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7 Strategies for thriving in an AI-driven workforce

By Academy Xi

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As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to advance at pace, many of us are asking which jobs AI will replace and naturally wonder how it might impact our current or future employment. No need for panic – time to get strategic! We’ve explored seven strategies that can help you to thrive professionally within the AI landscape, from cultivating your tech and problem solving skills to building your network and leveraging your personal brand. Let’s dive in.

#1. Cultivate tech skills and digital literacy

Not surprisingly, there is a growing demand for professionals who are capable of harnessing the power of AI technologies in their respective fields and this demand will only continue to increase, across all industries.

Developing your overall digital literacy is the best starting point. Begin by familiarising yourself with AI concepts and explore which AI driven tools are already being used in your organisation, or consider doing some research into AI tools and tech being implemented successfully in other companies in your industry, which you think could be of benefit to your organisation. Don’t wait to be asked to investigate – take the initiative. 

Avenues to explore for your learning could include online training courses, online and in person workshops and conferences and getting involved with any working groups within your own company. Perhaps you could create an internal group chat on your company intranet where you share AI tech findings and outcomes that could benefit the wider team.

Specific tech skills and knowledge that can give you an edge in the current employment market include data analysis, machine learning, programming languages such as Python and general proficiency in working with big data. 

If you’re looking to retrain or upskill, be mindful of which AI tools and tech are relevant to what you’re planning to train in and ensure these skills are included within the curriculum, or know where you can access these resources. By being curious and proactive, you will be empowering yourself both professionally and personally and be an asset to the organisations you work for or hope to be hired by in the future.

#2. Embrace lifelong learning

Ongoing professional development has become more crucial than ever as many jobs evolve with the increase of AI technologies. If you want to remain competitive within your industry and advance your career, embracing a mindset of continuous learning is important. 

Explore the learning and development options available through your workplace and consider researching the training options that interest you and hold relevance to your role or wider team to keep you up to date with emerging technology and industry trends. Take your findings to your manager or learning and development team if you have one in house, to see if there’s an appetite for them to invest in the training for you individually, or the overall organisation. 

Introductory sessions to different topics can be a helpful way to explore what is on offer and can assist you in deciding which areas to continue exploring with more in depth training. 

By demonstrating your willingness to learn and adapt, you are showing your employer that you’re proactive and seeking solutions to existing or potential future problems the business might face. This could potentially bring new opportunities for you professionally, within your current employment, or future organisations. 

#3. Develop strong critical thinking and problem solving skills

While AI has undoubtedly made amazing advancements in recent years, don’t underestimate our very own powerful human qualities such as critical thinking, creativity and complex problem solving skills. Focusing on developing these natural cognitive abilities can assist us in working more effectively with AI technology, using both to complement and enhance the other.

Critical thinking can be enhanced by taking the time to evaluate evidence and consider different perspectives with challenges and tasks within the workplace, instead of jumping on the first solution that is presented. Creativity also comes into this equation and can be cultivated through experimentation with new ideas and looking to new sources for inspiration, such as nature, design, or other unrelated industries. 

Complex problem solving skills can be developed by collaborating with different teams , exploring other views and breaking down larger challenges into smaller tasks. Bringing together different teams to address challenges can offer a range of insights that otherwise might not be considered and result in innovative outcomes. 

#4. Nurture emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills

Strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence cannot be replaced by AI. The ability to understand and manage our own emotions, while empathising with others holds the possibility of creating a trusting environment with colleagues and clients for open communication. 

One of the best ways we can improve our emotional intelligence is by becoming more self-aware and recognising our own emotions and how they impact our behaviour. Learning how to listen actively is another crucial skill and can be beneficial for individuals to learn  across all levels of an organisation. Active listening is the foundation to developing effective communication skills, which are vital in fostering a positive workplace environment and will strengthen relationships with any external stakeholders, such as clients. 

Encouraging honest feedback and promoting inclusivity are also key approaches to building the emotional intelligence within a team, but must be done with a genuine desire to nurture team connection, not just as a tokenistic gesture or to ‘tick a box’.

Ultimately, our ability to connect with others on an emotional level is what sets us apart from AI technology and enables us to create lasting relationships and support individuals to confidently share their skills and abilities, which can lead to stronger connections and professional success. 

#5. Get adaptable and agile

Being adaptable and agile are non-negotiable if you truly want to thrive in an AI-driven workforce. The first step is to cultivate a growth mindset. What exactly does that mean?

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Stanford Professor Carol Dweck, from her book ‘Mindset’, 2015)

Embracing change, learning new technology and facing new challenges head on will absolutely set you apart from the pack. While ‘agile’ is bandied around a lot, how exactly can you be more agile at work? Some examples include being a truly active listener and not just waiting for your chance to jump in and share your views, being an effective collaborator with colleagues, demonstrating resilience by coming to the table with potential solutions rather than obstacles to problems.

The biggest benefits of being adaptable and agile is that you’ll be viewed as a valued employee and someone who is not afraid to evolve. When you are continually upgrading your skills and being open to the new, you are fortifying your resilience and boosting your ability to navigate uncertainty with confidence. It can also be contagious and encourage others around you to do the same. It will soon become clear to management in your organisation that you are an asset. 

#6. Flex your networking and relationship building muscles 

Professional networking can be a game changer, opening doors that you might not have even been aware existed. And it doesn’t need to be in person either. Exploring AI and tech industry specific groups, online forums and virtual conferences will expose you to new ideas, people in your industry at the forefront of integrating AI tools and tech and provide opportunities to engage in conversations. 

There will be opportunities where you can leverage your network to gain insights into the latest developments, find ways to collaborate on projects and exchange ideas or get your foot in the door for a new gig.

It’s important to remember that building professional relationships, like any other kind of relationship, takes time. But it is worth it in the long run. Also vital to keep in mind that it isn’t all a one way street. Be willing to share your knowledge, support others and add value where you can.

Keep an open, curious mind – you might be surprised at which connections could propel your career forward.

#7. Leverage your personal branding 

Showcasing your experience, skills and expertise in a way that differentiates you from your competition is crucial, particularly with automation on the rise. What makes you and your abilities memorable? Look at your strengths professionally and personally and consider your achievements. What have current and previous colleagues, mentors and clients had to say about your professional performance, worth ethic and attitude? 

All of these details can be used to craft your professional story, which is a big part of your personal brand, and brings the human element to the forefront. This is the edge you have over AI – and by combining the two you will be showing you are embracing the new, in addition to your existing personal, human strengths. 

Once you have a clear story established, you can actively share it across social media channels and your website, showcasing your work and views, which can demonstrate your ability to adapt to new tech with enthusiasm, show your commitment and resilience and build your professional credibility.

Proactively building and promoting your personal brand doesn’t have to be a cringe-worthy experience. The more you make it authentically you, the higher the chances are that you will differentiate yourself from the crowd and attract career opportunities that truly resonate.

The wrap up 

While it can be intimidating to see the rise of AI across all industries, the key is to embrace the change and discover ways to leverage it to your advantage. There’s a great amount of potential for both personal and professional growth in an AI-driven workforce. By incorporating some or all of these strategies, you will increase your chances of thriving in your current and future employment – the key is to stay curious and seek out opportunities for professional development. Remain open to the possibilities of AI tools and technology within your industry by jumping in, learning how they work and how you can apply them actively to your tasks.  

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