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Pivot: Building Agility for the Future Workforce

By November 3, 2021 No Comments

Finding and keeping the right talent for your organization are the two most challenging aspects of business I am seeing right now. Many of us are aware of “The Great Resignation” and the lack of available talent to fill open vacancies for your organization. Some organizations are looking to implement artificial intelligence (AI) to help alleviate some of the pressure to get things in done in this accelerated time. As we enter this accelerated AI world, especially after the pandemic, there are many considerations around how we show agility in the future of work.

AI is impacting a cross section of job categories and will touch all levels in organizations. It is too early to know the extent of job displacement and other impacts. We can expect new job categories in the future that haven’t been invented yet. If you think about the last 30 years, I will say that technologies have had a major impact; but going forward, the changes will be expedited and much more noticeable. Our digital transformations need to work synergistically with humans to create more meaningful work. It will mean a shift from mundane or highly manual tasks to those that create value for customers in new and exciting ways. It is what we do with these new technologies and data sources that is the most important, especially when we aim to delight customers and stakeholders.

We are experiencing a profound transformation of how, where, and why we work.

As you might be experiencing and feeling, employees are rethinking the future of where and how they work. The relationship with our organizations, managers, and team members are impacting how we feel about our work. Evaluating your “why” and evaluating that against the company’s purpose has made employees rethink where they want to work now that they have many options. Implementation of artificial intelligence requires a major mindset shift for most employees and different skill sets will be demanded, such as soft skills for focusing on the customer experience and nurturing those relationships. Jobs will be more about solving problems and being creative. So the question is, how do we create this new work reality that benefits all key stakeholders?

I think there are opportunities to partner with departments like human resources, training, and organizational development to develop strategies for developing employees, investing in reskilling/upskilling, and preparing them for the skills of the future. In organizations I’ve worked with that have started implementing AI solutions, their biggest lesson learned is that employee transition and reskilling need to happen earlier than you think—and before the actual transition happens. Employees need to be involved in creating this new reality and to understand what makes sense for the machines to do and what roles/tasks will remain with them.

If you are a leader in Human Resources or other functions that support employees, you have an opportunity to be more strategic by moving away from processes and tasks yourselves. Our organizations are going to need HR support now more than ever to help pull through these transformations successfully. HR can help our leaders identify the skills and competencies needed ahead of time. This will allow us to be transparent with our employees and clear about the future needs of the organization. In my book, Top of the Mountain Leadership: The Future or Performance and Productivity in a Technology Changing World, I discuss ways to help our leaders craft the business model of the future to support the organization in this transformational period. I would love to hear from you if you are going through this transition now. If you need help with this transition, contact me for a discovery consultation.

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