Why Artificial intelligence is vital for winning the war for talent


It’s a challenge that every large company across the globe is facing. As they transform into digital entities, tasks are getting automated with artificial intelligence (AI) taking away repetitive jobs. While, for the individual it finally boils down to how many of their individual tasks are automated, at the corporate level it is a question of human capital management (HCM) that is becoming critical.
HCM is becoming all the more important as while companies reduce the workforce with jobs getting automated, on the other hand, they are not getting key talent for specialized jobs. The War for Talent that global consultancy McKinsey had identified nearly two decades ago is now a reality. Shakun Khanna, Leader of HR Strategy & Transformation, Asia Pacific, at Oracle Corporation explains: “There is a need for building new skills and up-skilling for all kinds of people as existing skills become redundant.”
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Organizations today are fighting two types of battles. The first relates to attracting and recruiting people, while the other is within the organization for retaining and engaging existing employees. At stake are ‘open positions’ that can give careers to professionals and thousands of candidates who can work towards fulfilling an organization’s needs.
But, not everything is negative. According to Gartner 2017, AI is expected to eliminate 1.8 million jobs globally. However, starting 2020, AI will be a positive job creator creating 2.3M jobs. Says James Agarwal, managing director of executive search company BTI Consultants/Persolkelly: Technology enhances our abilities to deliver more and better if used properly and its role is vital for winning the war for ‘quality’ talent.”
To build on an internal pipeline of talent, corporations are redeploying people and do everything to retain the best talent. Many organisations have started thinking seriously on those lines. Khanna points out that within Airtel there is a team that is working only on trying to define how the organisation will be two years from now. That involves getting the right kind of people on board. Vishal Manchanda, National Head – Learning & Development at Indus Towers says Oracle is helping Indus build a strong internal network so that they can help the company set a new paradigm for a networked economy.
Khanna points out that according to a study done by Cognizant Technologies, 12 per cent of the jobs will get redundant, 75 per cent will get augmented (some of the tasks will be done by machines) and that 13% of the jobs will get created. These will be new-age jobs that people do not even know of now in the areas of data analytics and machine learning. The real action is augmented jobs, where machines would over time take over the mundane part of the tasks that people do.
Augmentation comes in three areas – predictive, pro-active and prescriptive. The predictive bit is quite like Google Maps telling you how long it will take to reach your destination by what it considers is the best route to follow. However, an individual can always overrule that and take another route. Pro-active is reminding you to leave for a meeting in advance so that traffic is manageable while prescriptive is something that provides you a solution to a current problem at the workplace.
How is an organisation building an employer brand? Oracle’ Khanna says to find the right kind of people, companies are now looking at the personal social network of an individual and not just their LinkedIn profile. The other is to proactively engage with the talent pool that you may need to tap in at a later stage. The last bit is the ability to understand how the business model of the company is changing and ensuring that HR too understands that quickly. That is imperative as then only will to look in terms of hiring such new talent proactively. But, as things stand, not many Indian companies are prepared for this new reality and could face problems.


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