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Beating Artificial Intelligence: Three Things We Can Do To Thrive In A Digital Age


If you’re like me and have opened any major newspaper or media outlet app, you’ve seen that automation is the topic of the year, and the uncertainty of jobs seems to be increasing with every post or article we see. And hey, rightfully so, in the next fifteen years, up to 40% of jobs may be able to be done by a robot. So with almost one in two chance of a mandatory career change by 2030, we had better start preparing for a future that is going to hit us faster than we could possibly imagine. Here are a few things we can do today to be ready for a fast-approaching tomorrow.

Take time to understand and filter ‘noise’

Today, whether we like it or not, we typically see about 5,000 advertisements in a day, a astonishing 150% more than 30 years ago. That number isn’t slowing. In a world filled with ‘fake news’ and more content than we’ve ever seen before, considering what information is truly valuable, accurate, and relevant is becoming increasingly difficult. Moreso, when we’re looking for job, a trip, or a relationship, and are trying to better understand the landscape of various job opportunities out there, it is important to know that the headlines can be misleading, context might be missing, and alignment may be off all together.

Develop stronger people skills

Since many of us are born pre ‘iPad parenting’, we grew up fighting with our siblings, bickering in the back seat of cars, and learning without interactive screens in front of us. Believe it or not, we’re at a huge advantage over kids that simply don’t have the social skills and the ability to make friends like we did. With that said though, and automation on the horizon (or already here), social skills and the ability to build a network is imperative. When Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert’s 15-year-old son asked if a robot would take his job, she replied with 'Don't worry — I've never met a machine with courage and empathy’. Take the time to network, build strong relationships, and don’t forget to actually care along the way.

Diversify your skill set

Right now there are just over 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States alone. With automation hitting the roads soon, many of these jobs are at risk of being lost in just a few years. Starting now and acquiring a new skill set is key for being prepared. If you’re looking for a place to start, consider the products and services people will want/need more of when automation hits like at a southeastern tornado. Looking at careers in health/dental care, physical and mental well-being, computers and tech, or community and people development.

Before we panic about the future of work (or lack of it), consider the following: everything automation and artificial intelligence related is designed to make our lives easier, and give us time back. Work as we know it today can be a bottomless pit that never gets filled. We can work from more places, more times of the day, and using more technology than ever before. Is this sustainable? Probably not.

Also consider than if and when the job we have today has a component of automation, we’ll be able to focus more on people, problem solving, and strategy, and less on some of the administrative and perhaps menial tasks that take more time than we’d like.

The future is bright, and if we can diversify our skill sets, ensure we can build strong and lasting relationship, and filter the increasingly noisy world we’re living in, there is no doubt we can all set ourselves up for success.

How We Can Shape The Future Of Work

Often when we think about the future of work, we think 3D printing, remote and flexible workplaces, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the thought that we may be eventually evolved out of our jobs. After all, 50% of jobs as we know them will disappear in the not-so-distant future.

Don’t believe me? Take a look here.

While automation and AI are real, what we’re not considering is the human element of work, and how necessary a sense of connection and belonging are.

The problem is that we don’t talk about these differentiators enough.

  • The job description isn’t a job description; it is a skills and requirements checklist.
  • We advertise perks, not the unique work experience and culture
  • Our teams aren’t involved in the hiring process enough (they’ll likely be spending more time with a new hire than their families – they had better get along!)
  • We’re reacting to culture instead of being intentional and proactive
  • Our stated (Mission, Vision, and Values) experience doesn’t match the realized experience of our employees

So let me put forward this as something to consider: maybe the future of work isn’t just about technology, it is about how we talk about work and integrate our people.

See, we like to think that the Future of work is something that is just happening whether we like it or not. And in some cases (usually tech related), that may be the case though.

Consider though, that the way we attract and retain our talent, that the stories we tell, and the organizations we create and thrive in are on our own terms, using our own rules. It isn’t about comparing apples to oranges – credit unions to big banks or small accounting or consulting firms to the big four, it is about being true to the experience we want to build, and doing that on our own terms.

So often I hear that companies are trying to attract Millennials, or females, or more people of colour, without understanding who these people are, what they value, or if there is any alignment with the company at all. The Future of Work isn’t about demographics, it is about alignment, fit, belonging- the things we only talk about now and don’t act on near enough.

I invite you to be different. I invite you to challenge the status quo and shake things up a bit. I invite you to be transparent and not just talk about it.

Where to start?

Well,

  • Use video in your application process to better articulate the role and work experience
  • Be transparent with the good, bad, and ugly about the company’s culture
  • Use an existing employee as an example of what the position would look like
  • Have team members the new hire will be working with involved in the interview process
  • Assign a small project to prove interest and capabilities
  • Implement a Design Thinking session to ‘hack’ company best practices
  • Create a ‘day in the life’ overview for the candidate. Talk about inside and outside of work
  • Talk about frequency of feedback, reporting, team dynamic, office layout, overtime expectations, remote and flex working options
  • Do a culture tour early in the process – let them see the office, meet some people and witness the way they work
  • Be transparent about salary, work location and office hours (remote and flexible options) at the beginning of the recruiting process
If we can collectively articulate an describe our organizations as truthfully and openly as possible, then it is true that the future of our workplaces are what we make of them, and we can do better than attracting people; we’ll attract the right people.

Loneliness, The Honeymoon Phase Of Technology, And A Commitment From Me To You. Join Me?

lonely woman sitting on a beach

Recently, a Harvard Business Review article talked at length about the loneliness epidemic at work. This unfortunate reality found that nearly 50% of employees reported being lonely, and shortened our lives by the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Unfortunate would certainly be an understatement.

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