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Finding the ‘Sweet Spot’ for HR, AI, and Human Abilities

Four panelists discuss how AI is already transforming the workplace.

Janet Gipson and Svenja Gudell speak on the main stage as part of a panel of four
Janet Gipson (left) and Svenja Gudell speak onstage during the general session at SHRM24 on June 25.

AI is just beginning to impact every workplace, presenting new challenges for HR as job duties change, new skills emerge, and guiding principles become necessary to navigate inevitable disruption.

The question isn’t whether to integrate AI tools in the workplace, but how, said Jessica Jensen, chief marketing officer at Indeed, as she opened the Main Stage general session on June 25 at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2024 (SHRM24) in Chicago.

Jessica Jensen
Jessica Jensen

“We are in the midst of exponential innovation,” she said. “Building a better future of work will require strategically—and responsibly—combining the power of AI with the human judgment, empathy, and expertise of the professionals who use it.”

Jensen said she understands people’s hesitancy about and fear of powerful new AI tools. But not adopting AI is not an option. “So what is the sweet spot between embracing it, de-risking it, and making progress toward a better world of work?” she asked.

In particular, generative AI (GenAI) will create massive disruption, altering the work of billions of people around the world. But some occupations and industries are expected to be more significantly affected. For example, research from Indeed shows that GenAI will have the potential to do 88% of the tasks in HR.

“When you hear that, you are either elated, or utterly terrified,” Jensen said. But she expressed a more optimistic view—that AI will not replace human workers but will instead augment the tactical tasks people do, leaving them more time to engage with other people and build workplace cultures.

“Those human aspects will remain at the core of HR for a long time,” she said.

Jensen added that some types of jobs will be negatively impacted by AI, and some jobs will change, “but we don’t believe entire industries will disappear. Instead, over time, we believe more jobs will be created.”

Svenja Gudell, Indeed’s chief economist, presented data on how GenAI is affecting the labor market—so far, it’s largely business as usual. While there has been tremendous growth in mentions of GenAI in job postings over the last couple of years, it’s still rare, at only 0.15% of all job postings.

“I think this will increase in the future, but we are still in the infancy of GenAI impacting the labor market,” she said.

But in the future, Gudell said, virtually every job is expected to be affected by GenAI. One-fifth (20%) of jobs will likely experience a significant impact, meaning a lot of a role’s skills could be readily done by the technology.

Janet Gipson, head of talent acquisition at Yale University, shared that her team has been using AI to help screen applicants and write job postings.

“We’re able to allow recruiters and hiring managers to focus more on the experience and selection of prime candidates,” she said. “Hiring managers are jazzed to use GenAI for creating job postings, saving them a lot of time.” 

Gipson acknowledged that the finding that GenAI could take on the majority of HR professionals’ work is astonishing, but also exciting.

“We’re in the process of implementing more of these types of tools at Yale,” she said. “There’s a need, though, for leaders to make sure we’re managing our teams through all this change. There’s fear, there’s excitement, there’s a need for people to learn how to use these tools. It will be very important to manage reskilling and practice empathy.”

Lafawn Davis
Lafawn Davis

All four panelists agreed that there is a huge potential for increased productivity, but there is also a need for responsibility.  

“Responsible AI means you are designing, evaluating, and deploying AI systems fairly, safely, and in a trustworthy way,” said LaFawn Davis, chief people and sustainability officer at Indeed.

“Technology is a reflection of its creators. The more perspectives, the more feedback we give in training AI, the better it will be and the more we can mitigate bias in the workplace. We want to make sure everything we build is fair and equitable, and that is everyone’s responsibility.”


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.