Your workforce should be re-skilled, not replaced

man-studying-at-work

Intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and neural networks already are a part of many enterprises and are expected to radically transform the workplace.

But a survey of enterprise leaders at MIT Technology Review‘s recent EmTech Next conference shows that more than half of organizations aren’t adequately prepared for a future in which machines work alongside humans. Forty-two percent of respondents said their enterprises have conducted limited preparation for the future of work, with nearly 9% saying their organizations are completely unprepared. Roughly 46% said their enterprises were prepared (21%), well-prepared (22%), or very well-prepared (3%).

What accounts for the high percentage of organizations that are poorly prepared or totally unprepared for finding the right balance of smart technology and human skills? It’s probably a combination of short-sighted management, budget constraints that limit new initiatives, and a belief that changes in their specific industry will be minor and manageable.

Oh well, someone has to occupy the back end of the Bell Curve! Yet what if an enterprise wants to up its game? What should it do? Asked what the one thing their organizations should focus on today to “meet the challenges of the future of work,” 43% of survey respondents chose up-skilling or re-skilling the capabilities of their workforce.

This is good news for employees, as well as the organizations willing to make (and benefit from) this investment in their workforce.

Lagging far back were “building technological fluency within your workforce to adapt to the changes in AI and robotics” (21%), building an augmented workforce where humans and machines work together (15%), adapting to different talent models such as gig workers and crowd-sourcing (11%), and impending talent shortage and consequences on your workforce (10%).

Even these, though, indicate that enterprise thought leaders understand the crucial role employees have in leveraging technology to meet the strategic goals of the organization. For employees with a willingness to be adaptable and trainable, this means opportunities.

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