Artificial intelligence. For some it still strikes I, Robot fear that the world will be taken over by technology, for others it is an exciting time of innovation and possibility. Whichever camp you fall into, it is not going away, it is very much a part of the workplace’s evolution, so the best option is to embrace it.
Think of it as a natural progression
At the start of any advancement there is scepticism, with email, mobile phones and home assistants like Amazon Alexa. Now, they are a part of all that we do. Due to the very nature of our business, we are constantly innovating in how we can respond to business and client needs and we have identified artificial intelligence as a key influencer in how we will communicate in the future. That doesn’t mean it will replace our people.
Develop the human potential
Whilst huge advancements are being made in the field, they cannot replace your people. Just think about all the thought leadership pieces you read on a daily basis. In nearly all their guises, they are championing the softer skills for leaders and for nurturing in teams.
Empathy, compassion, trust and empowerment are the business-critical skills for the future, so invest in your people. I’ve said it many times; great people do great things but they require the right culture in which to achieve this. Promote clarity and transparency and it removes barriers to creative problem-solving. Empower teams to make mistakes and put aside anything that would hold them back. Give your teams confidence in failure and learning from it. Make them feel safe and give them the space to dream big. And make work a place that they actually want to be. Lead with authenticity and passion and practice what you preach.
Inspire & Involve
Embracing technology doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t remain at the heart of everything you do. Artificial intelligence often gets a bad reputation, with people thinking that it is about replacing people and taking away jobs. It is actually about creating intelligent machines to enhance your people.
A culture with compassionate leadership at its core will inspire employees. A leader who clearly and authentically communicates what their vision for the future of the business holds and how they are going to achieve it, will instil confidence. Change is an inevitable entity, but it is one thing that we can be sure of. This confidence and clarity in the vision of the business will lead employees to see the change as positive and be optimistic about the part that they can play in it.
Once inspired by the vision, involve employees in the strategy. Listen and hear what they have to say. Engaging with employees, giving them ownership and responsibility will only strengthen your culture and loyalty, not to mention motivation. And obtaining input from a complete cross-section of the business, not just the management team, will only strengthen that collaboration and creative thinking as to the potential of artificial intelligence on your business. Allow your great people a chance to prove how great they are.
Get ready to give your people superpowers
It is only natural that people will want to understand what exactly any new technology or embracing artificial intelligence actually means to them and their role specifically. What does it mean for their career progression? Or personal development? Help them to understand it and ensure that they have what they need to achieve it.
Make sure you don’t forget the technical skills too, equipping your people with the necessary experience and expertise to be able to embrace the technologies that will be introduced. Set them up to succeed. And invest in the technology.
Technology has been our saviour this past year, allowing us to stay connected, engaged and productive. Think of the possibilities, then, of when we proactively investigate the potential rather than accepting it because a crisis meant that we had to. What if you could implement a whole chain reaction of invisible technology that enables your people to be able to deliver an exceptional service to your client? Making them appear superpowered, telepathic even? Your clients don’t want to know all the backend work that makes things possible, they simply appreciate the results. Your people, assisted by the latest technology could be the secret to your business success.
A company culture which has people and technology at it’s centre will be vital for success in the future. Artificial intelligence is not about replacing humanity, it is about helping us to make better decisions and better-supported decisions so that we can be agile and swiftly adapt as business landscapes change. If you fill your company with engaged and empowered teams then you will have the ability to embrace the artificial in order to focus on the human, with superior results.