The Importance of AI in Workforce Management

Workplaces and workforces alike have become more digital, dispersed, and remote as firms seek to comply with public health edicts and customer needs. Work-life and home life further entwine. The need for leaders to step up has seldom been greater. In this unprecedented economic environment, leaders who care about their people, talented and typical alike, will have to clearly signal and demonstrate their desire to go beyond day-to-day delivery.

Over the past decade, workforce management leaders have been focused on strategic planning to understand the skills they’ll need to invest in to perform future work. Organizations have created reskilling and upskilling programs to invest in their workforces, however, our study indicates that “virtual upskilling” and “digital retraining” don’t go far enough.

However, in many cases, those programs are not living up to employee expectations and workforce planning needs. The 2020 Future of the Workforce Global Executive Study, conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, found that only 34% of surveyed workers are satisfied with the level of skills development investment received from their organization and only 56% of respondents see a meaningful opportunity for themselves in the organization.

The opportunity marketplace

Opportunity marketplaces can be an invaluable tool for human capital leaders looking to optimize workforce agility, engagement, and retention. They go beyond traditional job boards and internal talent sites that match individuals to traditional roles and enable managers to post open roles, as well as a broader range of opportunities—project work or “gigs” as side jobs, career sprints, volunteer experiences, mentorship engagements, and more. This allows individuals to gain access to new experiences that align with their personalized learning and development goals, for managers to spin up project teams more quickly, and for organizations to achieve greater workforce agility and talent mobility, as well as a better understanding of workforce capability aligned to organizational needs.

Understanding skills supply and demand with AI

One of the biggest advantages of AI in HR is the ability to enable organizations to take advantage of the opportunity marketplace at scale. Whereas smaller organizations might be able to use simple solutions to manually match individuals to relevant work, for organizations with thousands of employees and hundreds of thousands of opportunities across business lines and geographies, understanding relevant, available, and needed skills and pairing them with one other pose a monumental challenge.

This is where AI comes into the equation. Organizations can use AI in workforce management to analyze their existing employees’ inventory of skills and use historical skills data to match employees with relevant open opportunities posted by managers—considering skills adjacency, prior experiences, and desired career pathways. Employees gain greater transparency into a wide pool of projects and experiences available within their organization that might otherwise be opaque to them with the value-add of individualized recommendations serving up relevant opportunities. For managers, this can have dramatic benefits in terms of time to role filled for redeployment or work completed in the case of gigs; and for the organization at large, greater workforce agility and invaluable data for strategic workforce planning related to future skills needs.

Unlock workforce productivity and potential

Ultimately, opportunity marketplaces are a growing workforce transformation trend. Workforce management leaders who understand their ability to match available talent with roles and projects where there is an immediate need for better workforce management and deployment stand to unlock greater workforce productivity and employee potential.