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  • Writer's pictureSara Broadhurst

What AI means for your future work

Working collaboratively with AI

Every Chief People Officer in the country is regularly reviewing and reworking their Artificial intelligence (AI) strategy as new tools arrive and adaptations and enhancements on current tools continue. While some may fear a robotic takeover, the reality is far more nuanced and the future is somewhat unknown. If you worry about the likelihood of your work being affected by AI, it may be helpful to know that we are in the fourth industrial revolution (steam, electricity, preliminary automation and now intelligent computers) and each industrial revolution has resulted in more work for people, not less. So the question is not so much “Will I have work?” but “What work will I be doing?”

At Fortis Street, we regularly read global analysts' views on AI and, so you didn’t have to, we’ve summarised some of these below. Have a read and let’s see what the view is on how AI will impact our work.

  1. Shifting of roles: The work you do today will not be the work you do in the future. It’s honestly just that simple. Work currently undertaken by people for decision-making, manual activities and workflows will be automated (and you see that happening everyday already). AI excels at analysing vast amounts of data, identifying patterns, and predicting future outcomes. This empowers people with data-driven insights to make informed decisions, reduce risks and optimise strategies. In addition, repetitive tasks like data entry, scheduling, and customer service may be automated by AI, freeing up valuable human time for more creative and strategic work. This allows people to focus on value-added activities that leverage their unique human skills. That means the number of roles needed for some activities will decrease. Gartner suggest this will lead to current specialised roles being redesigned into more multiskilled generalist roles with a broader range of capabilities and more interesting work experience for employees. In addition, organisations will need to maximise AI technologies in order to compete and perform at enhanced levels. This means there will be a need for new roles as well, that we haven’t even yet worked out what they will do. So, you want to be alert to the aspects of your role that will be automated and what new skills you need to be learning to be ready for these realignments in roles or the new opportunities that are coming your way.

  2. Leverage human value: Our fluid and flexible skills in visioning, creativity, innovation, advanced communication and collaboration. Any company can buy a piece of AI kit. But it is the brains of its people – their judgement about what bit of kit to buy, how to use and leverage it to break down barriers and create seamless collaboration between humans and technology, utilising geographically dispersed teams and translation tools to help people work together in entirely new ways that makes the difference. In PwC’s report on the future of work, they particularly note that AI can't replace human creativity entirely, but it can serve as a powerful co-creation tool. AI can generate new ideas, break creative blocks, and assist with complex problem-solving, freeing up people to focus on refining concepts and bringing them to life.

  3. End-to-end skill transformation: AI-powered learning platforms will be used by organisations to genuinely personalise learning programs for individual employees. By thoroughly understanding the skills needed to meet an organisation’s ambition and then matching those against their people’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles, organisations will be able to understand their talent gaps and identify solutions. AI will be able to develop, recommend and roll-out relevant courses, provide personalised feedback to people and teams, and create a compelling and timely learning experience (no more death by PowerPoint). McKinsey suggest that organisations will want to work actively with their people to be ready for the future. That means both organisational cultures and the people who work in those organisations will need to be actively looking for growth and possibility, both at the organisational and the personal level.

Embracing the Change

The integration of AI into the workplace is not without its challenges. Addressing concerns about job displacement and ensuring ethical use of AI are crucial. However, approaching AI with a growth mindset and fostering a culture of continuous learning, we believe you can thrive in the evolving work environment. We are all a little fearful of the unknown. This was a supremely helpful mindset when we were approaching a cave in ancient times and weren’t sure if we were facing friend or foe. However, times have changed, we really don’t have to worry about that sabre-toothed tiger anymore, so tell that fear alarm in your brain to go on standby.

Life is constantly changing and what got us to where we are today, won’t get us to where we want to be tomorrow. The opportunity for all of us is to lean into it, keep thinking about where we want to be in the future and what we need to do to make that happen. Here are some key actions for you:

  • Stay alert: Stay informed about AI advancements and potential applications in your field. You might want to make it a part of your regular google search (and then go onto the cat videos).

  • Focus on Human Value: Highlight your uniquely human skills, such as empathy, creativity, and emotional intelligence, which are invaluable in the AI-powered workplace. The best way to do this is to get yourself on projects or in agile workgroups and look to actively work those skills like a muscle. Ask for specific feedback about what you’re doing well and can leverage and where you could develop further, listen and take action on that feedback.

  • Upskill and Reskill: Invest in learning new skills that complement AI, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and complex communication. Most workplaces have training budgets that never get fully spent. So make the most of that and get yourself on training courses (including online), do university papers or go to conferences where you can build this skillset further. No-one will love your career as much as you though, so don’t just depend on your employer to look after you. Be active about and prepared to invest in your own learning, it could take you to an entirely new career that you really love.

Work has always changed – just think back to when you started working, it’s not the same as it is for you today. However, AI is going to mean that the future of work will change faster than ever and it promises to open up new opportunities through an exciting blend of human and machine intelligence. Get on it!

What do you think? Have we missed something important that you are seeing coming for your work? Add it in the comments below.

Take action: If you want to grow your skills for the future of work and you think a coach might be helpful, give us a call and let's chat about your future.

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