HR magazine published an article this week entitled “UK workers believe AI offers greater career support than people” (https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/content/news/uk-workers-believe-ai-offers-better-career-support-than-people) and quoted Sarah Henry, VP HR solutions EMEA at Oracle, who noted that employers must take note of how much employees want technology to help define their future.
“Investing in tech is fast becoming a key factor in making employees feel empowered, both in their personal and professional lives, helping to nurture existing skills but also guide career development,” Henry said.
“To attract and retain talent in the future, it’s crucial HR works closely with the wider business, prioritising skills development and unlocking the potential of AI to help achieve this.”
The article goes on to note that “78% of UK based respondents to the survey said that their company should be doing more to listen to their needs. This reflects similar findings earlier in the pandemic which showed employees would be more likely to trust robots with their mental health problems than they would their managers.”
It raises a number of questions and themes:
· Why has trust in professionals so much? The article notes that 30% of respondents felt that AI and robots can make unbiased recommendations.
· It is clear that new frameworks and structures are needed in the field as what existed before is not working.
· Is this because of an erosion in trust in a professional being able to be neutral and unbiased or a lack of focus on the people piece or something deeper and broader? Probably the answer is a mix of all.
The trust issue has been well highlighted for a number of years and really has grown as an issue in the last ten years. In that time, it will have developed some deep roots so it will take time and energy to create a belief that change is taking place.
But is it really so simple as to lay the blame at the door of individuals? Is the reason more subtle?
It maybe strange that AI and robotics have become more trusted than people but maybe also that is because AI is far more accessible and flexible; no need to make appointments, to talk to another but can be accessed on a 24/7 basis. This would be understandable.
Also people today are far more conscious of transparency and how information is leaked via discussion; so it is understandable that a system is seen to be more trustworthy.
There are so many features and articles being written about the need to retain and develop talent so companies do need to stop and think through their people strategies as the cost of losing a good employee is far higher than many realise. Research has shown the cost of losing an effective manager who possesses good relationships with customers can lie anywhere between 2x and 4x salary – so that is likely to lie between £60,000 and £120,000. The loss of ten such managers could see a hidden loss or revenue and increased costs in the region of £600,000 to over £1m.
The world has changed and new structures/thinking are needed. Everything today needs to little more planned and worked through.