Upskilling people will help provide a more personalized service to improve sales and customer retention, while AI is best suited to do the grunt work.

Must read: Dealing with Cybersecurity Fatigue?

AI is increasingly encroaching into knowledge worker roles. China is leading the automation curve and is already witnessing the impact on the workforce. A Boston Consulting Group research has predicted that 2.28 million jobs in China’s banking and insurance sectors would be affected by this change, by 2027, particularly those including mechanical and repetitious operations. Top firms like Foxconn plan to automate 30% of their production by 2020. The company has reportedly cut over 400,000 jobs by developing over ten thousands of robots between 2012 and 2016. The current transformation, operating across multiple business sectors, is pressing the need to upskill and reskill knowledge workers. Skillset requirements are changing throughout this transformation journey.

A survey by IBM found that 120 million workers need to be reskilled during the next three years due to the profound impact of AI on jobs. According to its report, executives point to behavioral skills as something critical for members of the workforce. At the same time, some job roles will become redundant while there will always be skill shortages in other job roles. However, a similar shift in perspective reveals that boosting the emotional intelligence of employees in positions that are seeing partial automation, such as sales executives, could possibly transform their roles – adding more value and productivity.

Also read: Almost Half of U.S. Employers Plan to Increase Training Budgets Due to Artificial Intelligence

Firms are concentrating on developing skills in the workforce that cannot be automated, so boosting the emotional quotient of the workforce should be a priority. Emotional intelligence includes three skills: a) emotional awareness (the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions, b) the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like critical thinking and creative problem-solving, and, c)  the ability to manage emotions – both individual emotions and the emotions of others communicate with.

Emotional intelligence plays a vital role in how humans communicate and interact with one another while also helping guide the decision-making process. The human ability to manage and utilize emotion is a crucial ingredient for effective communication, creative and critical thinking, for smooth problem-solving. It can guide the process of adaptive learning.

There are few actions firms can take to prepare for the upcoming wave of automation on their workforce:

  • Get comfortable with intelligent technology as it is essential to have a clear understanding of the development of technology and its likely impact on the workforce and keep that understanding up-to-date.
  • Tap into AI to boost HR and to learn with intelligent software to help improve recruitment, assessment, skills gap analysis, performance development, and learning content development and delivery. AI can help speed the process of reskilling the workforce to get the most out of technological change.

Embrace change enthusiastically is essential to match up with the inexorable pace at which industries are marching towards intelligent technology. Banish fear, doubt, and focus on reskilling employees to maximize new technology that can help drive business productivity and employee engagement.

Must read: Women Workers Will Be Most Hit Once AI Becomes the Norm