Rise of the robots: reassure your workforce
A mobile phone in the pocket of an employee today is probably far more advanced than the computer on their desk 20 years ago. Technology has helped eradicate the barriers of time and distance, however, its speed is beginning to unsettle employees.
In a recent survey by the ADP Research Institute, a staggering 58% of European employees felt pessimistic about the future of automation in the workplace1. How can we instil employee confidence with the knowledge that their roles are still valued?
As Artificial Intelligence develops in leaps and bounds, the rise of the robots now seems a reality. The future really doesn’t seem too far off; drones delivering meals in restaurants, robots updating employee records and a computer diagnosing patients in hospitals. It is important that organisations lead the way in ensuring their employees don’t feel they will be replaced, but instead prove how automation and other technologies can enable individuals to broaden the scope of their roles. Organisations should start encouraging their workforce now with evidence of the positive implications of automation.
Create a connected workforce
The ADP research also discovered that 90% of respondents worldwide believe advancing technology will allow for stronger connections with colleagues over the next five to ten years1. If organisations work to utilise the technology that’s available at their fingertips, or the flick of a switch, it can help reassure their workers that technology is there to aid and support, not to threaten. Automation also helps to streamline and simplify procedures and organisational structures, meaning that open communication is easier to achieve.
Automation will help increase accuracy in the workplace as roles that require physical and mental concentration have a lower likelihood of human error. Human engagement will still be required to scrutinise the results of automated processes, but it can offer the guarantee of consistent and accurate service. Instead of seeing this as a threat, automated technologies can be seen as personal assistants that reduce the amount of routine work.
Rethink focus areas
With regular learning and development opportunities, employees will have the reassurance that they are not about to be replaced. In fact, McKinsey has estimated that only 5% of occupations can be entirely automated using current technology2. Instead, people will be able to automate repetitive and time–consuming tasks to focus on more skills–based work. The human element of almost all roles is still important. Advancing technology can help your employees focus on their development and harness more skills, as proven by 35% of European workers feeling that new technology will allow them to individually learn anything, anytime, anywhere.
Technology is hugely beneficial to the workplace. Automation could not only enable employers to better cater to the many needs and desires of staff, but also facilitate more efficient work for employees. Employers should ensure they are not over–reliant on technology and still build a human connection with their employees, offering sufficient support and encouragement.
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