How AI Can Bring a New Regime to the Workplace

How AI Can Bring a New Regime to the Workplace

How AI Can Bring a New Regime to the Workplace

Dr. Srinivas Chunduru , Founder,, 0

Dr. Srinivas Chunduru is a successful businessman with over 20 years of experience, Srinivas serves on the boards of various new age internet and fin-tech companies, including a unicorn. He serves as the chief advisor for Crowdera, one of the top Fintech companies. In addition to serving as an advisor on the boards of many B schools in Mumbai, Pune, and the NCR, he has held executive positions within the Piramal Group.

Excerpts from a conversation with Dr. Srinivas Chunduru, Founder of, discuss the Indian workplace of the future and the importance of cross-functional training. He also spoke on the impact that AI's application on diversity and equity is having on the labor force.

How do you determine the value of skills relevant to the future work market? What strategies would you suggest increasing the value of human workforce in the 21st century?
In my opinion, determining the value of skills relevant to the future work market is a complex and ever-evolving task. To begin with, it is essential to establish a clear definition of skills. Skills, as I see them, pertain to the tactical knowledge or expertise required to achieve work outcomes within a specific context. These skills are often specific to a particular function, tool, or desired outcome. On the other hand, capabilities encompass more intuitive and observable human attributes, including soft skills and behavioral skills that demonstrate adaptability and do not have a defined shelf life.

According to the World Economic Forum's 2020 report, some of the key skills that individuals need to hone to be future-ready at work include critical thinking, problem-solving, self-management (such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility), among others.

Some ways to strategically enhance the value of the human workforce include helping the employees understand that they are a part of the business. The 5-95 rule for instance, where we talk about five percent employees being 95 percent critical. It is crucial to convey how each employee's role and function directly align with and contribute to the organization's success. By emphasizing the significance of individual contributions, the perspective of value creation is heightened.

We also need to foster a culture of experimentation, taking inspiration from innovative companies like Google that create an atmosphere and systems that encourage employees to step outside their comfort zone and explore new ideas and approaches. It is this embracing of experimentation that leads to breakthroughs.

It is also essential to cultivate a culture of rewarding performance, innovation, teamwork, and constructive push-back. This type of culture promotes continuous improvement and motivates employees to strive for excellence.

How does the current application of AI influence diversity and equity in the labor force? What approaches or tactics proved effective in addressing biases associated with AI, while fostering fairness and sensitivity?
The current application of AI has influenced diversity and equity in the labor force by removing unconscious biases and promoting inclusivity. Assistive technologies, including AI, have leveled the playing field by providing equal access for differently abled individuals through features like screen readers and spoken language interfaces. The ability to work remotely has also contributed to more equitable work experiences, benefiting individuals who face challenges in commuting to an office. These technologies have broadened opportunities for diverse teams, including individuals with different abilities and linguistic backgrounds, fostering a more inclusive work environment.
To promote greater inclusivity and engagement of marginalized groups, it is important to leverage AI effectively. Implementing AI in recruitment processes can help mitigate biases and ensure fair selection based on qualifications and skills. Organizations should also adopt inclusive practices by actively seeking out diverse talent, creating mentorship programs, and fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. Regular audits and evaluations of AI systems can address biases, and diversity in AI development teams is crucial for more inclusive outcomes.

In conclusion, AI influences diversity and equity by eliminating biases and creating opportunities for marginalized groups. Leveraging AI effectively, adopting inclusive practices, and addressing biases associated with AI contribute to a more inclusive future of work.

Leveraging AI effectively, adopting inclusive practices, and addressing biases associated with AI contribute to a more inclusive future of work.

How do automation and digitization impact income inequality? Can workers from all backgrounds benefit from technological innovations in the world of work?
Automation and digitization have a significant impact on income inequality. Proponents argue that automation can increase productivity and efficiency, leading to higher economic growth and job creation. As machines take over repetitive and routine tasks, workers can focus on more complex and creative work, leading to a more skilled workforce. This, in turn, can result in higher wages and better job opportunities. However, it is important to consider the potential downside as well. Automation can also lead to job displacement, particularly in low-skill industries. Additionally, automation can reshape the labor market, making the adage ‘Geography as history’ relevant. The shift brought about by automation requires policy interventions to ensure that the benefits are shared fairly and that workers are not left behind in the transition to a more automated economy. These interventions should aim to address income inequality and provide support and retraining opportunities for affected workers.

How will the modern workplace and the idea of employment develop in the future?
The future of the modern workplace and the concept of employment will witness a shift towards ‘gig working’ and increased flexibility. The traditional model of long-term, full-time employment may give way to more project-based work arrangements, where both organizations and individuals embrace a project-oriented approach. This shift could bring about changes in the nature of work relationships, as individuals may engage with multiple employers or clients on a contractual basis rather than committing to a single employer. This trend towards gig working would also introduce greater agility in terms of education, location, and functional areas, as individuals adapt their skills and pursue opportunities that align with their interests and goals. Overall, the future workplace is likely to be characterized by increased flexibility, project-based engagements, and evolving work relationships.

What value does cross-functional training provide for both people and the company?
Cross-functional training provides significant value for both individuals and the company. Employees often view their roles through a functional lens, often not thinking of Dhandhemein paisa kidharhai? ie Where is the money in the business? This can limit their perspective and understanding of the overall business. This can lead to situations where each function is performing well individually, but the company as a whole is not achieving its goals. By engaging in cross-functional training, employees gain a broader perspective and develop a better understanding of how different functions within the company interact and contribute to overall success. This enhanced perspective promotes alignment and collaboration across teams, leading to improved decision-making, innovative problem-solving, and increased efficiency. However, it is important to note that cross-functional training alone may not yield the desired benefits without the use of tools like Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for measuring and reporting progress.