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Over the past few decades, the role of human resources has consistently evolved to adapt to the ever-changing needs of companies and fluctuating economies. Today, the role of HR is now more vital than ever, with HR at the helm of an organisation’s transformative processes. The emphasis of transformation, however, no longer places all the power on the systemic procedures of a company; rather, the power is encompassed within its people – as it is the cultures, beliefs and values of the personnel that revolutionise their companies. and even, their nations.

So, how then, are companies merging the very seemingly impersonal, digital-centric approaches of artificial intelligence to improve HR systems and the overall employee experience?

So far, AI has lessened the burden of administratively-heavy HR tasks such as administering payroll and documenting leaves. With the ongoing massive shift towards a more transformational business advisor approach in 2019, new trends are beginning to emerge within the world of HR.

No longer a one-size-fits-all, companies are fostering a more agile HR environment with a business and entrepreneurial flair through the use of AI and cognitive computing to enhance recruitment procedures, employee engagement, people analytics, performance management and learning.

A strong organisational culture that focuses on its employees has a profound appeal, for executives and employees alike. AI has impacted the workforce by instantaneously pinpointing the most skilled applicants to move forward for interview. The recruiter can then quickly assess which candidates are most compatible and who best supports the core values and culture of the company.

For those already employed, levels of employee engagement are also tracked by AI, helping HR understand the pulse of the workforce and identify the areas affected by improving or declining levels of performance – with people analytics correspondingly assessing managerial performance based on their team’s level of success.

With AI and cognitive computing, organisations are further equipped to conduct rapid, unbiased and accurate reports – bringing the levels of continuous performance management to a whole new level of efficiency. AI and learning also come into play here, with the ability to provide hands-on trainings. No longer limited to merely studying company handbooks, AI learning develops professional training opportunities with learning objectives enhanced through gamification and real-life scenarios.

With these significant technology and AI trends already in place, 2019 will witness more robust uses of AI in terms of performance management and learning. As organisational executives have pushed their companies to become more agile and employee-centric over the years, it is my firm belief that two new trends will finally emerge this year: Leadership of agility and entrepreneurial spirit.

With a top-down approach, the roles of HR will shift to become more entrepreneurial. They will act as a business advisor and influencer when assisting their leadership teams to take the innovative leaps that new thought and business process require.

This, in turn, of course presents a challenge. Any change is often met with some form of resistance, and in today’s more innovative and technology-driven mindset; the crucial push to focus more on human capital rather than systemic procedures is easier said than done – particularly for those firmly rooted in long-standing business practices.

More and more, companies realise the utmost importance of not only attracting the right talents – but keeping them. Company culture is directly related to the work environment and its employees, as it is the people who come to work every day that differentiates one business from another.

Business models and services are easy to mimic, but it’s the person who truly drives the company and defines a company’s internal and external identity. They are the image that reverberates across all aspects of the company and the way it conducts business – a direct reflection of the company’s core values and of the way business is conducted.

A strong organisational culture keeps a company’s core values front and centre in all aspects of its day-to-day operations, with business leaders and HR executives alike getting behind the entrepreneurial mindset in merging AI with HR functions to improve the overall employee experience. The value of doing so is incalculable.

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