Mar 25, 2024 - News

Five questions with IBM's Nickle LaMoreaux

Photo illustration of two word balloons, one containing an image of Nickle LaMoreaux.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Courtesy of IBM.

Nickle LaMoreaux, IBM's senior vice president and chief human resources officer, knows AI will transform jobs.

Driving the news: LaMoreaux leads IBM's employee experience strategy on a team that supports more than 250,000 employees, and recently spoke at SXSW about the future with AI.

  • LaMoreaux chatted with us about how the company leverages AI, responsible AI usage and the technology's role in the future of hiring.

Why it matters: As IBM bets big on its AI offerings, LaMoreaux revealed how the company is using the technology to train its own talent.

Zoom out: IBM recently made headlines for having the most AI-related U.S. patent applications over the last five years and dedicated $500 million to invest in generative AI startups.

Catch up quick: IBM opened its first Austin office roughly 57 years ago, one of the first companies to help pave the way for Austin to become a technology hub.

This conversation was condensed and edited lightly for clarity.

1. Do you think AI is disrupting how we seek job opportunities? How so?

"IBM has said for years that AI is going to transform every job. We've seen much of the focus be on jobs being eliminated or created. But the big challenge for an organization is that 100% of the jobs are going to change.

  • "Companies will have to prepare employees for this change by providing them with the skills to work creatively and responsibly with AI. They will also have to think about how to move people who have been freed from routine work by AI into roles that are more fulfilling and impactful to the business."

2. How is IBM leveraging AI to identify and train talent?

"We do not use AI tools for employee selection decisions. We do use AI for training. Our internal learning platform, YourLearning, uses AI to recommend personalized learning to employees according to job roles and skills. This makes the learning experience more relevant and compelling."

3. How critical will knowledge of AI be for IBM employees' career success (or for workers in general)?

"AI is going to transform every single job — not just within IBM, but for everyone. For employees, having some expertise in AI as it pertains to their domain will be important, as well as the willingness to be a continuous learner."

  • "All of this goes hand in hand with organizations providing visibility around what AI is going to replace, what part is going to increase in demand and what part is going to decrease in demand and having the right skilling programs in place."

4. How do you see IBM's Austin workforce fitting into the company's AI push in 2024 and beyond?

"The city of Austin is an extraordinary center of talent and innovation. … The talent in Austin helps IBM to continue showcasing immense creativity and innovating in technology."

5. How can companies be sure that AI won't perpetuate biases as it's used to identify talent?

"For companies that are looking to deploy AI in HR, it will be important to transparently show sources of information, and to work with governed AI in an augmented way that is not intended to replace human skills.

  • "At IBM, AI is there to augment human decision-making, never replace it. The AI we develop and deploy is ethical from the start."
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