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Workforce shaping in the age of automation

Workforce shaping in the age of automation

Workforce shaping is about aligning your company’s business and human resources needs to make sure you have the right employees with the right skill-sets at the right time.



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Workforce shaping

A conversation that is worth having

Working with leading organizations around the world, we’re seeing entire business value chains being reimagined thanks to digital technology. As such, the implications for the future workforce are going to be significant. In order to position yourself for long-term success, leaders should begin to engage in some of the higher-purpose conversations around what their workforce will look like in the age of automation.  

Workforce shaping is about aligning your company’s business and human resources needs to make sure you have the right employees with the right skillsets at the right time to help the business run efficiently and effectively. With technology disruption coming from all sides – it can be difficult to know where to start the conversation. Unfortunately, far too many times, companies put off conversations about the impacts that technology will have on their workforce, as they think it won’t become a reality for another 5 or 10 years. The reality is that these issues need to be addressed today. 

What happens when those conversations don’t take place? What we do know is that when a company ignores the concerns and well-being of its workforce, those employees will end up drawing their own conclusions about where they want to work – often to the detriment of organizational morale and performance.

So where to start? A good first step is to develop an understanding of the task-level impacts that automation will have on jobs in your organization. Leadership can then think through how to best reconfigure work, roles and jobs, so the company can achieve the optimal combination of humans and robots working together. If these conversations are had early on and approached in the right way, it is possible to boost productivity, quality, service and overall employee satisfaction. What should these workforce shaping conversations look like? 

A few questions to get you started:

  • How will we handle employees who lose their job because they are training a bot to do that job? 
  • How should we reskill employees to enable them with the competencies they’ll need in the future? 
  • Which skills & capabilities will be most valuable as machines begin to take over portions of traditional work? 
  • How should we integrate contingent workers with permanent employees?
  • How can we redesign job profiles to attract and retain future talent?
  • What is the impact of automation on the customer experience and the employee experience?
  • How will automation change career pathing and career progression? 
  • How can we profit from these new opportunities while ensuring the well-being of employees?

These are the types of questions leadership teams and boards should be engaged in right now. 

So…are you going to let the future simply ‘happen’ to your company and your employees? Or do you want to actively shape the future of your organization as this era of digital disruption and intelligent automation continues to unfold? The choice is yours.

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