"For better or worse, robots are going to replace many humans in their jobs,” says analysts from BBC, and the coronavirus is speeding up the process. Consumer preferences are evolving and recently consumer behavior demonstrates that we as a society have become more tolerant accepting of using automation in our daily routines.
In the professional workspace, most if not all companies have moved towards working from home. Given the unprecedented times, recruitment, the employees management, and the corporate governance processes and communication have moved online. As a result of pandemics many companies are experiencing hiring freezes, but many others have moved their recruitment efforts online. A few companies have begun piloting recruitment with the help of artificial intelligence. They are now leveraging AI to conduct online interviews and assessments and deliver data back to the employer. Now more than ever, companies are realizing the importance of moving towards a remote-friendly workforce. Being able to scale human capital on a larger scale online has definitely been accelerated recently.
I know for myself, as a current student who recently had their internship offers rescinded due to COVID-19, I’ve put myself back into the market. I’ve seen both small businesses and corporations utilize screening questions, video pitches, and unique riddles to test students’ critical thinking and how they fit into the company culture. This experience in itself has been revealing – after so many years of in-person interviews to suddenly having to emulate the same energy online or via video. Given the adjustment, at times it definitely felt unnatural to sit in front of my computer camera and pitch myself or answer video questions. However, going forward, I can see how automation and online platforms will become more explored given the time it saves and the bias it could remove during the recruitment process.
Yet it is not just a change in the recruitment process that we are seeing. The customer service environment, as I have seen first-hand, is under large stress. One of the first calls I had made was to an online retailer, to try and put in a return order. What seemed to be an idea that everyone else had as well, I was put into a queue that lasted more than 30 minutes. After hitting that 30-minute mark, I gave up and put off the task for a later date. Now, a month later, more and more companies are adopting chatbots and artificial intelligence into their customer service processes. These companies are beginning to provide information in a more efficient manner, and with less human capital.
Moving forward, in the next few months and post-COVID-19, it would be interesting to see which companies are focusing more on their digital transformation efforts. I believe that a larger number of universities and educational institutions will partner with tech companies to help digitize their working environments. And private businesses will continue to implement some of the already existing practices and produce products that cater to the remote working lifestyle and online interactions.