In the age of AI, learning and development will protect the workforce

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to transform our lives from the way we work to the way we live. It has already found its way into many domains and will continue to permeate every aspect of life, society, and work. Microsoft believes every business will rely on AI in five years.

If you ask employees, however, they are concerned about job security.

In a recent Docebo report, three in five people expressed concerns that AI technology will impact how they perform their job or daily tasks in the future. Another fifth of respondents believed AI could replace them or reduce their hours and pay.

As artificial intelligence continues to disrupt the employment landscape, businesses must take note. Implementing sufficient learning and development strategies will help safeguard the future of our workforce.

People will always be your greatest asset

You can never overstate the importance of the human element. Structures change, and technologies develop. But an engaged workforce helps build businesses for the future, even if they do not feel comfortable around the technology needed to perform their job.

Skills in many sectors will indeed become obsolete more quickly with automation and the accelerating pace of AI driven-change. For example, PwC reported 30 percent of finance and insurance jobs in developed economies are at risk of automation by 2029.

Businesses thrive on a sense of belonging, but many sectors anticipate market turbulence with the introduction of new technology. AI has undoubtedly created a lot of fear, but it really shouldn’t if approached correctly. A business’s default response is to let talent leave and hire new people who already have all the right skills. In reality, this is costly and very hard in a competitive labor market.

What’s more, dispensing with employees the moment they’re not a perfect fit means there is a revolving door. Such a strategy means you can never build a long term culture or sense of belonging. Businesses always need people, but they also need a mindset shift to recognize that human beings are wonderfully adaptable.

Have the right learning infrastructure in place

Of course, mass retraining, especially for complex roles, is no mean feat. But a combination of the right technology and collaboration can make this achievable. You may have one person in the business who already has the skills and knowledge. You can’t clone them, but you can adopt a “social or just in time learning” approach. You can ask them to share their wisdom with their colleagues on a specific learning platform. This is in contrast to the general plan of going on a two-day training course or a multi-hour eLearning training.

This approach to learning not only helps spread knowledge around a business, but it empowers employees at all levels. They will be able to learn new skills, complete more projects, feel like they belong to the company, and want to stay for a long time.

Harness the technology in the right way

Another challenge for future-proofing a business against technology disruptions is that understanding the complex skills needs of your business today, let alone in a year, is becoming much harder. Many large businesses are employing AI to take stock of the skills they need, to identify employees who could benefit and excel at learning these skills, and to encourage them to take courses to fill their skills gap. It’s poetic justice in a way: AI threatens jobs, but it will also be crucial to keeping the workforce employable.

AI is also helping redefine human roles in the workplace. AI and robots will automate a lot of repetitive manual tasks in manufacturing, logistics and construction to name a few, but humans will always have a place to work where creativity and detailed thinking is required. It’s vitally important businesses now take action, identify where technology could impact their workforce, and implement sufficient training to ensure their staff is fully prepared for future technological transformations.

The changing job cycle

Not all the headlines spell doom and gloom for the human workforce. The Harnessing the Power of AI report predicts AI will create 133 million jobs globally. The report cites professional services and information security as two sectors that will look to human intervention, but this points to a more significant challenge.

Lifestyles and cultures have changed, and we can no longer expect to survive in one job or one sector in our careers. In a competitive labor market, we need the right infrastructure to learn and develop new skills. Having the right platforms in a business will help upskill staff and prepare workers for the changing nature of the job cycle.

With the right culture, technology, and approach, businesses can safeguard their employees for the future. At the same time, they will drive efficiency and ultimately profit from new technological trends such as AI and automation. The future should not scare us—we should harness technology to make the future bright.

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