The average American spends 90,000 hours at work throughout their lifetime. So, it’s no surprise that work is an environment prone to evolution as culture shifts and technologies emerge with a goal to create continued opportunities for growth, efficiency and sustainable business models for employees.
Experts across the globe have been attempting to find the secret sauce to the future of work, especially as major changes – including a looming recession and technologies like artificial intelligence – are affecting work as we know it.
UNLEASH America, otherwise known as the International Festival of HR, just celebrated its fifth run in the United States, this year taking place at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas. Led by global digital media and events business UNLEASH, the future of work was a main topic of conversation from keynote speakers, vendors, sponsors, startups and others.
I was lucky enough to attend the event, at which I aimed to absorb as much information as I could to better inform our PR strategies at Bospar and selfishly garner a better understanding about how my work life could change, for better or worse, amid global economic shakeups and an AI arms race.
Marc Coleman, CEO and founder of UNLEASH, provided his take on what to expect in the short term: “Over the next five years, the market economy will undergo a profound transformation as exponential technologies emerge and evolve. The impending changes remain largely unknown to the public, but they will significantly impact various industries, including the field of human resources. Within HR, tasks like recruitment and learning are increasingly becoming obsolete as automation takes over. Moreover, the current learning providers tend to offer similar solutions, further reinforcing the need for innovation and adaptation in the HR landscape.”
I had the honor of hearing from other influential HR personalities, industry stakeholders, workplace experts and business leaders who discussed the hottest trends impacting the workplace right. I heard that:
- Upskilling and reskilling are critical: A direct quote from someone I stood next to in line said: “It all seems to be about skills, doesn’t it?” He’s right. As humans, and our jobs, continue to evolve, it’s imperative to both upskill and reskill to promote professional development and employee engagement. The beauty here is that these processes are a natural part of the continuous learning cycle. As new roles come to the scene (i.e. prompt engineers needed to work with AI tools), mastering new skills helps employees with internal/upward mobility. Providing employees with opportunities to build those skills helps employers with talent retention and business results in the long term.
- AI is friend not foe: A looming recession has many employees wondering how emerging technologies like generative AI could affect their job safety. But what they should really be thinking about is how to use AI to improve how they currently work. No matter the industry or job position, there are certain daily, often mundane, tasks that AI systems could easily support. People who offload such tasks could then spend more of their hours working on creative, deep-thinking endeavors, developing powerful skills and enjoying a more immersive work experience. A new report reveals that a strong majority of PR professionals (61%) currently use AI or are interested in employing it in their workflow.
Andrew Winnemore, general manager of HR services at Microsoft and a roundtable speaker at UNLEASH America, said it best: “The next evolution for generative AI will be about how AI can help you. AI is the opportunity to do what you love, but in a smarter and quicker way with a much broader set of data.”
Needless to say, UNLEASH America is the place for workplace innovators and industry disruptors.
I can’t wait for next year!