Boyden Executive Search

How technology is changing the role of CHROs and senior HR executives.

Outlook

Artificial intelligence and technology is the most important transformation in HR.
39% of respondents rank the impact of artificial intelligence and technology as the most important transformation taking place in HR, rating it first out of three.

What would you say are the largest transformations currently taking place in Human Resources?

“CHROs’ focus will change, with the required skills and capabilities evolving to more business and strategy aspects, diverse from the old-fashioned HR executives. HR will be largely directed by AI, which will involve less people in the function. Executives will need to develop AI and more technical skills to be relevant in the future.”

Gerhard Bohne
Country Divisional Head
Bayer CropScience Brazil

HR executives across geographies recognize the impact of technology and AI on their field. Almost all (94%) believe that the rise of technology and AI will alter the human resources function, while 40% expect drastic changes. While executives are generally aligned in thinking that change is coming, there were some regional discrepancies. Executives in the UK (90%) and Germany (88%) say they expect change, whereas in Brazil and Mexico 100% of executives expect change. 

Sentiment surrounding these changes is generally positive, with the majority of HR executives aligned in thinking that AI and technology will positively impact the sector by increasing efficiency. Close to half expect that technology and AI will streamline performance management (48%) and increase skills-based hiring (47%). Similarly, 42% of HR executives expect AI and technology will increase the speed to hire, while 41% believe new technology will improve onboarding processes. 

“Increasingly, the CHRO needs to be hand-in-hand with IT. From rolling out a new intranet to establishing internal communication tools like Yammer or Chatter, the CHRO now plays a critical role in championing new technology.”

Carolyn Hudson
Managing Director &
Head of Americas,
People & Change Practice,
FTI Consulting

While there is general agreement that AI will increase efficiency, only 24% believe new technology will replace human recruiters. Despite technology’s promise to drive metrics-oriented results, many point to the need for a continued human touch in HR.

Anna Mitchell, Business, Change and Communications Consultant and former Managing Director, Global Online Business, Coats explains, “The rise of technology raises interesting questions when it comes to what kind of background HR professionals should have. You absolutely need the ‘soft’ side and people skills, but those qualities need to marry with the ability to interpret and analyze the data generated by AI.”

This thinking is echoed by Jörg Kasten, Chairman, Boyden World Corporation and Managing Partner of Boyden Germany. “AI is just a tool, not a solution. HR requires the personal touch of someone who is able to effectively communicate with and inspire people.” 

While many executives focus on how AI can be used in conjunction with human reasoning, 67% of respondents from the industrials and energy sector combined can see AI replacing human recruiters, at least after initial job interviews. 

Over the next 10 years, how much will the rise of technology and AI alter the Human Resources function?

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