In a world where artificial intelligence (AI) is being rapidly embraced and technological change is constant, one of the most important dimensions of an organization\u2019s AI strategy is understanding how to prepare your workforce for the pace of change.\n\nThis comes at a time when the half-life of a learned skill \u2013 the amount of time it takes for a skill to reduce to half its value \u2013 continues to rapidly fall to five years, according to Deloitte. And more than one-third of sought-after skills across most occupations will change by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum\u2019s Future of Jobs report.\n\nThe most critical digital technologies being explored today all have a common thread. They are focused on augmenting the human experience with digital capabilities. By using AI, organizations can augment their workforce with machines to make them more productive and help employees position themselves for the future.\n\nRecently recognized by CIO, Synchrony is reaping some of the benefits from deploying a system-wide, AI approach to help improve the customer experience, drive faster decision-making and enable our employees to focus on fulfilling cognitive tasks and do complex problem solving.\n\nHere are my takeaways on how organizations can equip their people and future talent for the AI era:\n\nFocus on augmenting human intelligence\n\nYour AI strategy should be one of augmentation. As you look at your business processes and redesign them, leverage automation technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) alongside new, higher skilled, employee roles to raise the quality of the job and automate the less engaging aspects of the job.\n\nThis can result in both a more engaging job and a more engaging customer experience. Processes flow faster, improving customer experience and our employees don\u2019t have to push as much data around to get the job done. People and robots collaborate on a new more streamlined process. And while some jobs will go away, new higher value ones will be created.\n\nProactively prepare your workforce through skills training\n\nThis isn\u2019t just about automating repetitive work with robots. Technology advances will ultimately shape every job. As humans and machines join forces to drive value together, business leaders have a responsibility to proactively prepare their workforce for the skills of the future. Employees should take advantage of resources to actively pursue new skills and future-proof their careers.\n\nCompanies may need technologists who have specific domain expertise to become multi-skilled and knowledgeable across more than one domain.\n\nAt Synchrony, we\u2019re looking at what jobs are needed in the future and making opportunities available for our employees to pursue new careers in these areas, both inside and outside the company.\n\nWe provide our employees up to $20,000 per year to help gain higher education degrees and certifications. This robust tuition reimbursement program also includes growing fields like education and health care.\n\nAs people look to move into jobs of the future, we are also training software engineers who write Java code to become services engineers who create scalable components that can be deployed companywide. We\u2019re piloting bootcamps to offer entry level employees skills training in coding and technology to enable a transition to technology jobs through apprenticeships with tech talent organizations.\n\nConduct continuous learning at every stage\n\nCreating an environment where your technology employees are supported in their journey of continuous learning is essential. Innovative new technologies are appearing regularly, and employees must be continuous learners to learn how to adapt the best solutions for their business. That includes adapting to an agile way of working, testing and innovating. As we move into this age of AI and machine learning, skills such as persuasion, problem solving, collaboration and emotional intelligence will be in higher demand.\n\nFostering a culture of learning is critical to sparking innovation and creative problem solving. We invest in leadership training for entry level employees to senior executives. In one of our programs, some of our employees learn technology skills by programming a new generation of bots.\n\nPave the way for tomorrow\u2019s innovators\n\nPublic-private partnerships play an important role in building a strong tech pipeline and preparing young people for the skills of the future. To help equip students with real-world skills in AI, cybersecurity and data science, Synchrony has partnered with the University of Illinois and the University of Connecticut. Students from diverse disciplines work with our developers and data scientists at the Emerging Technology Center at the University of Illinois Research Park while youth engage in cyber scenarios at Synchrony\u2019s Cybersecurity Center at the University of Connecticut. More than a dozen graduates are working at Synchrony full-time.\n\nThere are very few roles that remain unchanged for years on end, and in technology, there are increasing demands on learning as the half-life of job skills get shorter and shorter. In addition to harnessing the technology side of the AI revolution, make sure you're harnessing your employees and developing them into the leaders for the next gen jobs that follow the AI revolution.