How to Overcome Staffing Challenges with AI

overcome staffing challenges with AI

It doesn’t matter what business you are in – finding the right employees is one of the most critical and difficult challenges faced today. To start, the coronavirus upended entire industries and job responsibilities while creating new expectations of remote working. Even as the impact of COVID has declined, the search for new employees will never be the same. Interestingly, one of the initial concerns over advancements made with Artificial Intelligence technology was that it had the potential to eliminate jobs. As it turns out, AI might just be the best way for organizations to overcome staffing challenges today – and operate with greater efficiency and performance at the same time.

This article might be of interest, Here are 3 AI Myths

Despite record numbers of new positions that have been created over the past few months; the labor shortage is still an issue. In January 2022, according to a Bloomberg article, the U.S. added 467,000 jobs, easily beating estimates of 125,000. Revisions to the U.S. payroll report added another 709,000 jobs over the prior two months. Yet the unemployment rate increased from 3.9 to 4.0 percent, indicative of greater participation by the labor pool. As confusing as these numbers appear, one thing is consistent. Companies are hiring workers in record numbers, yet they still can’t seem to get ahead.

Korn Ferry published a report based on the findings of their original research. In the final report, Future of Work: The Global Talent Crunch, they estimated the impending talent crunch by modeling the gap between future labor supply and demand. By 2030, demand for skilled workers will outstrip supply, resulting in a global talent shortage of more than 85.2 million people. Signs are already emerging that within two years there won’t be enough talent to go around.

The Future of Work: A Blended Workforce to Overcome Staffing Challenges

Given the current and impending staffing challenges, new labor models must be applied to cover the shortfall. Companies are now shifting toward a blended workforce model. What this means is that work will increasingly get done by employees, nontraditional workers (such as gig workers), robots, and AI-augmented resources.

The pandemic ushered in the start of this shift when employees were forced to shelter in place. With the stigma of remote working taken off the table, the increase in U.S. consumers doing gig work has exploded. Some research trends highlighted by Small Business Trends include: (source)

  • 36.2 million Americans will be remote by 2025 – according to Future Workforce Report, the number of remote workers is expected to nearly double the pre-pandemic level in the next five years
  • 52% of men and 60% of women will quit if not allowed to continue remote work
  • 32% of all worldwide employees will be remote workers by the end of 2021 – up from 17% of all employees in 2019

Borrowing from the financial planning playbook, a diversified portfolio will provide greater resilience and long-term value. By diversifying how work gets done between full-time staff, gig workers, and third-party solution providers, companies can better “weather the storm” to overcome staffing challenges that are expected over the next 10 years.

Similarly, investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a critical strategy to build greater organizational resilience. By augmenting the overall output of your existing managers and employees, less burden will be placed on future hiring, helping to minimize the impact of staffing shortages.

The growth of technologies capable of automating work will have a profound impact on how organizations operate, the collective skills capabilities, and the resulting workflows that will occur. Those responsible for determining IT investments will play a critical role to ensure a successful implementation of new AI tools and strategies – and the resulting impact on their organizations. This will be especially true with organizations that accelerate their adoption of AI and other emerging technologies in the wake of the pandemic.

Future of Outsourcing

With the continued pressure to grow revenue without adding employees, look for more outsourcing or democratization of technology, including AI. In other words, how can you place the power of technology resources in everyone’s hands?

Accenture explains this concept well in their article, I, Technologist, where they state:

Technology democratization places powerful capabilities with people in operations, maintenance, the contact center, and back-office functions. It augments, not replaces, existing technology approaches to innovation. A new decentralized approach adds a grassroots layer to innovation, where staff are free to innovate on their own, in their own timeframes, without the need for specialized IT resources.

Watch this video to better understand:

Here is where AI can play a critical role in monitoring how these types of resources are embraced, what are the more popular tools, and then provide these insights to management to direct future, increasing investment. The breaking down of the traditional silos of work activities across a diversified talent pool of workers will not only drive greater productivity but the technology behind this collaboration can be further leveraged to drive even greater performance improvements over time.

An excellent example of this type of scenario is RPA or Robotic Process Automation. These types of systems can be applied quickly, can be made available to “citizen developers” and can be used to automate mundane tasks that no one had the time to do anyway!

Learn more about how to get started with RPA here, The Complete Guide to Robotic Process Automation

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