The Irreplaceable Employee

October 8, 2018

The Irreplaceable Employee

The Irreplaceable Employee

For years, we have heard that American employees will be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) and machines in the upcoming year. However, the likelihood of this prediction becoming reality is not very likely. Whenever people have been replaced by machines, it is for one simple reason - machines are economical. Does that mean that technology can replace every human worker? Not quite. Despite monumental leaps in technology, some skills remain unquestionably beyond the scope of machine capabilities. Here are seven skills that can't be replaced by machines:


Machines can facilitate communication but they do not have the capacity to engage meaningfully with people. The organic machine that is the human brain possesses an ability to construct narratives that connect with other individuals. No artificial device can replicate this.

Takeaway tip: Individuals who can connect with others through eloquent words will always be in demand.


Today, tiny devices can hold and accurately recall a larger volume of facts and figures than an entire crowd of people. However, "content" does not refer just to the ability to regurgitate data on demand. It alludes to the human knack for correlating discrete and disparate information and presenting them as a cogent whole.

Takeaway tip: Anyone who can distill information and share it in bite-sized pieces is invaluable.


No two situations are exactly alike and understanding context is an important element of the human experience. By contrast, even the most complex machines find it impossible to make intelligent decisions when faced with a situation outside their programming.

Takeaway tip: Even a child is able to judge context, and we get better as we age.


All of us can recall moments when a seemingly incomprehensible subject was explained so clearly that we understood instantly. It might have been at school, a training program, or even at the dinner table. Someone sensed what you did not understand and crafted their words and ideas in a way so everything fell into place.

Takeaway tip: These moments are magical and these teachers are irreplaceable.


A connection with another individual is worth exponentially more than the words "one connection" can convey. It is a gateway to innumerable contacts and goodwill. With the right connections, you can overcome otherwise insurmountable challenges and unlock unimaginable possibilities.

Takeaway tip: No man is an island, and for good reason.


Perhaps, in this world where profit increasingly comes before principles, ethics are losing their appeal. Nevertheless, an organization that can demonstrate a commitment to ethical behavior will always strike a chord with the public.

Takeaway tip: Ethics underpin trust, and there is no substitute.

The Human Touch

Emotional intelligence is crucial for any workplace and in any service, but technology is impersonal. Companies try to imbue personality into their tech - think Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri - but the result is a pale imitation. Without emotional connections, a business will lose the loyalty of both customers and employees.

Takeaway tip: This most intangible of human abilities is perhaps our biggest advantage.

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