Between the diversification of workforces with contingent and permanent workers, and the gradual inclusion of automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and technology in the workplace, employers are at a crucial point in history where predictive decisions must be made. While early introductions of automation seemed to indicate that technology would eventually replace employees, there is a growing sentiment that organizations can use technology to optimize or improve employees’ workplace performance.
Finding the best ways to optimize your business for future success means integrating emerging technology and strengthening your workforce in, innovative ways. In the present day, optimizing both your workforce and your use of technology can be a symbiotic process that brings your organization to new heights.
The Growing Presence of AI and Technology in the Workplace
With the growing accessibility of AI, automation, and ‘digital labor’ (i.e., automated technologies) in the workplace, executives and employees are becoming increasingly aware of technology’s seemingly unavoidable benefits. Through automation, organizations are streamlining numerous workplace processes, such as risk mitigation and compliance1, enabling employers to commit more focus to the optimization of other business processes.
The trajectory of AI and machine learning in the workplace is already bringing an exceptional amount of attention to STEM skill sets2. The strengths of big data, analytics, and automation with workflow and tasks have made new STEM opportunities more relevant than ever.
Although the implementation of AI and machine learning by organizations will render certain jobs obsolete, it will also give way to the creation of a multitude of new AI-centric, human-operated roles. While 75 million jobs are predicted to be replaced by the functions of AI by 2022, 133 million new positions are expected to become available3. This significant level of growth is truly only the beginning of the widespread change that automation is bringing about in the workplace, and employers should anticipate these workforce changes by hiring versatile employees.
The Importance of the ‘Human Element’
AI provides a new path to skill and upskill workers rapidly and enables businesses to better allocate and restructure their workforces4. However, organizations will also need skilled employees to maintain, update, and improve technological processes as they begin implementing AI in everyday processes.
The relationship between workers and technology, as it stands, can be mutually beneficial; optimization of employees via technology occurs alongside optimization of technology via workers. For example, one of the most critical roles humans can play alongside AI in a digital workplace is minimizing cognitive bias5. Since AI, algorithms, and data are all created by humans, they are all equally prone to biases. Much like how diverse teams have already been proven to positively impact organizations, hiring diverse teams to program or continuously check AI for biases will become an essential task.
Employers are also becoming more attentive to the importance of hiring employees with soft skills. Deficits in soft skills have been found to impact an organization’s innovation and employee performance negatively6. These types of skills cannot be fostered via technology, so an increasingly digital workplace will highlight the unique purposes that only employees can continue to serve within organizations.
Optimizing the Human/Technology Relationship
The future of the workplace is one of digitization. As AI and automation improve and accelerate the underlying processes of organizations, employees’ roles will become more hyper-focused. Understanding how gradual digitization will upskill employees and optimize business structures is an integral part of anticipating the rapidly changing landscape.
Rather than interpreting new technology as a potential threat to your organization’s workforce, investigate how it can help you restructure your business for even greater success. If you are looking to learn more about the ways you can hire STEM-skilled employees or incorporate AI, machine learning, and automation in your business processes, then go to allstemconnection.com to learn more.