Rometty is CEO, president and chairman of IBM. She has held the top job since
joined the company in 1981, total headcount across IBM was roughly 350,000. By
1994, under the direction of CEO Lou Gerstner, headcount dropped to around
When she took
over as CEO from Sam Palmisano – who had enjoyed a ten-year run as IBM’s top dog
– the global employee population at the company had swollen to nearly 450,000
people. Some of it was organic. A lot of it was by acquisition.
under Rometty’s leadership, IBM headcount has dropped approximately 25%. There are
now less than 350,000 people. How? In part, artificial intelligence.
recently spoke a CNBC event titled “@Work Talen + HR: Building the workforce of
the future.” It’s her comments that got me thinking about the impact that
artificial intelligence is going to have on an organizations’ HR strategy and
Rometty indicated that 100% of all jobs will be impacted by artificial intelligence.
Every role in the corporate hierarchy will in one, shape or form be affected by
the introduction of AI over time. She went on to say the job losses as a result
of AI is a “red herring” and that we really shouldn’t “follow that logic all
over the place”
millions of people in need of retraining and reskilling as a result of AI. If
they aren’t at least partially taken care of by the organization, society will
be overrun by people wondering what happened to them. It will become a zombie-like
apocalypse of people wandering the streets looking for work.
defense, she pointed out to audience members that organization’s out to be
considered three tactics to help with the transition of AI:
people with less than a four-year degree;
employees by apprenticeships.
ironically, however, Rometty indicated that skills were going to become the
lifeline of an employee’s relevancy. “If you have a skill that is not needed
for the future and is abundant in the market and does not fit a strategy my company
needs, you are not in a good square to stay inside of,” Rometty said. “I really
believe in being transparent about where skills are.”
transparency is one thing but helping employees with their transition under the
shadow of AI, in my opinion, has got to be one of the organization’s top
strategies going forward.
example, IBM has reduced its global HR workforce by 30% through the introduction
of AI into the company. But did it do anything to help those who were packaged
out to learn a new skill?
it did and those HR employees simply decided to leave. After all, Rometty
suggested that transparency is key to IBM’s workforce planning and skills gap.
She also said that the AI that is in place “infers” through the analysis of data,
networks, relationships, skills, rankings and education what jobs are possible
for internal candidates.
Watson felt those HR employees at IBM just didn’t have it in them to take on a
being stated, Rometty’s love for HR and the potential benefits of AI is
to other traditional HR systems being uprooted by AI for the better. MYCA – IBM’s
internal career platform called My Career Advisor – no longer acts as a self
serve system; instead the AI proactively recommends jobs to you based on skills,
tenure, project work, rankings and so on.
company’s learning management system has become the “Netflix of Learning” again
proactively recommending courses and skill upgrades based on your progress at
In an apparent
knock to the antiquated way that HR organizes itself, Rometty believes that HR
has got to become employee centric. “We have to do things for employees not to
employees,” she said. She wants to see co-creation become a large part of its
companies to move away from centres of excellence to solution centres. Perhaps
we should be thinking about pop-up solution shops. Using agile skills and collaborative
team processes, these pop-up solution outfits allows her teams to come together
for specific HR related issues rather than the centre of excellence model.
rightly believes HR should be the role model for agile, AI, design thinking,
net promoter score, and putting skills at the center of the organization. She believes
it is an underutilized department. No complaints from me on that point.
strategy also involves the proactive retention of people. Its HR AI system
accurately predicts 95% of the time if people might want to leave the company. “It
has saved the company over $300 million,” said Rometty, specifically due to
proactive retention practices. It’s the artificial intelligence that tipped off
IBM executives to take action – be it adding more compensation, skill development
or a job change – before the employee might have left.
to Rometty, this new way of operating at IBM has delivered a 20% bump in
employee engagement scores across the company.
still not clear how the changes in HR AI helped those folks in HR itself who
lost their jobs due to AI. Irony aside, on the whole, I agree with Rometty.
intelligence is a must for any HR team if it wants to survive not only the pending
talent war but its long-term existence, too. The big question is whether it
will put the technology to good use to assist all employees, or will it simple
be used to trim costs and total headcount numbers.
here for the original article.