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7 ways humans can befriend machines in the workplace

May 18 2019 22:15

Automation is changing the skills companies require from workers, yet the speed with which this is happening across functions within organisations varies, according to Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director at ManpowerGroup SA.

Many organisations are investing in digital, shifting tasks to robots and subsequently creating jobs.

At the same time, companies are focusing on developing their skills development offerings, so their human workforce can perform new and complementary roles to those done by machines. Van den Barselaar explains this is proof that the skills revolution is truly underway.

"In most cases, robots are helping to boost productivity and proving to be critical to economic growth," she says, which is why she believes it is important that humans are able to positively interact with robots in the workplace.

7 ways employees can befriend machines and automation:

Leadership matters

According to Van den Barselaar, executives need to be the igniters of change, innovation and culture to ensure their companies become learning organisations in an era of rapidly changing skills.

Ensure women are a part of the solution

Creating a culture where women can thrive is more critical than ever, according to Van den Barselaar.

Understand what your workforce wants

Failure to invest in automation risks missing out on creating wealth and jobs for the future generation.

ManpowerGroup's 2018 Skills Revolution 2.0 report states that by 2025 Millennials and Gen Z's will make up more than two-thirds of the global workforce.

"Companies must, therefore, respond by incorporating NextGen work models including contract, part-time, and temporary work to attract and retain the best skills - because 87% of workers are looking for this type of flexibility," said Van den Barselaar.

Know the capabilities of your people

Organisations need to use assessment, clean data and predictive performance to deploy talent in the most effective way and avoid creating skills silos.

Tailor training

Companies must replace "sheep-dip approaches" to training with focused strategies and guidance to develop critical, in-demand skills for their workforce.

"The introduction of machines into the workforce ups the need for more critical skills from the humans in that organisation – and this needs to remain a focus," explains Van den Barselaar.

Bet on soft skills

Organisations should fine-tune talent strategies to account for the fact that soft skills are often harder to develop than hard or technical skills.

"The good news is that soft skills can be grown and nurtured. Ensuring this happens should be a focus not only for those in management but their employees and team members too," explains Van den Barselaar.

Enable humans to augment technology

Organisations must continuously assess and re-evaluate the skills they need to ensure their human talent complements automation. In the skills revolution, this is how people will augment robots rather than be replaced by them.

A dynamic talent strategy will fuel future growth by employing the right combination of building, buying, borrowing and bridging talent.

employment  |  ict  |  tech
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