Deur Anja van den Berg
The advancements of technology have dramatically changed the way people live their everyday lives, including in the workplace.
More and more companies are upgrading their technology to keep up with the digital transformation.
Thanks to the rapid expansion of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, monotonous and time-consuming tasks can now be done more efficiently with the same – or better – results.
Yet, the rise of AI technology is not without its perils.
Among the most significant concerns stemming from automation is that it will take over human occupations. As sophisticated technology can do the job faster while producing more accurate results – at a cheaper cost than humans do – many predict that our jobs are at risk.
A study by Deloitte predicts that in the next seven years Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will replace 16% of current workforce roles. The study found that while 32% of companies are prepared for RPA’s technology implications, only 12% are prepared for the human (and human resources) implications.
Monster.com explains how companies can prepare their workforce for the realities of automation:
- Perform a workforce analysis
Establishments might find it difficult to anticipate which AI transformation might disrupt areas of their workforce if they don’t have a clear understanding of shifting trends and developments. Leadership should analyse changes that their workforce has undergone in recent years. From there, they should take note of any areas within which there has been a greater need for talent and skills development. Leadership should also stay on top of the latest tendencies and innovations in the industry to identify risk factors early on. If the organisation is seeing widespread adoption of new automated systems impacting areas of their business, this might signal that they have waited too long to act.
- Enable ongoing learning and development
In today’s knowledge-based economy, many employees are finding that a university degree is no longer enough to equip them with the skills they’ll need for their career lifespans. Today, learning needs to be a lifelong process. Workforces must continuously develop new capabilities to remain competitive in the job market. Soft skills – such as critical thinking, empathy, negotiation, and creativity – are increasingly important. These are the skills that robots and automation can’t replicate. Managers should strongly consider offering training on mediation, team-building and empathy to help employees strengthen the soft skills they’ll need to set themselves apart.
- Enable skills diversification
When faced with the inevitable seismic change that AI will bring, organisations will prize a talent pool with a mix of skills. Companies can start to examine ways to support employees in building new skills and learning unique specialities to be able to complement advances in technology. This can begin by giving employees access to new tools to facilitate skills development. For example, have employees – and not just those working in an IT capacity – learn how to interface with data by learning to code.
Artificial intelligence will become increasingly integrated with our world and our work. Students who enter a degree program might find that their chosen industry has wholly transformed between their first day in the lecture hall and their last. It’s never been more important to be professionally adaptable.
HR Future: https://www.hrfuture.co.za/talent-management/technology/why-automation-is-an-opportunity-to-re-skill-for-the-digital-age/
Pew Research Centre: https://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/03/the-future-of-jobs-and-jobs-training/
HR Technologist: https://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/leadership-succession/5-ways-for-managers-to-prepare-for-the-future-of-work/