Almost all (94%) Chief Human Resources Officers and HR executives
believe the rise of AI and technology will alter the HR function, and
nearly 40% expect drastic changes to people management with even greater
tech influence, according to a new
survey released today by Boyden,
a premier talent and leadership advisory firm.
Part 1 of the report, Boyden
Senior Executive Survey: The CHRO and the Future Organization,
titled Impact of AI and Technology, looks at the global changes
and opportunities connected to tech, including people strategy,
approaches to the board and management, global workforce alignment,
hiring and training.
“AI is both overestimated and underestimated. At first glance, AI is
just a tool for faster learning and operational excellence,” said Robert
Winterhalter, Ph.D., Global Leader, Human Resources Practice and
Managing Partner, Boyden Germany. “Good HR leaders and other senior
executives will both leverage it to improve operational efficiency and
speed of transformation, and to affirm trust and respect from
operational lines of management.”
“While most CHROs and executives indicate they rely on their team or
they are not prepared to implement AI, a much smaller percentage are
hiring employees with technology and AI skill sets,” added Karen
Wefelmeyer, CHRO, d&b
audiotechnik, in reviewing the survey results.
The survey included a global panel of 310 CHROs, senior HR executives
and other HR decision makers across all industries in United States,
Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Australia.
Additional key findings related to the impact of AI and technology
Outlook and Driving Change
Nearly half (48%) expect AI and technology will streamline performance
management and increase skills-based hiring (47%). Similarly, 42% of
HR execs surveyed say new technology will speed up hiring, while 41%
believe new tech will improve onboarding.
67% of respondents from the industrials and energy sectors combined
can see AI replacing human recruiters, at least after initial job
“AI is just a tool, not a solution,” said Jörg
Kasten, Chairman of Boyden. “HR requires the personal touch of
someone who is able to effectively communicate with and inspire people.”
Three-quarters (75%) of HR executives believe they are prepared to
deploy AI and technology solutions at their company. However, the level
of confidence various regionally.
Only 60% of Canadian HR execs say they are well versed or have a team
that is well versed in AI, while 66% of UK execs say they are
prepared. This contrasts with 96% of execs in Mexico believing they
are prepared to deploy AI, followed by 88% in Brazil and 84% in
Germany. The US and Australia fall somewhere in the middle, with 75%
and 70% saying they are prepared, respectively.
Just over one-third of organizations (36%) are encouraging continuous
learning around AI for existing employees, and 27% are hiring employees
with technology and AI skill sets and backgrounds, while only 20% are
focusing on hiring senior-level executives with AI skill sets and
“The very best leaders are very data-oriented, data-driven,” said Jeff
Hodge, Managing Partner, Boyden United States. “A deep understanding
of data analytics will be a foundational skill for every CHRO in the
“With digitization, there is common discussion of reduction in
hierarchies,” said Dr. Michael Pütz, Senior Vice President, Human
Group. “However, from my experience, the representation of the HR
function at the top management level is a key lever to implement
initiatives. Therefore, it will be interesting to see the impact
simultaneous digital development and the dissolution of hierarchies has
on the effectiveness of the HR function.”
Challenges, Opportunities & Hiring
Among Human Resources decision makers’ views on the potential for HR
in the age of AI, 70% selected performance assets aided by AI and
technology as the top opportunity in running an HR division, while 60%
say relying on analytical processing and data, as opposed to
individual observations, is a key opportunity.
However, 61% of the HR executives surveyed say hiring people with the
right skill sets is a challenge, and 60% are concerned about keeping
up with technology advancements.
“AI is changing dynamics in the workplace, both in terms of process
automation and engineering and in terms of how data is used and value
can be created,” explains Marco Ryan, Executive VP and Chief Digital
“However, AI has many different use cases and so people still need to be
in the loop – there is increasing demand for human expert
“AI, as a candidate processing and selection tool, will undoubtedly
transform the way we hire people in the future,” said Francesca
d’Arcangeli, Global Leader, Industrial Practice and Managing
Partner, Boyden United Kingdom.
The Boyden report’s second and third installments, The CHRO Role in
the C-Suite & Board and Diversity of People and Thought,
will be released in the coming weeks.
Boyden is a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than
65 offices in over 40 countries. Our global reach enables us to serve
client needs anywhere they conduct business. We connect great companies
with great leaders through executive search, interim management and
leadership consulting solutions. For further information, visit www.boyden.com.