Reimagining work is the first of three steps in transforming the workforce to collaborate effectively with artificial intelligence (AI). I described the process for reimagining work in my previous post. In this post I’ll explain step two: pivoting the workforce.

Changing roles and minds

The transformation from a business model in which AI supplements human activity by automating specific tasks to one in which humans and intelligent machines work in an integrated manner to drive greater capabilities extends beyond simply applying technology in new ways. It requires a mindset shift as well, as leaders and workers together envision and embrace new roles and business possibilities that create new value for the organisation and its customers.

The development of the workforce of the future, designed to support “applied intelligence”, will see some roles changing, some going away, and some emerging for the first time. Making these shifts requires foresight and planning, along with a willingness to continue to pivot as needs and circumstances evolve.

HR leaders in financial services firms can take the following four steps to accelerate the transformation and develop the capabilities required of their workforce:

  1. Align to new business models. A successful business model is one in which your workforce and what it does tightly aligns with your unique customer value proposition. In the digital era, this can be a moving target. Data analytics are the key to understanding your customers’ wants and needs. The next step is determining how to most effectively use intelligent machines and humans to meet those needs.
  2. Recognise the business case. AI saves organizations money by cutting costs. In the longer term it also supports innovation, personalization, and growth. Firms should resist the temptation to bank the short-term gains and rather invest in the workforce to achieve more substantial and durable benefits.
  3. Organise for agility. Traditional functional constraints are a stumbling block to making the most of the applied intelligence workforce. As AI elevates human roles to be more consultative and less task-oriented, and as project-based team work becomes the norm, firms must become more open and fluid in their process and structure design.
  4. Foster new leadership DNA, building leaders at all levels. As employees develop more autonomy and assume greater levels of decision-making, leaders will emerge from a variety of organisational levels and functions. Hierarchies will collapse and cross-functional teams will prevail. Leadership characteristics will change as well, as “soft” or interpersonal skills become a more important measure of leadership effectiveness.

In my next post, I’ll explain how to execute the third strategic imperative in strategizing for the workforce of the future: scaling up “new skilling.”

For more information about applied intelligence and the impact of AI on financial services, please see Accenture’s banking and insurance reports:

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