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The Age of AI Brings Job Uncertainty, But Companies Often Fail to Involve Employees

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With technological progress advancing at a rapid rate and figures from PWC highlighting that a third (30%) of jobs are at risk of automation within the next 20 years, employees are feeling deeply uncertain about the future workplace. Yet a recent report from the Fabian Society and the Community trade union has revealed that employers are doing little to provide support to workers, with 60% of British employees saying they had no input on the use of new technologies in the workplace. According to John Hackston, Head of Thought Leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company, companies must act now to ensure their employees feel involved or risk employee productivity and engagement plummeting.

While uncertainty around the advance in AI will understandably cause anxiety for some employees, this will only be exacerbated when companies do not involve their employees in digital transformation decisions. With no support from their company, workers will be left feeling vulnerable and employee engagement, trust and productivity are likely to decrease. The Myers-Briggs Company is urging organisations to be more open about plans around technological advancement, and particularly focus on how the change can affect employees with different personality profiles.

Hackston, from The Myers-Briggs Company, commented:

“The workplace is going through unprecedented change, with many terming this period the fourth industrial revolution. While this represents new opportunities and the chance for many workers to upskill, change is never easy to navigate. Employers must consider how the change will be received by their workforce, and particularly those with different personality preferences. Individuals will all experience transformation in vastly different ways – some may immediately feel anxious while others will relish the challenge and even the uncertainty that change can bring.”

One tool that can prove useful to employers is the MBTI® assessment – a framework for understanding an individual’s personality preferences as well as their strengths and blind spots. It is also a valuable foundation for building self-awareness and allows individuals to better understand themselves – something that is particularly important in times of change.

The MBTI questionnaire assesses personality types and how individuals respond to different circumstances. For example, a large group presentation on the coming changes may well appeal to those with a preference for Extraversion, while those with a preference for Introversion may prefer written information and the opportunity for one-to-one discussion. Employers who use a mix of different forms of communication are more likely to keep everyone informed and engaged.

Looking at how individuals take in information, those with a preference for Sensing tend to focus on what is factual and concrete. They’re less likely to talk about ‘ifs’ and more likely to want concrete facts and solutions, while those with a preference for Intuition may want to clarify ideas and theories before putting them into practice. By better understanding how different people approach and deal with change, employers stand the best chance of success when communicating plans around workplace transformation.

Hackston continued: 

“While fears around automation persist, the rise of tech does not mean all employees will be out of a job. For many, it will be a chance to upskill, learn something new and take on a more strategic role, and employers must prepare workers for these transformations by being transparent in the face of change, consulting with employees on plans and offering the chance for the workforce to develop their skills.

“However, one of the key points that is often forgotten is that our different personality preferences do influence how we handle change. By considering this when communicating technological transformation to their teams, employers are more likely to create a culture that can withstand and flourish in times of change.”