An alliance between humans and machines

What according to you, Workforce of Future will look Like?

In today’s era of epic disruption, the workforce of the future will be dynamic, agile, multi-generational and nothing like it was in the previous decades. The evolution of intelligent technologies will create a new work order where humans and machines work as partners. Until now, digital technologies have been used to work in parallel with people to improve efficiencies but in automated isolation. As companies invest in AI systems that can sense, communicate, interpret and learn, we will witness a revolution in which intelligent technology will meet human ingenuity to create the future workforce. This in turn will unlock new sources of growth and innovation.

When we look at the workforce of the future, what are top of the mind issues/priorities for key stakeholders – CEO, HR and employees?

An alliance between humans and machines will usher in a new era of work and drive competitive advantage. To succeed, leaders must act swiftly to re-imagine work, pivot the workforce and scale up New Skilling. Transforming the organization for a future enabled by advanced technologies will require not just technology skilling, but also broader organizational changes, including redeploying talent, organizing for agility, and adapting leadership to the needs of the intelligent enterprise.

What has been your experience with digitisation, AI & Robotics in HR? Is India ready for such a huge transformation?

We are already witnessing applied intelligence which includes AI, machine learning, and other intelligent technologies at work across the Indian economy, helping companies serve customers in new ways, raising efficiency, and tapping fresh sources of growth.

To truly harness this opportunity, we need to bring about a skills revolution in India. Key stakeholders including government departments, industry bodies, academia, non-profit organizations and corporates need to collaborate and ensure that the country’s workforce has the skills needed for the digital economy. According to our research, if the skill gap is not addressed, it could result in India forgoing as much as US$1.97 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP) growth promised by investment in intelligent technologies over the next decade. We’re implementing advanced technologies like AI in our internal processes across the HR function. For example, we have developed a digital personal assistant, or chatbot, named DiPA to improve the experience of employees, who had to work through a maze of websites and services to find human resources-related information. AI helped simplify the HR experience and made it more modern and digital an HR experience suited for an employee base dominated by Generation Y and Z workers. Whether an employee is in the office or on the go, DiPA is available 24/7 in India. It has become a digital personal advisor for new hires, providing relevant information as they acclimate to Accenture.

As advanced technologies permeate, it is important that organizations re-invest the saving gained from automation and intelligent tech into their people. For example, at Accenture we put 60 percent of the money saved from automation and AI back into training programs for our people, spending nearly $1 billion in training and development last year to augment our people’s skills, and in turn creating greater client value.

What are your views on “The Economic Times Workforce of the Future Summit” and how important do you feel is the need of organizing such summits?

I believe it is a great platform for the industry to discuss key issues and share learnings. The topic is highly relevant for businesses in the digital economy. I look forward to share, learn and shape the workforce of the future.

Rohit Thakur

Human Resources Managing Director, India Geographic Unit, Accenture

For more information about the Workforce of the Future Summit, please visit: http://et-edge.com/conferences/workforce/

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