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Unlocking Workforce Potential with AI

A ChapmanCG Global HR Leaders Forum in Basel

Hosted by: Novartis

In April 2024, we gathered 20 senior HR leaders from our network to explore the impact of AI on organisations and its potential to unlock workforce capabilities. The session was hosted by Markus Graf, VP HR, Global Head of Talent and Franck Appleby, Global Head of Talent & Transformation – International at the Novartis HQ in Basel, Switzerland, and co-presented with Ralf Buechsenschuss, Modern Work – Employee Experience Lead from Microsoft.

Since conversations around Generative AI began, there has been much discussion about the power and impact of AI automation, and how to combine human and artificial intelligence to achieve greater business results. Generative AI can assist HR Professionals with improving efficiency, decision-making, and employee experience, but what is the impact on the business and company culture?

Utilising AI to Supercharge the Talent Strategy

In the competitive pharmaceutical landscape, Novartis has pivoted to become more of a skills-powered organisation. A Learning Experience Platform and an internal Talent Marketplace utilise employee profiles to customise people development on a personalised basis while also enabling managers to identify employees with critical skills. This AI-powered technology uses algorithms to provide customised recommendations for suitable jobs, short-term gigs, mentorship, learning content, and career progression based on employees’ skills and interests. Altogether, this creates a skills-centric approach to career development and accelerates deploying skilled talent for business-critical work. The focus on skills and people’s interests unlocks the potential within the organisation and allows for a more tailored approach to career advancement. 

Generative AI Automation

A company like Microsoft is always looking at the next bit of technology to assist their teams and clients in the future. Their research has shown that 49% of people fear that AI will replace their jobs, but 70% would delegate as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workloads.

It is worth noting that automation can lead to a shift in roles affecting everyone from leaders to entry-level positions. AI, including tools like co-pilot, creates everyday efficiencies not only by summarising long documents or emails and drafting emails and content but also by providing answers to specific, complex questions.  

This shift towards higher-level thinking and adaptability in career progression may require a change in organisational culture and individual habits. The collaborative efforts between industry leaders like Novartis and Microsoft serve as an excellent example of proactive engagement with the opportunities presented by AI in the workplace, involving HR leaders to upskill and future-ready the workforce. 

What Does This All Mean?

As the team at Novartis shared, the organisation’s culture and approach to this change are critical to success. Few companies have been brave enough to move forward, embracing areas of Generative AI even if it has not had a perfect structure or approach. By embracing the possibilities, they are able to guide their leadership and employees through the impact of Generative AI so that areas of the business can embrace the change and, more importantly, drive new changes forward.

Moving forward, all areas of a business will need to upskill and reinvent themselves to embrace this inevitable change. Critical to this transformation will be the leadership and culture, with a focus on emphasising a growth mindset, both for the individuals and the organisation overall. This entails a willingness to experiment, adapt, develop new skills, and then measure the impact to adopt or further adapt. 

It is an exciting time for HR as Generative AI becomes more refined. HR professionals will need to adapt their own skills to take on just enough of the change without losing the all-important people aspect that is so critical to their roles. World-class companies and innovative HR leaders embrace the potential of AI, while ensuring the ethical use of AI. 

We are excited to bring our network together again soon for further thought leadership opportunities in Switzerland and around the world. Keep an eye out here for details about upcoming global HR leader gatherings.


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