Video calls. Smartwatches. Flat-screen TVs. Voice assistants. 3-D printers. Robot vacuums.
Sounds like a typical day in 2022, right?
I’m actually talking about the Jetsons, the 1960s (and then 1980s) cartoon where just about every aspect of life is automated, from housework to meal prep to personal care and hygiene.
Automation created a seemingly easy life for George, Jane, Judy, Elroy and Astro (the family dog). However, machine assistance wasn’t always a good thing. The show was full of comical technology mishaps for tasks that could have easily—and competently—been completed by a human.
In fact, in one episode, George loses his job at Spacely Space Sprockets to a robot—but later gets it back when the robot malfunctions. When people think about automation, their mind typically goes to a similar scenario: Human labor is replaced with machine labor that is cheaper, more efficient and, potentially, more precise. But that isn’t always the case.
While the show exaggerated futuristic technology, it got me thinking about the real role AI can and should play in the workforce. Specifically, how do brands find the right balance of automation combined with human expertise to optimize business performance?
AI And The “Great Resignation”
I’d be remiss if I failed to mention how AI can help improve employer efficiency in the midst of the Great Resignation. HR teams are posting more jobs and, therefore, receiving more applications, cover letters and résumés than ever before. Many businesses are still manually assessing candidates at the top of the funnel by reviewing applications one-by-one and scheduling interviews the old-fashioned way.
While there is certainly merit in giving applicants the attention they deserve, it simply doesn’t scale and can lead to a slow hiring process and lost talent.
Introducing AI into recruiting workflows can free up employees’ time and arm them with the intelligence required to act on high-impact touchpoints in the recruiting process. Specifically, recruiters can give more time and attention to candidates further down the hiring funnel and, ultimately, craft compelling benefits packages that meet candidate needs.
I’d like you to take a few minutes to think about your company. Do you have human-led processes that could or should be automated to make your employees and processes more efficient? This isn’t about downsizing or even cutting costs—it’s about freeing up humans to do the nuanced tasks that only we humans can do.
An upfront investment in technology can go a long way toward empowering employees to spend time on high-value initiatives that generate long-term revenue and overall business success.
Assign Robotic Tasks (To Robots)
While surveys are getting shorter, reviews are becoming more visual (e.g., image and video) and job applications are becoming more succinct, the world is moving away from metrics and toward conversations and stories. Therefore, investment and proficiency in analyzing rich forms of data is not an option but a requirement.
However, the complexity of making sense of the vast amounts of data at scale, in a variety of formats (e.g., résumés, email, contact center calls and chats and social media mentions and reviews) should not be underestimated.
When you have a human read a single résumé or application, they can accurately assess the candidate’s qualification for the job—with precision. But ask them to do this across hundreds or thousands of résumés or applications, and things get a lot more complicated.
This is a discipline where AI shines. Brand monitoring, regulatory compliance, churn reduction, product development and process optimization are just a few of AI’s sweet spots and its adaptive learning capabilities.
Leveraging AI gives your employees time back to do those things most important to the business: build valuable relationships with clients, lead training sessions and connect with colleagues and direct reports to build trusting and high-functioning work environments. You simply can’t do these things when you’re manipulating reports, sorting through spreadsheets and manually bucketing customer comments.
Avoiding Potential Malfunctions
In my experience, AI and automation can be met with resistance, but I’ve found that most employees are grateful for the opportunity to hand off repetitive or tedious tasks such as data collection, scheduling, and customer service exchanges that can more efficiently be taken on by AI.
But what should leaders do when automation is met with confusion—or even trepidation?
First, you need to quell employee fears. Automation does not equal replacement. On the contrary, it naturally creates opportunities for employee growth in the form of skill development and strategic endeavors. Work with your change management team to outline transition plans for your employees to their new responsibilities. These may even mean new titles, reporting structures and promotions to more strategic roles.
Employees need to feel confident taking on these new roles and, therefore, must be enabled for success. Whether it’s a large team that is being transitioned or a handful of employees, preparation is key. At my company, InMoment, we’ve seen success by thoughtfully and proactively planning the communications, training and enablement plans, FAQ documents and ensuring there is a dedicated, on-demand resource available to answer outstanding questions.
By following these steps, the transition from human- to machine-led will go smoothly, creating a win-win situation for your organization and the affected employees alike.
AI For Humans (Not AI Or Humans)
At InMoment, we have a saying: It’s not AI or Humans. It’s AI for Humans.
The strategic deployment of artificial intelligence is no longer optional, whether you’re a retailer, SaaS provider or anything in between.
After one particularly tough day at work, George Jetson said his day had been “brutal.” He had to “push the button on and off five times.”
Don’t have your employees spend precious time pushing buttons. Allow AI to deliver smarter data, predict behavior, and automate actions—so your employees can focus on the aspects of your business that demand human intervention and finesse.
Chief Executive Officer at InMoment, overseeing the transformation of brands’ customer and employee feedback into business improvements.https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2022/05/13/leave-it-to-the-robots-what-the-jetsons-got-right-about-ai/?sh=47feacb033f2