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AI Will Radically Transform the Workplace — Here's How HR Teams Can Prepare for It HR intrapreneurs are emerging as key drivers of AI reskilling, thoughtful organizational restructuring and ethical integration, shaping an inclusive future where technology enhances both efficiency and employee development.

By Alex Goryachev Edited by Chelsea Brown

Key Takeaways

  • HR is positioned to lead the charge in navigating the transformative impact of AI in the workplace, transcending traditional functions to drive ethical and innovative change across organizations.
  • From massive reskilling to the arrival of "digital humans," AI is reshaping workforce dynamics, requiring HR to navigate restructuring and regulation.
  • HR must foster a culture of change and innovation, leveraging intrapreneurs as change agents.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Our workplaces are about to undergo an unprecedented level of transformation, and HR will take center stage. Artificial intelligence will dramatically reshape HR in a way that goes beyond recruiting, hiring and talent management. Leadership teams at all levels need to embrace this change to transform and lead their organizations forward.

It's the people, and not the technology, that makes AI initiatives a success. Intrapreneurs, in particular, are the driving force behind it. As I shared in Fearless Innovation, I noticed this when I was working on the innovation agenda for the Great Places to Work study — the most innovative companies were those that had a leadership team that was embracing intrapreneurship and were open to change.

HR is the beating heart of any organization, and as such, it needs to take center stage in both adopting and leading ethical and innovative AI transformation across the organization.

Related: How Artificial Intelligence Is Reinventing Human Resources

4 tectonic shifts AI will drive in HR

1. A new wave of massive reskilling

As AI becomes more prominent across business functions, the need for new skills will only grow. Forty percent of enterprise leaders believe that their workforce would need to reskill as a result of AI and machine learning. In fact, research shows almost a third of all hours worked in the U.S. could be automated by 2030.

All of us need to reskill to some extent to be relevant in the AI era. Not only would people need to re-train, but generative AI is introducing a whole host of professions that have been non-existent until recently, from AI ethicists to human-AI interaction designers. Some of these roles might sound futuristic, yet they are becoming increasingly relevant as technology advances.

2. The great restructure

As automation takes center stage across more business functions, there will be the inevitable need for organizations to restructure and rethink how they work. This transition will not only involve the integration of new technologies but also introduce a shift in the workforce dynamics. Intrapreneurs will need to identify gaps both in skills and operational processes and forge brand-new roles for themselves and those they manage. HR must play a key role in enabling a smooth and easy transition in this regard. The transition will not be smooth or easy, and it's only HR that has the capability to make it impactful.

3. Arrival of "digital humans"

"Digital human" may sound like an oxymoron, but that's the term that's starting to appear in business and operational plans. More roles, regardless of industry, are becoming digitally enhanced where some form of AI assistance is embedded in their everyday work. A real-life example is the introduction of the digital nurse — AI-powered healthcare agents which have already been proven to outperform human nurses in certain tasks.

Imagine the impact these digital roles will have on the workforce the more sophisticated and prevalent they become. Eventually, HR will need to create policies and systems in place that account for this new type of "staff augmentation."

4. Regulating the robot

The threat of AI bias and misuse is serious. Not only can the technology put many jobs at peril, but potential improper implementation can expose organizations to serious liability and negatively affect the workforce. From avoiding bias to inclusivity, HR teams play a critical role in the ethical deployment and management of AI technologies.

HR professionals will be tasked with navigating the delicate balance between leveraging AI for efficiency and ensuring that its application upholds fairness, privacy and non-discrimination.

Related: How to Successfully Implement AI into Your Business — Overcoming Challenges and Building a Future-Ready Team

What HR intrapreneurs must do to embrace AI the right way

The future of work is being shaped by AI adoption, and its success hinges on the right approach from the outset. My experience shows that for successful organizations, one universal trait stands out: the presence of change agents. Every organization, regardless of size, benefits from intrapreneurs who are open to change and committed to spearheading transformation efforts. These intrapreneurs are pivotal in driving the future of work, as they help orchestrate the integration of new technologies into their business models.

HR and talent leaders should harness this dynamic, encouraging a symbiotic relationship with intrapreneurs to develop customized solutions for AI adoption, ensuring that they are not just keeping pace with technological advances but are actively shaping their trajectory.

Securing a seat at the table:

HR should take a proactive stance in the adoption of AI, even if it is still in its early stages within your organization. By securing a position at the forefront of the AI initiative, HR can and should facilitate and guide the entire organization in embracing this significant change.

As AI has the potential to impact every facet of the organization, it is imperative for HR to not only understand and advocate for this technology but also lead its integration across all departments. HR should encourage and support intrapreneurs and all employees to leverage AI in their daily tasks, demonstrating its value not just for operational efficiency but for personal and professional growth as well.

Master the technology:

To effectively navigate and regulate AI, HR must first understand it thoroughly. Grasping the full potential of this technology is crucial for reaping its extensive benefits. HR plays a vital role in identifying the necessary tools and skills that employees must acquire and then integrating these learnings into daily work practices.

Before implementing AI more broadly, HR should initiate comprehensive training programs that not only educate but also reassure employees about AI's role in the future of the business. By leading these educational initiatives, HR can shape the structure and effectiveness of these programs, ensuring they meet the needs of the organization and its workforce.

Related: 3 Ways to Prepare Your Business For an AI Future

Looking ahead

Generative AI has the transformative potential to redefine the business landscape, but realizing this vast potential hinges on more than just the adoption of technology. It critically depends on the talent within the workforce, driven by HR and bold intrapreneurs. These visionary leaders don't just implement new tools; they exemplify their use, demonstrating the profound impact of AI across every level of the organization.

HR plays a pivotal role in fostering this environment, enabling intrapreneurs to guide and inspire every individual they touch. Together, they turn each employee into a catalyst for change, igniting a widespread passion for innovation that deeply resonates and sustains long-term success.

Alex Goryachev

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

AI Executive & WSJ Bestselling Author

Alex Goryachev is an award-winning AI & innovation executive and the WSJ bestselling author of Fearless Innovation. His extensive international experience includes creating and leading Global Innovation Centers at Cisco, as well as accelerating digitization at Pfizer, Amgen, Dell and IBM.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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