What you need to know to future-proof your business
NOT knowing what the future holds can be a scary prospect for regional business and their employees. But, experts reveal there is valuable data available and certain skills and characteristics that people can learn to ensure they're better prepared for what lies ahead.
Southern Cross University's Dian Tjondronegoro is a Professor of IT, and said future work would be digitally transformed and workplaces would be designed differently, enabling people to work effectively anywhere and remotely.
"Skills in using online collaboration tools like Google Doc and Office 365c as well as video conferencing like Zoom, and smartphones to keep up with diary and emails, are essential. Social media and apps like TripIt Pro are a must for workers who travel a lot," he said.
Prof Tjondronegoro said many artificial intelligence-enabled technologies were enabling people to do their job better. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot is now 'filtering' initial inquiries by customers, so that they can be directed to the right department.
"The chatbot can also provide summary of details and information that can be used by future customer service officers," Prof Tjondronegoro said.
"AI also enables business intelligence analytics, enabling data-driven decision making and insights."
Professor Peter McIIveen, based at the University of Queensland's Toowoomba campus, suggests individuals and small businesses use Australia Bureau Statistic's trustworthy and consistent data to help make decisions for the future. It's freely available through the Labour Market Information Portal.
"It's got a range of projections, including a five-year option from 2018 to 2023, that reveals which industries are going to have the greatest growth in the labour market and those that are going to contract, and that gives you a high-level picture of what's happening in those industries," he said.
Prof McIIveen said not surprisingly, the automation of many entry level jobs, that usually young people rely on to start their career journey, would be a crucial issue in the future. In addition, older workers' jobs would also be severely impacted by the advancement of technology.
"This is why we focus on the psychology of what makes a person employable, if they've got the right disposition, characteristics and qualities they will be able to better adapt to change," he said.
"Complicated cognitive and creative thinking skills and the ability to work in highly emotional situations and know what other people are thinking will become invaluable skills," he said.
Prof McIIveen said it was possible to teach adaptability, resilience and empathy, all traits that would be invaluable in the future.
Having an optimistic disposition in regards to learning and developing new skills would also be a massive advantage. Business coach Alison Callan helps aspiring and existing female entrepreneurs, and said the key to ensuring longevity in a person's career was to have a well-nurtured strong business or career network.
"This way you will always have a wealth of information readily available to you," she said.
"Build your connections and maintain them, check in, actually give value to those connections and develop a strong bond of respect, like and trust.
"People are the heart of an organisation and business and they require reciprocal investment.
"You have a plan and a strategy for your business, you need a plan and a strategy for your people."
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