By Angela Colantuono, Senior Vice President, SAP SuccessFactors Asia Pacific & Japan 

While there is a lot of hype around AI and Generative AI at the moment, understanding how organizations can – and should – be using it to improve their employee experience drive business impact is not always clear.  

I recently hosted a webinar, where I listened to SAP’s Dr Kim Oosthuizen and Stacy Chapman give their take on how businesses can be more proactive about using AI to improve talent recruitment and employee engagement, and to Mahindra and Mahindra’s Susheela Dube, who was kind enough to share how her team is approaching AI adoption and integration with HR processes, and the possibilities and concerns that sit front of mind for her. 

What stood out for me in this discussion is that, even as AI becomes more ingrained in our daily lives, people are still an organization’s greatest asset. People are what drive innovation and enable companies to compete and grow. Given the rapid pace of change and the skills gap that all organizations are facing today, a focus on upskilling and reskilling employees must be a top business priority to create a more equitable and sustainable organization now and in the future. 

Beyond Automation and Augmentation: Unlocking New Opportunities 

When it comes to learning new skills, there is no one-size-fits-all approach – and this is where AI technology can have a massive impact for people with different learning abilities. Take, for example, a neurodivergent individual. With AI, their learning preferences and behavioral patterns can be used to create a learning experience that optimizes their engagement and comprehension through content, structure and pacing that best meets their needs. AI-powered learning platforms can generate interactive learning materials that cater to their unique learning style and help them maintain focus and engagement without overwhelming them. Or, for people hard of hearing, automatic speech recognition technology can convert spoken words into captions or subtitles during presentations, making it easier for them to follow along and understand. The opportunities to optimize and revolutionize how people best learn are seemingly endless.  

And the impact these individualized learning experiences can have on both employees and organizations is huge, especially when it comes to having a measurable impact on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and creating a workplace where individuals feel seen and have a sense of belonging. All employees are more engaged and empowered to learn and grow in ways that work best for them, and organizations can better meet the diverse needs of their workforce, ensure everyone has equal access to the same opportunities, and create pathways to employment for people who may have previously been excluded or underrepresented. 

As AI continues to advance, organizations will also be able to use the insights it surfaces to uncover hidden strengths within their workforce and unlock their potential by connecting employees to new opportunities in line with those strengths and the needs of the business. By surfacing these ‘inferred skills,’ organizations can fill critical skills gaps and create a more meaningful work experience for employees by accounting for their unique skills, interests, passions, preferences, and working styles, and by freeing them from more manual, time-consuming tasks.  

SAP recently took another step forward to help make all this a reality for our customers by announcing Joule, a new generative AI assistant that will make interacting with SAP’s apps far more conversational. Joule acts like a copilot that will eventually be embedded all throughout SAP’s cloud enterprise portfolio, allowing employees to converse with it using their everyday language but without sacrificing privacy, security, or compliance.  

Within SAP SuccessFactors, Joule is transforming the employee experience by making it easier and faster for employees to navigate complex processes and HR teams to respond to employee requests. Powered by conversational AI, Joule uses natural language processing to help employees quickly find information, get answers to questions, and complete HR-related tasks, such as, clocking in and out, viewing pay statements, approving or rejecting a request, and more. Now employees can complete tasks faster with a single assistant integrated into all SAP applications. 

We also have our SAP Talent intelligence hub, which acts as an AI-powered engine for an organization’s entire learning and talent strategy. It creates a skills portfolio for each employee in the workforce, now inferring skills and attributes based on data from performance feedback and dynamic teams, for example. With the talent intelligence integrated across the SAP SuccessFactors HXM suite, organizations can leverage a single skills model to drive everything from recruiting and onboarding to learning and development and performance and succession. Employees can build and store data about themselves including aspirations, motivations, styles, and preferences. And managers can view, add and update skills and other attribute types for all their direct reports, allowing organizations to gain greater visibility into skills coverage and gaps across teams to guide future workforce planning. 

Creating a Future of Work Where Everyone Thrives 

The AI revolution today is opening new doors for organizations and employees in almost every industry. An estimated 43% of work tasks will be automated by 2027, and employees will have more time than ever before for learning, development, and the work that matters most to them. 

When people have a great employee experience, their needs are being met, and they can learn and grow within an organization, they feel a sense of belonging. This drives higher engagement and ultimately brings a more diverse set of perspectives to the table. And a diverse, engaged, and empowered workforce drives an innovative organization that can more easily solve challenges, keep up with rapid change, and create better business outcomes. 

You can learn more about how organisations are using AI to improve talent recruitment and employee engagement by listening to our SAP SuccessConnect virtual event here.