How employers can prepare for job development
As we approach Labor Day and continue to emerge from pandemic restrictions, most American workers and employers are thinking about the return to the workplace (and what that might mean in terms of workweek and workplace design). The pandemic has increasingly shed light on how advances in technology, communication systems, cloud-based services and AI-based tools can support business operations and impact the employment relationship. It also accelerated the need for coordinated strategies from policymakers, educators, and industry leaders to educate and prepare workers for the future workforce, upskill the current workforce to work in digitally transformed environments, and manage workers’ transitions from the workplace. The goals of the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020 (NAIIA), which aims to position the US as a global leader in the development and adoption of trustworthy AI as an integral part of national strategy and security, include provisions on awareness, training and preparedness Prepare an AI-skilled workforce to create, use, and interact with AI systems to address the technological displacement of workers and integrate AI into business and society. A study by the National Science Foundation and the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the current and future impact of AI on the US workforce is expected to be publicly available by January 1, 2023 for recommendations regarding of the challenges and opportunities arising from these issues.
There will be increasing challenges as jobs change. Employers have an important role to play in shaping this transition, as the way workers are employed and remunerated impacts the construct of the labor force and the social safety net. At a minimum, employers should ask themselves the following questions and incorporate these considerations into their future workplace plans:
What is the role of human capital versus AI in our workplace? Should our employees work alongside AI-based tools and machines, work independently of them, or will their positions be replaced, requiring training for new positions?
How can we attract, motivate and retain our human capital in different work arrangements and in their current vs. new positions? What can we do to improve their health and well-being? What programs will encourage them to work diligently in remote situations?
How do we build trust in hybrid environments? How can we prepare our employees for technology-based and data-driven environments?
Do we comply with applicable labor laws that affect our use of AI in the workplace?
What training and/or educational support can we offer our employees?
What should we consider offering to laid-off workers as part of a job transition policy or severance package?
For more insights on this topic see:
Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace and the Future of Employer-Provided Employee Benefits (New York University’s Review of employee benefits and executive compensation 2021): https://www.mintz.com/sites/default/files/media/documents/2021-10-01/Artificial%20Intelligence%20in%20the%20Workplace%20and%20The%20Future%20of%20Employer-Provided %20Employees%20Services.pdf
EEOC issues guidance addressing how the use of artificial intelligence in employment decisions could violate the ADA: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/eeoc-issues-guidance-addressing-how-use-artificial-intelligence -employment-decisions
The NLRB’s busy July – a harbinger of future coordinated federal action between the NLRB, FTC and DOJ: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/nlrb-s-busy-july-harbinger-future-coordinated-federal-action -between- nlrb-ftc-and
And we can be sure that automation will be accompanied by greater use of AI, immersive technologies like AR, VR and the Metaverse, and this will of course increase the need for larger investments in cybersecurity. We will see these trends take shape immediately and continue to gain momentum as companies embrace technology extensively to drive continuous transformation.
©1994-2022 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, PC All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 241
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