with similar qualifications and experience are compensated fairly, reducing pay equity disparities.
Enhancing HR effectiveness
Generative AI can revolutionise self-service and knowledge management in HR. It can simplify complex knowledge enablement processes, such as understanding company policies or navigating HR software. By embedding workflows into systems, HR can streamline requests for various tasks, from applying for family leave to upgrading laptops, improving efficiency and employee experience.
In HR, when composing emails to candidates, generative AI can provide suggested email templates, making communication more efficient and consistent. Further, In HR self-service, generative AI can answer common employee queries and even assist with benefits selection by providing personalized recommendations.
These are just a few examples, the opportunities are endless.
Generative AI is poised to transform the workplace, making it more efficient, productive, and inclusive. While the journey may be complex, the rewards are substantial. It's time for organizations to embrace this transformative technology and explore its full potential.
Of course, the fact that something can be automated doesn't mean you need to automate it. Remember Dr. Shashi Tharoor'sords in his session at People Matters TechHR. Where should we safeguard the irreplaceable human touch?
So, here's a question to ponder: How can CHROs look beyond the scope of the HR function and explore the transformational opportunities that AI brings to the entire organisation's work processes? Share your experiments and how it is impacting business.