How to Remain Relevant in the Robot & Automation Economy

Aren’t Robots Taking Over the World?

With the way the world of work is changing, very rapidly changing, many workers, including HR professionals are wondering if they are going to be relevant in the future. The number of media stories and news articles that suggest that robots are taking over the world is causing growing concerns for consumers, employers and individuals in the US and beyond. In blog post at my website I asked Will HR be irrelevant in a virtual office? Of course the answer is “maybe.” Whether you remain relevant has less to do with your job than you think and more to do with how you think. Futurist Jacob Morgan addressed this question in a recent video and had four things that he thinks people need to do to remain relevant in the changing world of work. I will paraphrase these and comment on them.

First, stay educated.

Most of us when we get wrapped up in our careers often stop the educational process, mostly because we think of education in terms of degrees and long programs of classes. Most of us don’t have the time in our lives for that kind of educational commitment. There are however, other ways of getting education that will keep you relevant. Morgan recommends taking advantage of opportunities like Udemy and Coursera to track down and learn practically anything you want to learn.

Second, read widely

His second suggestion is to utilize social channels that allow you to create filters to get the information you want to read. Have a topic you want to learn more about? Rather than digging for the information have that information sent to you. One of the sources he mentioned is SmartNews. I have already loaded it onto my iPad. So far it is pretty amazing. I have been using Zite and hope that I will be able to get the same thing as they transition to Flipboard. I personally liked Zite’s emphasis on topics instead of publications. Find one that works for you and have the information come to your “door step” as you need it.

Third, leverage others

Morgan’s third area important for future relevance is to leverage communities of interest that can make you aware of trends, ideas, breaking news. You can find many of these communities on LinkedIn. I am trying to get a community going on HR Futurism. So if you are interested take a look at my little group. Whatever your area of interest you can probably find a group. If you are looking to change areas of expertise one of the best ways is to scope it out by paying attention to what others say about. Ask questions and offer opinions.

Fourth, don’t forget others

Morgan’s fourth area was one he considered a bonus item. He said to make sure you don’t forget “traditional” opportunities to network and meet new people who do interesting things. In one of my networking groups I had a conversation with a young man who has been in the insurance business for several years. He does ok with it, but it is not his passion. International trade, buying and selling commodities is what he is passionate about. He told me he spends his time at night reading, studying and talking to people to learn more. A neighbor has started on doing some day trading because he finds it fascinating. He spent time studying and learning before sticking a toe in the water. He loves it. By the way, he is a surveyor by trade.

If you are concerned about your job in the future and the prospect of robots taking over the world, then learn something else. Or learn more about what you do to make yourself one of the people that everyone seeks out. I have read over 20 books on the future of work and I read countless articles because that is what fascinates me. You too can do something similar and, as a result, remain relevant in this coming changing world of work.

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Mike Haberman

Michael (Mike) D. Haberman, SPHR is a consultant, speaker, writer of HR Observations, and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc. After over 30 years in HR he got tired of the past and focuses here on the Future of HR. Connect with Mike.


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