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Is Workplace Automation on Your Organization's Radar?

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Nov 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights

Over the next 20 years, 47 percent of U.S. jobs will be "at risk" of becoming automated, reports the World Economic Forum. Job seekers and employers alike will benefit from watching the trends involved with the increasingly rapid introduction of new technologies, machines and, yes, robots, into all kinds of workplaces. It is easy to allow ourselves to think that one sector of the workforce is immune to this all-too-real phenomenon, but the truth is that, at some point, many-to-most jobs may be impacted, altered or eliminated.  

Automation in the Workplace Is Nothing New 

In reality, automation in the modern workplace is not new. Over the past several decades, organizations have come to rely on the expedience provided by automated innovations like industrial copy machines, fax machines, computers, personal devices like smartphones and tablets, and even cloud storage and cloud computing. All of these technological advances have changed the dynamics of the workplace, eliminating old jobs to make way for new ones.  

With a Solid Strategy, There Is No Need to Worry Over a Future Workforce Supplemented with Robot-Assisted Technologies 

In the coming decades, the business world is likely to see and embrace robotic capabilities for nearly every industry, sector and task, including robots that sew, medical AI (artificial intelligence) that can deliver a sound medical diagnosis, and robot journalists. 

Much like retail companies continue to adjust hiring practices to the ever-increasing shift to e-commerce, business owners must also prepare for the increasing shift to office automation. This change is no small concern since it will impact your staffing needs, across the board. Employees affected may include your front office team, manufacturing specialists, and even your human resource department.  

However much all of this may sound like your organization will soon be sending out pink slips like confetti, you will not necessarily need fewer employees. Recode recently noted that companies that use AI will create more jobs than they destroy. Even better, Recode goes on to state that some of the more mundane aspects of an employee's role will be performed by robots and other automated technologies, giving your team members the chance to work at a more creative, innovative and meaningful level each day. 

All that noted, you will undoubtedly need employees who have reinvented themselves with updated skills to reflect your needs, relative to the services that broader adoption of automation provides your business.  

How Can You Prepare for the Changes That an Automated Office Environment Will Bring?  

Navigating this once far-off musing of a Jetsons-like future to fit into your far shorter-term organizational planning may seem overwhelming for your executive staff and, to some degree, your HR team. You are not alone in that thought; many organizations worry about seamless adoption, adaptation, and transition when it comes to intelligent technology and automation, but with the right strategy in place, things are more likely to run smoothly.  

You can prepare for any upcoming changes that accompany automation by using some of the following tips and strategies:  

  • Stay Updated on the Latest Technologies Available. Work with your organization's IT team to stay abreast of current technologies and how they might improve your profits in the long-term. Explore resources that include technology websites like Techcrunch.com, Thenextweb.com, Gizmodo.com, Cnet.com, and Wired.com, performing searches related to your industry and new technologies available.  

  • Monitor Labor Forecasts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a goldmine of information for employers, employees and job seekers. The BLS Monthly Labor Review piece entitled I, Robot offers insights that relate to everyone touched by the inevitable changes to come, thanks to technology, recommending that employees continually seek relevant education and training to adapt along with technology. Employers will gain insights into keeping an eye out for job candidates with skill sets that complement any adopted automation.  

  • Encourage Proactive Steps for Your Valued Employees. As soon as you know you are planning to adopt a specific type of robotic automation that will likely eliminate certain jobs held by valued employees, let them know what is happening to help them take proactive measures to remain in your company. If you can envision a new role for an employee, encourage them to take classes, seminars and any necessary training to help them adapt and grow to meet your future staffing needs. While machines and robots may eliminate some manual tasks for humans, the more significant demand for engineering skills to run equipment and processes, as well as analysis of resulting data, are things you need to consider.  

  • Work with a Staffing Agency to Hire for the Future. For some positions, you may not have the staff with enough education or training to efficiently perform the job. Even with a top-notch IT team, you may need outside staffing solutions to make sure you have the right candidate to lead your organization through adoption and transition of new technologies. As soon as you know that you are incorporating a new type of automation, reach out to a seasoned staffing firm to help you analyze your available staff versus your future needs.  

Reach Out to Staffing Professionals Ready to Help You Embrace Automation in Your Organization 

At ICS, we continually monitor and reflect on the ways that our clients adopt new technologies, as well as how they hire, train and promote their employees. With the information that we have gathered, as well as years of industry experience, we can help you plan for the technology-based future to maintain a thriving and upbeat workplace.  

Contact us to learn more about hiring in the world of automation. 

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