Boyden Executive Search

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

Preparedness

75% of HR executives are prepared to deploy technology and AI solutions at their company. However, this level of confidence varies regionally. Those in Canada seem less prepared than many of their counterparts around the world – only 60% of Canadian HR executives say they are well versed or have a team that is well versed in AI. Similarly, only 66% of executives in the UK say they are prepared. This is in stark contrast to several other regions: 96% of HR executives in Mexico are prepared to deploy AI in the workplace, followed by 88% in Brazil and 84% in Germany. HR executives in the US and Australia fall somewhere in the middle, with 75% and 70% saying they are prepared, respectively.

Preparedness, too, can likely be attributed to the shifting set of skills required of the profession. As Carolyn Isaacs, Former Global Transition Director and Global HR Services Director, Diageo asserts,“If you want to effectively leverage data analytics, you have to include people within HR that have the background and skills needed to interpret results and take action.”

Preparedness also varies based on company size. Executives in large (over $500M) and medium-sized companies ($100-500M) were more likely to feel prepared than executives in smaller companies (less than $100M). 80% at large companies and 83% at medium-sized companies say they are prepared, versus 60% at smaller companies.

“AI, as a candidate processing and selection tool, will undoubtedly transform the way we hire people in the future.” 
Francesca d’Arcangeli, Global Leader, Industrial Practice and Managing Partner, Boyden United Kingdom

There are also variances based on hierarchy. Executives in the C-Suite report being more prepared than HR heads or managers: Just under half of the C-Suite (48%) say they are fully versed in AI, whereas only one in five (22%) of HR heads and 13% of managers say the same. Age, too, plays a role in the level of preparedness. Nearly one-third (32%) of respondents under the age of 45 say they are fully versed in AI, whereas 12% of those over 45 say the same. 

How do you feel your organization could better prepare to meet the needs and demands of technology and AI?

When it comes to preparing to meet the new demands of technology and AI, there is no uniformity of approach. Just over one-third of organizations (36%) are encouraging continuous learning around AI for existing employees, slightly over one-quarter (27%) are hiring employees with technology and AI skill sets and backgrounds, while one-fifth are focusing on hiring senior-level executives with AI skill sets and backgrounds. 

Karen Wefelmeyer, CHRO, d&b audiotechnik finds practices surrounding hiring to be somewhat contradictory, noting, “While most CHROs and executives indicate they rely on their team or they are not prepared to implement AI, a much smaller percentage are hiring employees with technology and AI skill sets.” Others, however, caution that the rise of AI doesn’t mean technical skills will displace soft skills.

As Catherine Gray, Americas Leader, Human Resources Practice and Partner, Boyden United States explains, “Tech and AI are not only changing the face of HR; they are changing entire organizations. Hiring talent for soft skills like creative thinking, problem solving, communication and adaptability will become increasingly important.”

Despite differences in opinion on how best to prepare, almost all agree that the role of the CHRO or Human Resources senior manager is going to shift dramatically in the data-driven world of new technology. A full 91% of executives agree that these roles are shifting, while 35% strongly agree. “The best leaders are very data-oriented, data-driven. A deep understanding of data analytics will be a foundational skill for every CHRO in the future,” says Jeff Hodge, Managing Partner, Boyden United States.

How do you feel your organization could better prepare to meet the needs and demands of technology and AI?

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