Advancements that were once phenomenal, from email to excel and data collection, are now the norm. We should be excited about what further changes technology will bring to help us do our jobs better.
But as we look forward it seems that we do not welcome further technological advances, but regard it with a general message of fear and reluctance. The media around us is full of stories and speculation of robots replacing humans in their jobs. As a result a staggering 58% of European employees felt pessimistic about the future of automation in the workplace. We need to instil employee confidence in the knowledge that their roles are still valued.
How will the HR function change?
The HR function is likely to be impacted by rising levels of automation and artificial intelligence. On a fundamental level, a number of our roles are likely to become more automated. As we say a goodbye to endless administration, data inputting and recording, I personally welcome the prospect of spending more time on the human parts of human resources.
How should I prepare my employees?
Management has a responsibility to ensure employees don’t become isolated by these quick-moving advances in automation, or feel that they are replaceable. Instead, as an HR representative you have a duty to demonstrate how automated technologies can support employees in their day to day roles, and make their positions more fulfilling. With regular learning and development opportunities, workers will feel they are not about to be replaced; McKinsey have actually estimated that only 5% of occupations can be entirely automated using current technology.
So if you find yourself nervous of the impending changes that automation may bring, just remember; it wasn’t so long ago that computers were an alien prospect. Remind yourself, and your workforce, that the evolving workplace offers more opportunity than it does risk, as long as you evolve alongside it.
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