One of the challenges that companies face today in an increasingly digital world is to figure out how emerging technologies, like Artificial Intelligence (AI), can be best employed it in the workplace. To help organizations that are looking to use AI as part of the employee experience better understand how leading companies are using it, we wanted to share some of the AI practices that came up in the Culture Audits of the 2019 100 Best Companies to Work For.
A common practice of the 100 Best is to educate and prepare employees for the future of work. PwC has an initiative called "Your Tomorrow," which focuses on employee development and providing the skills employees will need in the workforce of the future. Employees in the program are currently learning about emerging technologies, like AI. In addition, PwC also has a program called, "Digital Accelerators" where self-nominated employees can learn AI skills and be embedded in teams around the company to improve processes and client outcomes. SAP has a "Future of Work" campaign that researches the skills that will be needed at the company in the future. It educates employees about what the workforce may look like and is beginning to build the culture and mindsets required for lifelong learning. Finally, NVIDIA, a leader in AI technology, has a Deep Learning Institute that has trained over 100,000 people worldwide in self-paced online courses and workshops and has provided 6,000 young people with hands-on learning in AI.
Digital badges are becoming common at tech-focused companies to recognize employees’ special technical skills around emerging technologies. PwC Digital Badges act as a new form of currency for skills and capabilities and provide a heat map of in-demand talent across the firm. The first three digital badges were issued in the areas of data, automation and artificial intelligence. Multinational professional services firm, EY, also launched a digital badge program, in which participants earn digital credentials in future-focused skills, including RPA, data science and artificial intelligence. Learning requirements are listed for the three components (learning, experience and contribution), and upon completion, a professional earns a badge.
Another common use case for AI in the workforce is in Human Resources, where AI can help by automating standard processes. NVIDIA uses AI to eliminate unconscious biases common today in the resume screening process. EY is another company that uses AI in the hiring process. The company utilizes a chatbot, built around job candidates’ experience, to help applicants through the hiring process. The chatbot suggests jobs that might suit their skills, answers questions, and more.
The last practice around AI that we saw in our research is companies using the technology to improve their own products and services. KPMG is partnering with outside organizations to offer new AI technologies to better serve its clients. For example, the company is utilizing IBM’s Watson to improve its advisory and tax services. And one of SAP’s top business priorities is "The Intelligent Enterprise," which has employees work with outside organizations to utilize AI and deep learning technologies to improve outcomes.
While AI is still considered an emerging technology, it’s great to see these companies preparing their workforces with training and certification programs and finding great applications for it in ways that improve performance and outcomes. We expect to see much more usage of AI in the coming year.