For many years, something called “quality of worklife” was front and center for many enterprises, especially leaders in the HR sector. The reasoning was that a high-quality worklife (with lots of flexibility and sense of ownership) leads to corporate growth.
Lately, the topic has begun to gain more attention, especially as automaton and artificial intelligence has taken root, threatening to mechanize many tasks and upend jobs. Researchers at Stanford and Arizona State Universities, for one, have been able to back up the assertion that worklife quality equals growth. “Cities with greater increases in AI-related job postings exhibited greater economic growth.” “The research shows that shows “AI-related job growth – mediated by economic growth – was positively associated with improved state of being, especially for physical, social, and financial components.”
In addition, AI can play a key role in training workers for the jobs of the future, as outlined by Mark Caine and Kay Firth-Butterfield in a recent report from the World Economic Forum. “The rise of AI in the workplace has the potential to improve some aspects of work – such as repetitive and dangerous tasks,” they state. While the impacts on job losses are well known, “less discussed – but equally important – is how AI can also be part of the solution to train, upskill, and reskill employees, future-proofing and preparing them for the future of work.”
The WEF’s Future of Jobs Report estimates that AI may generate 97 million jobs globally over the next five years. “Instead of worrying about job displacement, we should get to work creating the new, high-quality jobs of tomorrow while massively expanding our upskilling and reskilling efforts to transition displaced workers into these new opportunities,” Caine and Firth-Butterfield urge. “This is where AI can help solve some of the very problems it helped create.” They provide the following perspectives:
Invest in reskilling and upskilling: Consider reskilling and upskilling workers “using AI algorithms to create personalized training programs that build on workers’ existing skillsets to prepare them for future opportunities that leverage technology.”
Embed learning into everyday activities: Focus on “embedding learning into everyday work activities so that workers are continuously growing their skillsets and expanding their capacity to fulfil future workforce needs.”
Match workers to new opportunities: Employ “AI-driven platforms that connect workers to new opportunities within and outside their current organizations, based on their individual skillsets, career goals, and retraining needs.”
Prepare the next generation of workers: “Recent years have seen an explosion in AI-powered education technology (EdTech) tools to improve learning outcomes at the K-12 level, primarily in the developed world but increasingly among less privileged populations.”