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No point going back to the future, we’re in it!

Do you use Siri on your iPhone?
Own a smart vehicle?
Used the on-line pop-up helper on the ATO or a similar website?

Then Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already a part of your life whether you realise it or not. 50 years on from the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey (yes it’s HAL’s 50th birthday this year!), there have been many incredible advances associated with AI across numerous fields particularly in the medical and science disciplines, with the impacts being felt in many of our day to day workplaces.

The AI universe has and will challenge the way organisations operate, manage and develop employees. This in turn influences the career choices employees and graduates make, and pedagogy and curriculum in education to position employees of the future to succeed.

How will AI shape jobs of the future?

I’m sure we won’t face the dystopian future depicted in The Hunger Games but some professions have already experienced the impact of AI with the automation of aspects of their roles.  In Australia over the last few years we have seen the exciting adoption of remote operation of mining equipment, but of course this has generated fears of increased unemployment.

Whilst the roles may look and feel different, people are still required to remotely operate, manage and oversee the equipment. Recent media reports have even suggested that there may be a skills shortage on the horizon in this sector. The importance of retraining and identifying transferable skill sets is crucial to being prepared for changes. Organisations and employees both play key roles in setting the stage for the future through adaptability, readiness and forward thinking.

Accountants and Lawyers face a similar future with machines taking over repetitive and time-consuming data tasks. The opportunity lies in these firms adopting the technology and focusing on providing clients higher level analytical and consulting services. This may change the skills and attributes required of a traditional Accountant or Lawyer with an increased focus on versatility and ability to analyse and engage with clients.

The future workers of tomorrow

The Terminator’s Sarah Connor is probably not required to educate and train us for the future but certainly organisations will need to consider how they train and retrain their employees to align with future roles, and the education sector and schools across Australia who are nurturing the future workers of tomorrow. 

Critical thinking, empathy and resilience have been identified by the NSW Department of Education as crucial skills for Kindergarten students and above to develop to succeed in the rapidly changing global environment that will be dominated by intelligent machines. This is in addition to the focus on STEM subjects to reflect industry and organisational needs. 

The need to adopt AI in teaching and learning has received much face time. It is now normal for three year olds to operate a tablet with confidence and learn to write and count using learning Apps. This will only continue to expand as the AI influence grows. 

If organisations and education partner together the students of today will be well positioned to excel in the AI world of the future.

How will organisations adopt AI to engage and develop their people?

Neo considers and adapts to defeat Agent Smith. When we dig deeper into the changes within organisations there are many exciting new AI technologies in the Human Resource arena that will support growth. When considering the options, organisations need to ask; what will best suit their organisation, reflect their culture and values, and most importantly how can they help staff adapt?   

In recruitment, AI was identified in the LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends 2018 Report as most useful in managing repetitive tasks particularly associated with sourcing and screening candidates. For a technology company, using AI recruitment tools will likely reflect their culture, whereas for a SME with a small team, the team meet and greet may still have an important place in the recruitment process to ensure cultural fit. In most cases, building personal relationships, recognising each candidate’s potential and gauging culture fit, still requires the human touch.

Employee learning and development has advanced significantly over the last decade. There are many new and progressive AI tools available and many more to come. The days of the large stuffy classroom with a presenter and an overhead projector out the front are gone. Virtual and augmented reality opportunities allow participants to be anywhere and have real-life experiences where they can actively engage and participate in the virtual environment. These new approaches allow for different learning styles to be considered and reflected in the way participants are trained and developed.

With new worlds to explore, organisations face unique challenges in how to engage and develop their people. Ensuring you add the human element by building a cohesive culture and communicating your strategic direction will assist your team to collaboratively determine how best to adopt, prepare and embrace the new AI alternate universes. 

Contact WCA - People & Culture Solutions if you require any assistance with your Culture, Human Resources and/ or Industrial Relations requirements on (08) 9383 3293 or admin@wcasolutions.com

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