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Should A Computer Program Replace Your Boss?

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The business of Human resources in companies is thriving. Arranging 1st interviews, 2nd interviews, practical tests, psychological exams, employment contracts, negotiations, employee benefits management, 360 degree reviews, grievances procedures, and skipping around the office making sure the company 'culture' is alive and well. But, not all is well. Oftentimes we find these processes to be slow, biased, and opinionated with the humans in Human resources, and the wider business, wrestling with what they feel to be right.

To look at changing opinions in the workplace a new study by Intensions Consulting and Nikolas Badminton has examined the future of work across Canada -- and the findings suggest some challenges ahead.

The study (Conducted by Intensions and Nikolas Badminton) surveyed 2299 adults across Canada and found a number of findings that will rock the Human resources and people management industry.

Canadians believe an unbiased computer program would be more trustworthy and ethical than their workplace leaders and managers.

Twenty-six per cent of Canadian adults (20-59 years old) believe an unbiased computer program would be more trustworthy and ethical than their workplace leaders and managers with 31 per cent of younger adults (those aged 20-39) believing that.

Canadians would prefer to be screened and hired, or have their job performance assessed, by an unbiased computer program.

Also, challenging the current workplace reality, a quarter (26 per cent) of Canadian adults would prefer to be screened and hired, or have their job performance assessed, by an unbiased computer program. For younger adults those numbers were significantly higher, with 34 per cent preferring to be hired, 33 per cent preferring to be assessed, and 26 per cent preferring to be managed by an unbiased computer program.

People are losing faith in human management, and rightly so. Who would you trust, a human with personal biases and opinions or a rational and balanced AI? These results are not surprising, and I expect to start seeing automated HR and management systems being deployed in the next 3 to 5 years -- with a human touch to maintain creativity and empathy.

Flexibility at work is foremost

The study found that 55 per cent of Canadian adults would like their employer to provide extended leave opportunities, 45 per cent would prefer not to work at fixed times (i.e. 9am - 5pm), 41 per cent would prefer not to work at a fixed location (i.e. at an office), 34 per cent would prefer to work from a remote or overseas location, and almost half (45 per cent) would like to start their own business or work for themselves in the future.

Flexibility and empowerment will be the new work currencies and productivity will be redefined. Flexible payment schedules for workers will come into effect administered by automated systems that measure output, not hours put in.

Fighting for life-work balance

According to the study, 37 per cent of Canadian adults are concerned that work responsibilities are interfering with their personal lives, 30 per cent are always looking for new ways to cut corners and save time at work, 25 per cent think it's fair to pursue their own projects and interests at work (i.e. developing a business or promoting their own brand), and amongst younger adults, 20 per cent would consider paying other people to do their job for them (i.e. using Craigslist or Freelancer).

"This study has uncovered a number of interesting and potentially challenging trends for the future of work in Canada," says Nick Black, Managing Partner at Intensions Consulting. "For younger adults, who have grown up trusting and relying on technology, there seems to be a growing preference for automated leadership and management."

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