Written by Duncan Casemore, Co-founder and CTO of Applaud
AI was always going to sit at the heart of predictions for the HR industry in 2024 and beyond. AI is poised to change the future of HR forever, transforming established views of work, talent, roles and skills. Moreover, the impact AI has had this year will be significantly dwarfed by the impact it will have in the future – the potential is vast.
Many people have heard about AI and dabbled with it or tried it out – using it to write emails or generate content. However, users often give up when it doesn’t do what they want it to do. According to our poll, most HR professionals have heard of it and tried it out, and the 22% who use it on a regular basis, don’t realise its true potential.
What changes will we see in 2024 and beyond in terms of AI developments and uptake? And how will innovations affect and transform the HR industry? What key trends will emerge next year and in the years to follow?
- ‘Internet vs no internet’
There has been a huge buzz around AI for years, but Open AI’s latest version of ChatGPT – its next-generation AI model, GPT-5 which is currently under construction – is a huge step change. GPT-5’s creators have claimed it could possess superintelligence – it is infinitely more capable than its predecessors, and is game-changing in terms of its size and capabilities. While GPT-4 is an impressive AI tool, its capabilities come close to or mirror the human in terms of knowledge and understanding. The next generation of AI models are expected to not only surpass humans when it comes to knowledge, but also match humans’ ability to reason and process complex ideas.
The transformations we’ll see as a result of Next GenAI – the possibilities it will open up, and how it will be received – are set to be even bigger than the changes we saw after the arrival of the internet. In other words, the revolution is going to be even more life-changing and momentous than ‘internet vs no internet.’
- Job evolution NOT layoffs
2024 is when things will start to happen in terms of rapid adoption of technology, balanced with a level of caution around ethics, compliance and data privacy. In a challenging economic climate, seeing companies like Open AI beating their own revenue expectations by 550%, is a taste of what’s to come.
It’ll be after 2024 when we’ll start to see more impactful deployment of Next GenAI. This is because it will take a while for projects to develop.. In terms of job obsolescence and job creation as a result of AI, I believe the trend we’ll see emerging is ‘job evolution’ which will start to take place in 2025. This is when we’ll see major parts of jobs transform and roles change. There will also be jobs that disappear, jobs that change significantly and many, many new jobs emerging as a result.
I believe that any role that is based around domain knowledge and advice, and task repetition, is at significant risk of disruption. This doesn’t mean, however, that jobs will disappear – they will just change significantly.
I like the analogy of the Industrial Revolution, where many machines were invited to replace manual work and, in the process, created new roles to manage machines. I see the movement we’re about to see as very similar – but instead of manual work, the focus will be on knowledge work.
I predict that 50% of responsibilities in the workplace will be significantly changed. A wave of new roles will be created – in technology, ethics, compliance, monitoring AI tools and trading. We’ll see Automation Knowledge roles emerge, and these will have an impact on content generation. Interestingly, when ATMs were first introduced, everyone believed all of the bank tellers were going to lose their jobs. In fact, it resulted in more employment, with tellers being repurposed to do more value-added tasks.
- HR has never been a more tech-demanding job
It’s no secret that AI has huge benefits when it comes to HR productivity and efficiency. When a customer deploys a chatbot into their internal environment, for example, in nearly every scenario it will reduce case load by 50%, and in many situations, this figure is much higher.
HR has never been a more tech-demanding job and this trend is set to continue next year and beyond. Although the benefits to HR professionals from AI technologies will be huge, it’s vital to remember that technology-savvy mindsets are still the minority in people leadership roles. Individuals and teams should be considering how they can upskill themselves to increase understanding and ensure they get the most out of this technology.
Many HR professionals are also skeptical of AI. For example, our recent webinar poll found that just one in ten HR professionals frequently use AI in their roles. While it’s vital to apply heavy scrutiny, professionals who ignore this technology will be the ones to fall behind. Tech in HR needs to be embraced with new operating models. New roles need to be created and filled quickly, as well as a deliberate structure put in place to manage and deploy safely – this needs to be done yesterday.
With the rapid increase in tech developments that HR needs to grasp, many software vendors, including Applaud, are racing to incorporate capabilities and understand the impact AI has on software products. What’s clear is that AI will penetrate and impact every aspect of employment.
- Proliferation of platforms
The number of technology platforms that people use is not going to decrease any time soon. As the world continues to navigate its way through huge change and disruption, businesses will feel the need to embrace more and more portals and tools to help them through this period of transformation. Indeed, our research shows that 41% of employees today grapple with 5 to 9 various HR technology tools. Not only will HR professionals need to stay on top of these, but be mindful of the confusion the fragmentation and proliferation of technology may cause amongst employees.
- Hyper-personalisation – onboarding and offboarding journeys
Hyper-personalistion is a new trend that is set to transform the efficiency of HR teams in terms of managing onboarding and offboarding journeys, in 2024 and beyond. Applaud has been experimenting with a fully generated journey, allowing for a ‘super user’ and hyper-personalised experience. The technology will enable managers to think about things they hadn’t yet thought of – e.g. what they need to do to create a unique journey experience based on who the employee is and what they do.
Hyper-personalisation will also support managers by sending them prompts for what they might want to think about (e.g. training follow-up for a particular employee). The technology promises to lead to faster deployments and less caseloads for HR teams, resulting in a more productive workforce. The development will also help managers and companies spot information gaps, promising greater efficiency and attention to detail.
- Could the term HR become obsolete?
HR is definitely now out-of-date as a term. Many people are advocating for it to be replaced by People and Culture. However, the labelling is less important than the intent behind it. The function of HR is ever-expanding and has gone beyond the initial remit of when HR first started. HR has more to do than ever before – the role encompasses far more than solely managing human resources.
Whatever new term is adopted to describe HR teams, one thing is clear – GenAI should be at the very top of their agenda. In 2024 and beyond, there should continue to be a real focus on how HR teams are deploying AI as well as HR’s role in partnering with the business to get the most out of it to help them succeed.
HR has a vital role to play in understanding, advising and coaching other areas of the business in how to best leverage the impact of AI and to best help teams, from talent acquisition and service delivery, to more external factors and considerations.