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Managers need to assess jobs as AI evolves in workplace

Advances in AI will mean business leaders need to rethink how they organise and motivate their employees

Organisations that reskill their workforce to emphasise the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace experience a 36% higher rate of revenue growth than their peers, a study from IBM and Oxford Economics has found.

The IBM Institute for business value study, in cooperation with Oxford Economics, reported that the majority of executives (87%) believe job roles are more likely to be augmented by AI than automated.

The survey reported that executives anticipate 40% of their workforce will need to reskill as a result of implementing AI and automation over the next three years.

Rapid advancements in AI promise to upend traditional business models – and transform the work employees do every day. The study found that some business leaders are rushing to reorganise, elevating new skills and specialties while deprioritising those that have become obsolete. According to IBM and Oxford Economics, others are focused on hiring and trying to stock up on next-gen talent to close the skills gap. “These are appropriate short-term tactics, but they don’t address the bigger issue on the horizon: many of the tasks people are doing today won’t be needed in the enterprise of tomorrow,” IBM and Oxford Economics stated in a report based on the survey.

The Augmented work for an automated, AI-driven world report, based on a poll of more than 3,000 global C-suite executives, recommended that since AI automates many traditional tasks, middle managers should try to focus more on leading and less on administration.

The survey found that more than 60% of executives view HR as a primarily administrative function. They also say business functions are responsible for measuring the value of talent – not HR. The authors of the research from IBM and Oxford Economics said that business executives should use HR to help define transformation strategy.

“When HR leadership and frontline workers co-create guiding principles, they can more effectively foster a culture of responsible AI focused on ethics, trust and transparency,” IBM and Oxford Economics said. “And defining target outcomes with both business and IT functions can help HR leaders assess how well they are aligning with the business and where they need to evolve.”

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Andi Britt, senior partner and UK and Ireland talent transformation leader at IBM Consulting, said: “With 41% of the UK workforce expected to be reskilled as a result of implementing AI and automation over the next three years, it is crucial that executives are able to lead their workforce through this shift and enable them to succeed in the new era of generative AI.”

He recommended that executive gap will be crucial in ensuring AI and automation are harnessed in a way that enables employees to redirect their time and energy to meaningful and impactful work in the organisation.

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

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