Replacing The Hard With The Human – Why Is 2024 The Year Of Humanisation In The Workplace ?

Replacing The Hard With The Human – Why Is 2024 The Year Of Humanisation In The Workplace ?

In this op-ed Maisie Gray, partnerships associate at Rufus powered by Initiative (not to be confused with the I Try singer) reflects on how AI has changed her job for better — and worse.

It’s official. Working in the age of Artificial Intelligence has started to feel like working in the age of Account Inactivity due to my potential unemployment.

Whether it is turning my email into a piece of performative poetry or earning me street credit at Thursday drinks (thank you to Spotify’s DJ Xavier), my life and likely yours is changing rapidly because of the two capitalised letters we know all too well as AI.

Set to further assert its dominance as the annoyingly genius coworker we never knew we needed, I have recently begun to experience what I can only describe as some form of existential technophobia.

After several 2am doom scrolls into AI and its domination of the modern workplace, one question lingers each time I go to request something of this autonomous wizard.

By leaning into AI and related technologies are we beginning to lose our human touch?

According to industry leaders including Forbes, the answer is a resounding “yes”, which is why they and many others have deemed 2024 as “the year of humanisation”.

With more and more managers looking to employ staff with soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, as a top-of-mind concern, maybe the answer to many of the modern problems we face with technology, is as simple as being human.

So, before you give up all hope and ask Chat GPT for a resignation letter, I encourage you to join me in embracing 2024 as the year of humanisation.

Humanity will prevail

Gifted with the ability to choose what we value, believe and create, humans have an unparalleled understanding of how to interact with our fellow two-legged counterparts.

Connection, collaboration, empathy and innovation are just a few of the skills deeply rooted in human nature. Innately available to us at all times, these skills are key when it comes to bringing compassion and a sense of emotional understanding to the workplace.

As PWC’s David Clarke put it, “Brands won’t be able to solve their CX problems with technology alone – it’s just an enabler, facilitating the connection between a product or service and consumers.”

Underneath all the fluff and spin it’s humans, not the tools that we use, that are the key to creating and sustaining great customer interactions.

So, whether it is a new role, promotion or simply a shout-out in your weekly WIP – achieving your 2024 work goals is all about being human.

But what is being human?

To make life that little bit easier, I scoped the managerial market and discovered that humanity in 2024 is all about the following three skills.

HOW TO: Human (2024 edition)

1. EI > IQ

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to manage, understand and regulate one of the most complex aspects of life – emotion. Whether it is diffusing an argument like a pro, handling a big pitch like a calming yoga flow, or nailing the art of the smile and nod (even when Beatrice from Finance called you by the wrong name for the third time this week…), improving your EQ will ensure you beat AI in the race to employment any day.

With the ability to help you to progress and perform, TalentSmart ran a recent study that found employees with a high EQ were not only more sought after by employers, but were also receiving an additional AU$43,000 annual salary. Unlike reciting the periodic table or nailing the art of long division, EQ is all about focusing on your sense of self-awareness, recognising how others feel, becoming an active listener, communicating clearly and staying positive.

According to the experts, nailing these traits is your one-way ticket to ensuring you become the Einstein of emotional intelligence in no time at all.

2. Flexibility = Fluidity

The human ability to be flexible is a code that the AI machine has not yet been able to crack. As society experiences new advances, new challenges are set to arise. Flexibility is the ability to adapt to these changes with limited disruption to both you and those around you.

The key is to adopt an open-minded, team-focused mindset that allows you to be optimistic, stay calm, embrace the new and seek support where it is needed. So, if one of your 2024 resolutions was to improve your physical flexibility perhaps it is time to bring your mind also into the equation, as in 2024 flexibility is as much mental as it is physical.

3. Throw away the ‘box’

2024 is the year of diversifying your thinking to foster an environment where creativity rules.

AI, although capable of spitting out a pretty impressive piece of creative writing when asked, has proven to be a creature of habit. The human ability to think outside the box holds its power in the way it allows for unconventional creativity that challenges the status quo, solves problems and facilitates a sense of difference.

A recent study at LinkedIn Learning found that when researching the skill that is most sought after by today’s employers, the soft skill of creativity came out on top. So, take this as a sign to build up the courage to let go of the certainties and channel your inner creative genius.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Both excited yet frightened by the evolution of AI, I have decided to hold faith in its ability to improve the modern workplace. The truth is, AI is here, and it is here to stay.

As humans we are time-deficient, admin-adverse and lovers of the high road. Recognising these common factors of humanity, AI has answered our beck and call with a golden ticket to A-list efficiency, analysis and autonomy.

In embracing this technological transformer with open arms, we can unlock a world of new opportunities in the office and beyond. In taking the efficiency, analytical power, knowledge systems and data processing abilities of AI and marrying it with a little bit of human, we can usher into our ‘untouchable era’ and transcend our ability as humans to do some pretty cool things.

Ultimately, by viewing AI as a tool instead of an adversary we can work as one to create a space that 10 years ago no one would have been able to imagine.

Forget Travis Kelsie and Taylor Swift, there is a new dynamic duo on the block for 2024 and it is us and AI.

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