Nov 13, 2020

Is there a skills gap for effective Human/AI collaboration?

human capital
Georgia Wilson
2 min
Humans and AI
Business Chief takes a look at Accenture “Missing middle skills for Human-AI collaboration” report...

With companies rapidly adopting artificial intelligence (AI) technology - something which has only been accelerated with the impact of COVID-19 - Accenture reports that while some roles will be done exclusively by either humans or AI, most emerging roles will be conducted by a collaborative effort from humans and machines. This future of working together in a dynamic space is referred to as ‘the missing middle’ by Accenture.

Such roles will require people to apply a higher level of human skills, with Accenture’s analysis indicating that more than half of jobs in the US need more high-level creativity, and 47% requiring more complex reasoning and 36% needing more socio-emotional skills.

Following its undertaking of extensive analysis on how to enhance human capital, Accenture identifies core, high-level intelligences that will be important for increasing human/machine collaboration.

Three dimensions of skills development

Within its report Accenture proposes that workers and employers work together in three ways to accelerate the learning and application of essential human skills to enable human and AI collaboration.


Mutual Readiness

Where both parties realise common aspirations for the new workplace environment. This can be broken down into three stages:

  • Preparing for change by implementing a long‐term strategy and clearly communicating to employees 
  • Reimagining work by assessing tasks needed, mapping internal capabilities, then developing new skills needed to bridge the gaps
  • Using AI to tap into potential, AI algorithms can identify hidden talents and transferable skills

Accelerated Ability

Ensure that workers are provided with up to date resources to enhance their skills.

  • Utilising scientific methods to improve the effectiveness of learning, especially for experienced workers
  • Harness smart technologies such as VR to improve the levels of immersion, enable people to experience real situations, and reduce the cost of training 
  • Learn from each other by encouraging employees to develop new skills via peer-to-peer learning

Shared Value

Develop a culture that values education and lifelong learning.

  • Recognise individual needs by giving people time to adapt and prepare for new forms of work
  • Co-fund learning to enable people to pursue their choice of skills development 
  • Drive lifelong learning by tracking performance outcomes and engagement, as well as combining skills training with support 

For more information on business topics in the United States and Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief North America.

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Image source: Accenture

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Jun 20, 2021

5 Ways Leaders Can Create a Healthy Workplace Culture

5 min
As the world embraces Men’s Health Week, five experts advise how leaders can create a healthy workplace culture for employees

This week (14th-20th June 2021) is Men’s Health Week. Physical and mental well-being have been important considerations for leaders over the past year, and it is essential this focus is maintained as we build back for the future. Here we have asked 5 experts for practical tips leaders can implement to create healthy workplace cultures.


Know the early signs of burnout 

Recently it was reported by the BBC that burnout for health and social care staff had reached emergency levels. 

Monkey Puzzle Training Co-Founder Karen Meager has studied the burnout recovery process in partnership with Coventry University: “The past year has seen people suffer from job-loss worries, work from home challenges, isolation, and feeling overworked. These are continuing, and all have the potential to contribute towards burnout. Healthcare workers, executives, leaders, managers and small business owners will continue to be the top people to suffer from extreme burnout.”

“At the onset of burnout, people commonly enter a phase of denial. So leaders need to be aware of those who are reluctant to take their time off, are compelled to work all hours, or have changes in their behaviour or mood, as these can all be indications of burnout taking hold. Encouraging them to take a burnout self-test provides a starting point to supporting these employees through recovery, as is role modelling healthy sustainable ways of working.Karen suggests.


Encourage professional self-reflection 

Creating an environment that encourages self-reflection is an effective tool for promoting personal development. Journaling may not be something you instantly think of for professional development; however, it is a successful technique for adults to aid mindfulness and productivity. “Journaling is a form of self-expression that can empower you to understand your feelings and ambitions and how to deal with them, therefore promoting positive well-being and a healthy workplace culture,” describes Elisa Nardi, founder of Notebook Mentor


Just 15-20 minutes of journaling a day over the course of four months are enough to lessen the impact of physical stressors on your health,” explains Elisa. “It can also inspire creativity, aid your memory, and help set actionable goals. It is an underused tool that can help employees manage tricky workplace situations such as conflict, illness or new leadership roles.


Manage your stress and resilience too

As a leader or manager, often, your complete focus is on the business or protecting your team, but you cannot pour from an empty cup. Leaders should also have strategies in place to manage their own stress, so they can sustain high levels of positive energy throughout the day. “Fueled by a burning desire for success, I ignored all the warning signs of exhaustion, which eventually took its toll on me - I literally collapsed from stress, and I didn’t even see it coming.” reflects Sascha Heinemann, an expert in Performance Recovery and Stress Resilience.


“When leaders manage their energy, create healthy daily habits, and practice resilience, they are able to perform to their fullest capacity and to provide the best possible support for others.” 


“Taking a break every 90 minutes or so helps you to refuel, recharge, and re-energize and ultimately allows you to get more accomplished, in less time, at a higher level of quality, and more sustainably. This role model contributes dramatically to a healthier, more engaged, sustainable, and productive workplace culture," he adds.


Instil a sense of purpose for your team

The idea that success equals working 12-15 hour days and giving everything of yourself to your workplace continues to prevail in many organisations. This is not healthy, nor is it productive for anyone involved. “The healthiest and happiest workplace cultures are the ones that are organised around purpose.” describes business and life coach Anand Kulkarni. 


“Leaders should be giving meaning to the work they are doing within their business and beyond and sharing this purpose with their staff, rather than focusing on long hours, crippling workloads or someone else’s idea of ‘success’. When people understand why they are doing what they do and how this contributes to something greater, productivity and well-being is increased.” adds Anand. 


Promote well-being from the top down

Leaders need to act as role models if well-being is to become embedded at the very core of the organisation. It’s very unlikely that employees will start acting in a new way that puts their own needs first if the leadership team continues to behave in an entirely different manner.


‘Many organisations have worked hard in recent months to put new policies in place that better support well-being, promote hybrid working and attempt to set clear boundaries, but many leaders seem to assume that they are exempt from it all, that’s when it all falls over’, explains leadership experts Martin Boroson and Carmel Moore, from The One Moment Company. 


A recent ONS report into Homeworking in the UK revealed that people are on average working 6 hours extra per week, and many are working until late in the evening, indicating that the boundaries between work and life are more blurred than ever. 


Despite all of these wonderful opportunities for people to self-organise, if the leadership team continues to work in the office Monday to Friday, or are communicating at all hours, then it’s a clear indicator that hybrid working is simply a ‘bolt-on’ tactic rather than an integral part of the company’s approach to promoting the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.’

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