With respect to AI and its impact on the workforce, the disparity among HR leaders and the C-suite is striking.
More than half of the HR executives surveyed — 60 percent — believe AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates. Conversely, our 2018 Global CEO Outlook study revealed about the same number of CEOs — 62 percent — believe AI will create more jobs than it eliminates.
Turning to workplace culture, as we noted in our key findings, HR leaders consider it a top barrier to digital transformation with about a third calling their current culture still more task oriented than innovative or experimental.
A look at our Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO 2018 Survey, shows that 85 percent of CIOs view innovative or experimental culture as quite important or very important to success on the digital transformation front. Our message here is that only decisive action now by HR in close collaboration with the C-Suite will redefine yesterday’s task-focused work team into tomorrow’s innovative and futuristic workforce.
“The next-generation HR function has an essential role to play, replacing traditional ‘best practices and cost-cutting’ approaches with bold new strategies, structures, tools, processes and metrics,” notes KPMG’s Vishalli Dongrie, Head of People & Change in India. “The goal is to drive an ongoing solution in which HR reshapes itself and the organization’s workforce to drive value and competitive advantage as never before.”
According to the World Economic Forum, more than a third of the skills considered important today will change within a few short years amid the proliferation of digital processes and the integration of digital and human labor. Future-focused workforce shaping is a key component of tomorrow’s successful workplace.
“Time is of the essence and today’s HR leaders need to be initiating and sustaining “the right conversations” with business leaders”, says Johanna Söderström, SVP HR at The Dow Chemical Company. “HR teams need to become “comfortable being uncomfortable” in today’s disrupted environment.”
“The key is to change the mindset of HR — to put ourselves in business managers’ shoes,” she adds, “to focus on how the HR function can play an unprecedented role unlocking new value for the organization.”
We are also seeing an upward trend in how HR is valued by CEOs showing signs that the uphill battle to prove value is veering toward success.
Just how valuable is the HR function and its workforce management to the businesses they serve? Many HR executives we surveyed expressed confidence about HR’s strategic value and performance — 40 percent agreeing the HR function is considered a core value driver by their senior leadership, and with 34 percent at least slightly agreeing. Data from KPMG’s 2018 CEO Outlook Survey suggests CEOs are indeed increasingly viewing their workforce/HR capabilities as effective (47 percent agree).
Ideally, HR leaders will continue to step up amid the headwinds of change, particularly in areas such as automation and AI capabilities. Of course, time is of the essence.