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What Makes a Good HR Leader in the Age of AI

What skills and qualities will the HR leaders of a decade from now need? Many of the same ones they need today — empathy, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking — but with the way we work changing, the skills HR leaders need are changing as well. 

One attribute that’s certainly critical is the ability to help employees and your organization make optimal use of new AI technology. AI is already being used in many offices: 56% of employees are using generative AI on the job today, so this technology is only going to become more common. 

But what skills, exactly, do good HR leaders need in an AI and tech-driven workforce? These are the most important attributes for HR leaders in today’s world, and tomorrow’s too. 

1. Change Management Skills 

AI, especially in the past year with the stunning rise of ChatGPT, has brought big changes to many workplaces. Part of those changes are in how work is actually done, but part is also how workers fear their roles will change as a result — will they even be needed? Will AI or automation take their jobs in a year or two? 

HR leaders must have strong change management skills to help employees through this time of change and concern for their futures. Leaders will also need to play a key role in guiding the organization itself through this transition with the employee experience in mind. 

2. Employee Advocacy 

Speaking of the employee experience, HR leaders will need to be strong advocates for employees, now and in years to come. Employees and their needs do need to be considered in all decisions about the use of AI, as they’ll be on the front lines of AI impact, and they need a leader who keeps their interests and experience in mind. HR leaders will need to get even more curious about the employee experience, and thoughtful about how use of AI in HR and anywhere in the org will affect that. 

3. Transparent Communication 

One major concern for employees in the age of AI is not knowing when they’re interacting with AI or something it’s generated. This is partly because generative AI, like ChatGPT, is very prone to hallucinations (nonsensical or inaccurate information), and also because it’s simply disconcerting to think you’re talking to a human when it’s actually a bot. 

HR leaders, now and in the future, need to be as transparent as possible in their communications with employees. Of course, you can’t tell them everything, but employees will lose trust in the organization if there’s little to no transparency around AI or other tech. 

4. Innovative Thinking 

AI and other forms of technology are changing the way we work at a pace we’ve never experienced before, so being willing to experiment and innovate and think about everything in your organization differently will be a critical HR leader attribute in the future. There’s no time to get stuck in doing things the way you’ve always done them these days. 

5. Strategic Thinking 

But also, HR leaders need to hone their strategic thinking skills and plan for the long-term. Rushing to adopt new tech or AI tools simply because they’re the hot new thing (like replacing recruiters with AI) without considering the long-term effects or repercussions is just as dangerous as getting stuck in old ways. 

This blend of skills will help HR leaders pave the way for their organizations and their employees, into an uncertain but exciting future. Making the best use of AI in leadership roles and everywhere else will absolutely change the way we work — hopefully for the better. 

Learn more about best practices from Cangrade today.