Why Humans Are Central to the Future of Work

According to the 2019 International Employee Survey Report, humans — not robots — are central to the future of work. Despite the talks around artificial intelligence (AI) and robots replacing humans at workplaces, companies are exploring opportunities to make the most of the untapped creativity of humans to inculcate emotional intelligence and humanity at work.

However, for humans to prosper, organizations need to focus on initiatives and programs that enhance appreciation, autonomy, equity, gratitude, motivation, and trust.

This report by the World Bank talks about the changing nature of work and the need for investing in human capital. The world is going through rapid changes that are being controlled by advances in technology and changing social attitudes. As AI and robotics are encroaching spaces preserved for humans, people have only one question: where will humans fit in the future of work?

An Overview of the Job-Seekers’ Market

According to a survey conducted on 3,500 respondents, 21% of respondents said they’re currently looking for a job. And, this number does not include people who might entertain random calls from recruiters or find jobs online. Employee flight risk is on the rise, with 1-in-4 workers in Canada, Ireland, UK, and the U.S. hunting for jobs.

Here’s a list of industries with the maximum flight risk:

  • Information Technology – 34%
  • Biotech – 28%
  • Consumer goods and services – 28%
  • Technology – 28%
  • Telecommunications – 28%
  • Industrial – 25%
  • Manufacturing – 19%

How the Future of Work is Likely to Change

Irrespective of the industry, businesses need to identify methods to train employees to help them reconfigure their jobs in a way that they accept and understand the areas where machines can help as well as the areas where human intervention is a must.

There will always be some human skills that no machine or robot can replicate, such as creativity, complex collaboration, and empathy. When you think about great customer service, you can’t envision getting it from a robot.

The Socioeconomic Viewpoint

While it’s true that the rate of change is faster than ever before, we’ve seen similar situations in the past, especially in the case of industrial and manufacturing jobs.

Studies suggest that up to 50% of the jobs today will vanish in the next 50 years. Nevertheless, rewind 50 years and 50% of the jobs available then are gone. And, we remain here with full employment.

The type of changes we’ll see in the future will be very similar to the changes we continue to make while automating our work even today. AI is merely a new technology wave. Additionally, as more and more automation comes into the workplace, jobs that support that automation – e.g., operating, repairing, designing, and programming – will be in high demand.

The Psychological Viewpoint

In recent years there has been a shift in how organizations view their work environment. Now employers worry less about constraints and focus more on performance and quality. They think of work as an activity, not just a place, and tradition has been set aside to create a more flexible – agile – working environment. The benefits range from increased productivity and reduced costs to better working relationships both internally and with clients.

An important component of the agile approach is employees’ ability to be emotionally agile. Emotional agility means being in the moment, able to respond to your environment and the tasks at hand, while also being aware of your thoughts, emotions, behavior, and actions. To be emotionally agile means you can handle unpredictable situations and adapt to change.

Companies must monitor and be sensitive to their employees’ feelings, not ignore them. If a person’s emotions are not properly addressed, it can lead to disaster. Ultimately, emotional agility can foster innovation, positivity, and out-of-the-box thinking. By helping your team manage their thoughts and emotions, you can put everyone — and the company as a whole — in a more positive position.

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