As artificial intelligence becomes an ever more integral part of modern business, you and your employees need to get up to speed with new working methods, write Eva Sage-Gavin, Madhu Vazirani and Francis Hintermann for MIT Sloan Management Review.
Using information from a study by Accenture, the global professional services company they work for, the authors noted that, while the majority of workers acknowledge the coming of the AI age and the need to update their skills accordingly, it’s the company leaders who are lagging behind. And while executives expected a negative response about AI from the majority of their employees, 60% of workers surveyed were ready for the challenge.
If you haven’t established a programme to train your human employees for their potential interaction with intelligent machines – and only 3% of those surveyed had – then it’s time to make a plan. But where’s the best place to start?
1) Adopt a stronger-together policy. There’s a lot of fear around employees’ jobs being made obsolete by an AI workforce that automates work previously done by humans. But the authors’ analysis of recent labour research predicts a scenario where humans work alongside AI, making use of their intrinsic qualities of creativity, social and emotional intelligence and complex reasoning.
Their premise is that the best potential value comes from an active partnership between human and machine. Make that your underlying principle.
2) Take stock of tasks and skills. Getting your organisation ready to work well alongside AI means identifying new ways of working. What skills do you have within the workforce? Where will individuals best fit into reimagined roles? What training will they need for new tasks? You may need to shift your focus to employees’ behavioural qualities, such as problem-solving or easy communication.
3) Offer the right training. Learning to work with AI is not only an entirely new concept, most leaders will also be after quick results, say the authors. Their suggested forms of training to accelerate learning include:
- Mindfulness sessions to strengthen performance and improve collaboration, focus and priority setting.
- AI-based online learning that adapts to each employee’s needs and can be done at any convenient time.
- One-to-one learning on the job or via talent exchanges with startups, universities, NGOs and the public sector.
4) Encourage lifelong learning. AI, and humans’ relationship with it will continue to develop, so it’s vital that you and your employees adapt to ongoing change. Demonstrating your commitment to shared values and a successful future is a good foundation to build upon. Give workers the option to keep building their skills in areas where they have passion and purpose, but also to break into new areas of interest that AI opens up for them.
The age of AI has begun. The race is now on to embrace the change and find an adaptable “human plus machine” scenario that works best for your business and your employees.