Q&A with HR Tech Influencer Ravin Jesuthasan


Ravin Jesuthasan
Managing Director
Willis Towers Watson


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

Virtually every aspect of HR is a candidate for some form of process or cognitive automation (i.e., AI). While we have seen much progress in recruiting given the data intensity and repetitive nature of the workflows, creating opportunities for advanced analytics and process automation, I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. As my co-author John Boudreau and I described in our recent book, Reinventing Jobs: A 4 Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work, leaders need to first deconstruct the job or workflow to categorize activities into 3 continuums in order to understand the optimal role and type of automation. The 3 continuums capture whether the work is repetitive vs. variable, independently performed vs. interactive and physical vs. mental.

What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today?

It has been fascinating to see HR functions shift from their legacy focus on process-enablement technology to automation solutions that enable them to optimize the performance of their workforces through substitution of highly repetitive, independently performed rules-based activities; augmentation of more variable, often interactive work; and creation of new types of work that place greater emphasis on the more “human skills” like empathy, creativity, etc.

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?

Start by defining the optimal talent experience (TX) to understand the specific outcome (behavior) you are looking for and deconstructing the underlying workflow to understand the role and type of automation to apply for various tasks. Understand that automation should either substitute, augment or create/transform human work and be clear about which of these outcomes you are trying to achieve.