Tag Archives: HR

With an internal career platform where AI proactively recommends jobs to you based on skills, tenure, project work, rankings. No doubt, IBM will soon be trying to sell this career platform to other companies.


Photo: Taken at a old postal town on the Nakasendo trail.

Employee centric or Big Brother?

MYCA—IBM’s internal career platform called My Career Advisor—no longer acts as a self serve system; instead the AI proactively recommends jobs to you based on skills, tenure, project work, rankings, and so on.

Does 95% accuracy mean self fulfilling prophecy?

Accurate by whose predictions? I will be quite hesitant to work in a company where my career is decided by a robot.

Sensing this, the AI no doubt will weed me out. Well, IBM is not going to be on my favourite list of great place to work.

If I want to keep my job in IBM (hypothetically), I will certainly say that I love whatever is happening. Employee engagement survey scores have seen an increase of 20% in IBM. Does one assume anonymity or alignment? The same AI that gives out the survey can now detect the unmotivated with greater accuracy. Is there a conflict of interest? What is HR’s role?

Will I want to buy this HR solutions which IBM may try to sell my company? Hmm, why not. It certainly is a powerful machine from a profit/ cost perspective.

I recently heard this exchange on a TED talk about machines and replacing workers.

Henry Ford was hosting the Union chief Walter Reuther at his Ford car assembly line.

Henry Ford II: Walter, how will you get those robots to pay your union dues?

Walter Reuther in reply: Henry, how will you get them to buy your cars?

Whether this exchange took place, Ford in his HR practice understood the need to motivate and stablise his workforce with a decent salary because it is a circular economy.

Employees who leave your company may be potential clients, customers or your adversary. Understand the ecosystem.

IBM’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy Is Fantastic, But AI Also Cut 30% Of Its HR Workforce

Pros of having a job description

Most companies beyond a certain size of 150 have job titles and job descriptions. For recruitment/ selection professionals, job description is essential, because it helps refine the thinking process of the type of attributes/skills and knowledge an organisation wants to bring in for the job.  It also helps in performance appraisal, as otherwise the individual may be unfairly appraised for doing a job s/he lacks the skill set. Not to mention extremely demotivating as well.

In a rigid structure, such as manufacturing with clear tasks and responsibilities and repetitive tasks, i.e. in finding replaceable clogs to make the assembly line efficient and breaking down tasks into simple functions, an organisation where everyone does only his or her job is necessary.

Tomorrow I’m conducting a workshop on cover letter and resume writing, and the first question every student ask, is what skills should I put in the resume. My first response is, have you read the job description/ advertisement for the position.

Once you enter an organisation though, the use of a job description is both necessary but limiting.

Even in traditional manufacturing jobs like the automotive, Chairman Bill Ford recognised that Ford had become a place where they wait for the leader to tell them what to do.
Limitations of job description

In a knowledge economy, where the environment is dynamic and unpredictable because a disrupting technology is just around the corner, using position descriptions to define jobs is limiting, and is as a disincentive for performance. Job roles should be more fluid.

While it is important to have clear job responsibilities, defined job responsibilities and tasks can have a negative effect on performance and flexibility.  With positions undertaken by highly skilled employees who have the ability to be flexible it can restrict performance and collaboration.    Add to that, power base, territory and turf defending and we are on to a calcified culture and fractious divisions. Overtime, it breeds a culture hostile to new ideas.
Today’s organisations need entrepreneurs like Marissa Mayer during her time at Google. (She’s currently CEO of Yahoo.) Marissa applies artistic judgment, making the interfaces work between the engineers and what the public wants. A story was told of how she would fight to keep the Google start page as spare as it is, to the extent that she counts the number of words on the page. She didn’t get assigned to that role, she just did that. Seth Godin described her as “solving problems that people haven’t predicted, see things people havent seen”.  Not in her job description, most probably because she didn’t have one. Not everyone enjoys working in an unstructured environment like Google either.
Peter Drucker instead adivised on Management by Objectives as a performance metric. That too, has its downside.  In the case of Ford, Alan Mulally, an ousider from the aerospace industry.  What he did to transform the culture at Ford is very interesting, what I would call a Hero’s adventure in the likes of Joseph Campbell. But that’s for another post. 
2. “Linchpin” by Seth Godin