How Can the Workforce Adopt in the Era of Artificial Intelligence?

by May 12, 2019

Artificial Intelligence

With artificial intelligence, there can be no denying that some jobs will change significantly, and many new ones will appear. It is therefore critical that organisations don’t forget to provide their employees with the right support and training to prepare them for this change. Only with the right skills and learning approaches will employees feel confident and valued in their roles and ready to embrace AI within the workplace.

Many organisations today are already using AI technologies to transform business processes and augment the efforts of employees, enabling them to do even better work.

With AI embedded into a skilled workforce, staff is equipped to become more productive, as mundane, laborious tasks can now be automated, freeing up employees’ time to focus on more complex and creative work. Yet while the benefits of adopting AI are clear, there is still more to be done to bring employees on the AI journey and make them feel comfortable using these technologies.

Automation will change and redefine the workforce that has existed for the past years. In the near future, demand for emerging technologies will only continue to grow. Skills like cognitive thinking, creativity will only continue to grow, so will be the basic digital skills. Demand for physical and manual skills will decline but will remain the single largest category of workforce skills in 2030 in many countries.


Decline in the Age of Automation

Occupations made up of physical activities in highly structured environments or in data processing or collection will see declines. Like rule-based data entry and excel based work profiles, occupations that will see increasing demand for work include teachers, nursing aides, and tech and other professionals.

High-wage jobs will grow significantly, especially for high-skill medical and tech or other professionals, but a large portion of jobs expected to be created, including teachers and nursing aides, typically have lower wage structures.


Fostering a Culture of Learning

Firstly, leaders should define how they want to use AI practically and in what capacity in the workplace. Once this is established, the HR team has a critical role to play, creating a talent map to best understand the core skills that currently reside within their organisation and those that they need to develop.

More than ever, it’s important to create a culture of continuous learning and improvement throughout the organisation to support skills development – staff should be free (and even encouraged) to experiment, fail fast, refine and try again. Here, it’s also critical for leaders to share the value of this experience and to seek regular feedback that challenges and forces them to try different and new ways of doing things.


Growing Occupations in the Digital Age

Intelligent automation if will take away routine and mundane tasks, will give rise to new job opportunities as well. New occupations will rise as the workforce continues to reskill themselves to survive in these changing times. As self-checkout machines are introduced in stores, for example, cashiers can become checkout assistance helpers, who can help answer questions or troubleshoot the machines. Warehouse design may change significantly as some portions are designed to accommodate primarily robots and others to facilitate safe human-machine interaction.

It is an urgent need that the new workflow designs are inspired keeping in view the changes bought by disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and automation. This is both an opportunity and a challenge, in terms of creating a safe and productive environment. Organizations are changing too, as work becomes more collaborative and companies seek to become increasingly agile and non-hierarchical.

There is work for everyone today and there will be work for everyone tomorrow, even in a future with automation. Yet that work will be different, requiring new skills, and far greater adaptability of the workforce than we have seen. Training and retraining both mid-career workers and new generations for the coming challenges will be imperative. Government, private-sector leaders, and innovators all need to work together to better coordinate public and private initiatives, including creating the right incentives to invest more in human capital.

The future of the workplace will be new and challenging, making it imperative for the workforce to skill and re-skill themselves to stay ahead in the competition curve in this era of artificial intelligence and automation.