Q&A with HR Tech Influencer Eva Sage-Gavin


Eva Sage-Gavin
Senior Managing Director, Accenture Strategy Talent and Organization


What area of the HR function will be most impacted by emerging technologies, and why?

The “Human+ machine” workforce is upon us. Humans and intelligent machines are already rewriting the landscape of work. Jobs will change, as machines handle rote and administrative tasks while humans are freed to do what we do best–be creative, problem-solve, empathize. An Accenture future workforce survey showed that 60+ percent of workers have a positive view of the impact of AI on their work, with two-thirds acknowledging the need to develop their skills to work with intelligent machines. Investing now in growing people’s skills will unlock human and organizational potential tomorrow.

Are there certain strategies that are more effective than others when it comes to getting your workforce to use new HR technologies being put in place?

A study shows that by 2022, AI could increase employment by 10 percent–and the very technology that requires employees to get new training can help them complete that training. AI-based adaptive-learning systems guide employees by personalizing lessons, coaching and providing feedback. Through the use of virtual reality and augmented reality, we can simulate real-world situations where employees make decisions and receive real-time feedback. Leading companies are also encouraging skill-building through “outside in” talent exchanges with startups, universities, NGOs, and the public sector. A robust learning platform combined with the right talent ecosystem works wonders.

How can HR leaders best make the business case for HR technology investment?

Investment in HR technology should be aligned with overall investment in technology. In their new book, Pivot to the Future, authors Omar Abbosh, Paul Nunes and Larry Downes share that if every company invested in AI and human-machine collaboration at the same rate as the top-performing businesses, they could boost revenues by 38 percent by 2022. Global profits would reach $4.8 trillion. For the average S&P 500 company, this equates to $7.5 billion of new revenues and $880 million in additional profit. Talent fuels a company’s purpose but also its profits–that’s a business case that’s hard to refute.