Here are the top news stories in talent & organization from this week.

These three skills will matter the most in 2029

With the growth of automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and offshoring, it’s time to start focusing on continuous learning and skill development, claims Yuriy Boykiv. In this Inc. piece, he cites a Georgetown University study, which revealed that in 2020, only 35 percent of job openings in the U.S. would require a bachelor’s degree. “The vast majority of the jobs, many of which are highly paid, will not have such a requirement and candidates could be trained on the job with the particular skills needed,” Boykiv writes. “Most analysts agree that employers will seek cognitive skills such as communication and analytics from employees rather than physical skills traditionally associated with manual labor.” He lists the top three skills that will be most relevant in the future of work: 1. Empathy is critical in building any human relationship, which is key to all business connections. 2. Ethics—fairness, dignity, diversity and the pursuit of common wellbeing—are values that companies will need to portray. 3. Curiosity is what differentiates the workers of the 20th century from those in the 21st, an era where education does not stop after college. “If we stay curious, behave ethically and empathize with people, in ten years the odds will be in our favor,” Boykiv concludes.

How HR can lead agile change

It’s an exciting and challenging time for HR practitioners and HR has never been better suited to contribute meaningfully to the success of the core business, argues Taralee Brady. “The greatest impetus for change is a new way of working—agile,” she writes in this TalentCulture blog post. “To become agile, there must be a full-scale organizational shift that entails fundamental design changes—from recruiting and training to, most importantly, organizational culture—all of which are in the direct province of HR leaders and teams.” Brady advises HR professionals to partner with other leaders in the organization to define a culture that will enable their strategic goals. She also believes it is important to look for supporters of and role models for change in the organization. “HR’s role has always been an important one, and now it is even more so,” she writes. “Equipped with the ability to drive cultural change, HR practitioners will be at the forefront of this organizational revolution.”

Speaking up for women in the workplace

Navigating office gender issues is complicated, but there are ways both men and women can be more supportive of female colleagues, according to Joanne Lipman, author of “That’s What She Said: What Men and Women Need to Know About Working Together.” In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, she shares some advice on dealing with the complexities of the gender gap. “If men have questions about appropriate behavior, just ask,” she says. “Women are generally not going to be offended.” Lipman believes women can help other women in the workplace in subtle ways. “First, interrupt the interrupters: Say, ‘Oh, Betsy is speaking. I would love to hear her finish.’ Some companies now have No Interruptions rules. Second, amplify: When a woman says something, another woman repeats her idea, giving her credit by name. And my favorite is brag buddies: Two women recount their achievements to each other, and then each one goes to the boss and brags about the other,” she says.

AI is not a panacea; finding the right fit is key

Citing Accenture research that predicts AI technologies have the potential to increase profitability rates by 38 percent by 2035, Gary Fowler advises companies to make better-informed decisions about AI, instead of treating it like a panacea for all business challenges. “There is no one-size-fits-all artificial intelligence solution that can help every business, and it’s easy to get caught up in the AI craze without objectively estimating the value a solution can offer,” he writes in this Forbes blog post. “Before taking a step toward AI implementation, ask the following questions: What areas of the business will benefit the most from the implementation, and what new opportunities will the implementation offer?” Fowler recommends prioritizing implementation of AI solutions and customizing the new technologies to each business unit. “This is especially important when it comes to the people in your business,” he writes. “As companies implement new technologies, human capital and AI solutions will likely begin to converge and require leaders to make decisions about the distribution of tasks performed by the employees and the machines.”

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