In this age of automation, organizations need to adapt to stay competitive. A report from Willis Tower Watson states that employers expect 17 percent of work to be automated by 2020. As technology evolves, your workforce must constantly update its skills and understand how new technology affects the nature of their jobs. But to set up employees to successfully embrace this new age of work, organizations need to future-proof their approach to learning. Rather than defining competencies designed to help their employees be successful today, they should empower their workers to focus on skills that will be critical for success tomorrow.
How can we prepare our employees if we don't know what's coming next? Cornerstone, in partnership with the Institute for the Future, identified five super skills that will help you and your organization meet the demands of the future of work.
Skill 1: Make Yourself KnownIn the future, visibility will become increasingly important—your employees will need to build personal brands to stand out as they look to move up the corporate ladder or make lateral transitions. Effective employees know their strengths and can advocate for themselves. To develop even further, employees must constantly promote their abilities and continuously search for ways to grow.
For example, an employee who is a good writer but lacks skills in data analysis might enroll in a statistics course to pick up the knowledge that they're missing and share what they’ve learned. The result will be two-fold: the employee will gain visibility by showing off their new skills, and the rest of the team will come away having learned something new.
Skill 2: Understand Complex SystemsEverything will be connected in the future. Digital systems, like project management software or learning platforms, will be just as important for productivity as in-person interactions. Employees of the future will need to understand how these systems work to help them do their jobs. Ensure that your workers master the latest tools by offering learning and development programs that educate them about emerging digital tools.
Skill 3: Build Your CommunityWe build communities by connecting with people who share our professional and personal interests. These communities, which are based on shared experiences, are become increasingly important, especially as many of our interactions move online. But we will also have to work harder on these relationships. As more employees work remotely and become dispersed, they will need to work to build relationships and leverage digital tools to help them stay connected and engaged.
Employees must know how to use their relationships to collaborate. Help them develop a strong network that they can rely on and encourage them to keep growing it. Tools like Slack, Airtable, and Webex can help teams connect and maintain professional relationships regardless of members’ locations.
Skill 4: Befriend the MachinesMachines are getting smarter. While some people fear that the rise of automation could take over their jobs, others are using new technology to help them do their jobs better. According to a report from SmartSheet, 40 percent of workers spend at least a quarter of their work week on repetitive tasks, and 70 percent of workers say the biggest opportunity for automation is to reduce time wasted on repetitive work.
The primary use-case for automation is to reduce manual or repetitive tasks so that employees can focus on more meaningful work. While automated tools can crunch numbers, the ability to think about this data strategically requires skills only humans possess. Leveraging automated tools will give employees the freedom to think critically and make insightful decisions.
So how can you empower employees to master the art of human-machine collaboration?
Start by training your staff on how to use data to make decisions and create an adoption plan to help them incorporate artificial intelligence into their work. Educate your employees not only in how to collect data but also how to effectively interpret it.
Skill 5: Build Personal ResilienceThe future of work will depend on more than just technology solutions and artificial intelligence. It will require humans to work together to foster an empathetic and resilient workplace culture where employees are committed to professional growth and exercise a willingness to adapt to change. When it comes to the future of work, change is inevitable. The best thing organizations and their employees can do is remain flexible in the face of adversity and support their peers in the process.
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