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The future of work: Building transferrable skills in the age of AI

OPINION: With artificial intelligence (AI) technology advancing at a quicker rate than many expected, Frances Bearne, internationally certified leadership and team coach and founder of Human Focus Consulting, shares her top tips for building transferable skills for the workplace.

The advancement of AI is transforming the workplace at a rapid pace, as well as the way we work. As AI-powered tools and technologies become more sophisticated, they are automating many tasks that were once carried out by humans. This is causing a shift in the skills that are in demand, with a greater focus on transferable skills that can be applied across different roles and industries. Those that require a human touch and can’t be delivered by AI, are especially in-demand.

The Human Touch

So, what are the transferable skills that you should be focusing on to future-proof your career?

Problem-solving: The ability to identify and solve problems is essential in any job. AI can help with some of the more routine problem-solving tasks, but it will still require human input to tackle the more complex problems.

Critical thinking: AI can help us to gather and analyse data, but it is still up to humans to interpret the results and make informed decisions. Critical thinking skills are essential for making sound decisions in the workplace.

Communication: AI can help us to communicate with each other more efficiently, but it cannot replace the human touch. Strong communication skills are essential for building relationships, collaborating with others, building trust and rapport with teams, peers, clients and stakeholders as well as delivering presentations, to name just a few.

Creativity: AI can help us to generate new ideas, but it cannot replace the human spark of creativity. Creativity is essential to coming up with new solutions to problems and for developing innovative products and services.

Adaptability: The pace of change in the workplace is only going to accelerate, so it is important to be adaptable and willing to learn new things. AI can help us to stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies, but it is still up to humans to adapt to change and embrace new ways of working.

Leadership. Even as AI automates many tasks in the workplace, it will never be able to replace the human touch when it comes to leadership. Great leadership is essential for building trust, engagement and positive and inclusive cultures, motivating teams, resolving conflicts and building teamwork.

Read more: Are we ready for an artificially informed future?

These are just a few of the transferable skills that you should be focusing on to future-proof your career. By developing these skills, you will be able to add value wherever you work, regardless of the technological advances that are taking place.

How to Develop Transferrable Skills

There are many ways to develop transferable skills Here are a few key starting points to help jump start your development.

Take on new challenges: One of the best ways to develop new skills is to take on new challenges. This could involve volunteering for a new project at work, taking on a leadership role, or learning a new skill outside of work.

Frances Bearne.

Get feedback: Feedback is essential for learning and developing skills. Ask your colleagues, manager, coach or mentors for feedback on your work and how you can improve your skills.

Network: Networking is a great way to learn about new opportunities and to connect with people who can help you develop your skills. Attend industry events, join online forums, or connect with people on LinkedIn.

Invest in yourself: There are many resources available to help you develop your skills. You can take online courses, attend workshops, or read books and articles. With the rise of AI in the workplace, Human Focus Consulting has developed a leadership series focused on building essential leadership and communication skills that AI can’t replace – such as building trust with our teams, peers and clients. It teaches effective listening and questioning to help build understanding and to get to the root of problems. Finally, it teaches you how to provide feedback in a way that is helpful and motivating, as well as essential coaching skills to further motivate and develop others to reach their full potential.

Get a coach: If you are interested in developing your transferable skills, I encourage you to consider one-on-one coaching. It can be a valuable way to get the support and guidance you need to achieve your goals, identify your strengths and gap areas, and to develop a personalised action plan for skill development in line with your professional and life goals. A great coach can help you to track your progress, and provide you with feedback, accountability and a different perspective, while helping you to stay motivated as you overcome challenges.

The Future of Work is Bright

Although, the advancement of AI is creating new challenges for the workplace, it is also creating new opportunities. By developing transferable skills, you can future proof your career and thrive in the age of AI.

Frances Bearne is the Founder and Director of Human Focus Consulting and an International Certified Coach. She created Human Focus because she’s passionate about helping corporates and SMEs to cut through traditional HR bureaucracy that slows down business growth. She applies a fresh and human approach towards people and culture management. As an experienced people and culture consultant and executive and team coach, Frances thrives on creating value for businesses and people through a transparent, honest, and values-led approach. She has multi-industry experience in finance, research and development, I.T., engineering, freight and logistics, government and construction.

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