Microsoft’s HR Head: ‘What does AI mean for the future of work?’

Microsoft’s HR Head: ‘What does AI mean for the future of work?’

Artificial intelligence – there’s simply no escaping it. As technology gradually permeates our workplaces, HR leaders are at the forefront of the robotic revolution.

And whilst the benefits of implanting AI into organisational strategy are manifold, some employees still fear automation and evolving technologies.

HRD spoke to Carolyn Byer, Head of HR at Microsoft Canada and speaker HR Tech Summit Toronto, who revealed how employers can quell any employee unease.

“At Microsoft, we believe that AI is the defining technology of our time. It is a tool that will enable people in every industry to achieve greater productivity and growth. We are working to make AI accessible to every individual and organization on the planet with the goal of amplifying human ingenuity. With a thoughtful approach to AI innovations, employees will be empowered in all aspects of work. 

“No matter where you work, any industry that depends on data and information – which today is almost every industry – can benefit from AI. These systems will improve efficiency and productivity while enabling the creation of higher-value services that can drive economic growth.

“While employees may feel uncertainty when it comes to artificial intelligence, AI is actually already infused into our daily lives – helping to identify our shopping preferences, return precise search engine results, assisting with customer service and so much more. We all use it every day, in fact, we all rely on it.

“At Microsoft, we have infused it into many of our core products such as Bing, Office and LinkedIn. This has allowed Microsoft and its customers to create products and services that use AI to better understand, anticipate and respond to people’s needs. That’s helping organizations address problems quickly and freeing up employees’ time for higher-value tasks.”

One of the biggest concerns around AI is that it will impact upon employee privacy. Employees may fret that their personal data will be hacked or lost through either external interference or internal mistakes.

Carolyn believes that this is an issue HR should be discussing with staff from the very start of implementation.

“When it comes to adopting AI, security and privacy are among the most important issues for organizations have to grapple with – it is a conversation employers should be having any time they introduce new technology,” explained Carolyn. “At Microsoft, we apply the same thinking we have used in decades of designing enterprise technology to ensure your company’s data is protected.”