A hybrid workforce typically refers to the blend of in-person and remote work, but the concept is also increasingly evolving to include the fusion of humans and non-humans—digital assistants fueled by generative AI—in the workplace.
And it’s largely HR leaders who are navigating these changes, according to a panel of chief HR officers who spoke last week during the HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas.
Despite the challenges this new responsibility is bringing to HR—from developing guidelines for the usage of the technology in the workplace to helping leaders retain the “human element” as they tap the tech—the leaders agreed generative AI is introducing new efficiencies to their role so they can focus on more high-value work.
“The intersection between AI and HR is having an impact on the workplace,” says Archana Arcot, a panelist and chief people officer of Unifi. “The revolution is happening so fast.”
Ways CHROs are using generative AI
Lani Montoya, CHRO of Pernod Ricard’s North America operations, relies on generative AI to reduce administrative tasks that do not contribute significant value to her role, such as delivering information to employees and assisting with compliance issues.
This enables her and her team to be more efficient, she says.
“We started to look into AI four or five years ago, but only in the last year it’s come into HR,” Montoya says, adding that generative AI is helping HR accomplish more work with less reliance on consultants. “It’s changed the way we work.”
Efficiency has also been a payoff for Tracie Sponenberg, chief people officer of The Granite Group. She uses ChatGPT as a thought partner to help get a jump start on writing complex emails or developing survey questions. She has even embedded it into her Google Docs and Google Sheets.
“I love bright, shiny things,” says Sponenberg, who puts ChatGPT into that category.
Meanwhile, Valerie Norton, a panelist and chief people officer of Habitat for Humanity, says her team uses AI for such tasks as summarizing interview notes.
Despite forecasts that AI could replace some HR jobs, Sponenberg says, her team is excited to lean on AI to improve their jobs; they envision the tech as an enabler, not a replacement.
Sponenberg notes that some HR roles will change due to generative AI. HR analytics teams, for example, may see their function change because of the technology’s ability to analyze data.
However, HR still needs the human touch, Sponenberg says, as generative AI can’t replace human emotions—”yet.”