Innovation

Are robots really taking our jobs?

Susan Moylan Susan Moylan

More so now, than ever before, business leaders are operating in an environment of intense and sustained change. Change seems to be happening in all spheres of our lives, showing no signs of slowing down. Technology is probably one of the biggest changes affecting us all, no matter what industry we work in or what role we do.

Yes, the future is digital…. but, it will remain the case that both technology AND people matter. Digital advancements will happen with or without us, so it’s time to take a proactive approach to identify how we intend to thrive in the future world of work, the digital age, robots or no robots. But how?

We must transform our approach, moving beyond just automating existing processes.  We need to completely define new ways of doing things and doing more together, then use the new technologies to help enable these new practices. Our customers must be at the centre of what we do, designing change from the outside in, with their needs front of mind.

We need a different mindset. An openness to change is the single greatest blocker of any transformation – so we need highly agile teams. To help build high agility, we should nurture a culture which is open to change and view change as an opportunity. We need a leadership team that is change-orientated, one who encourages delegated decision-making as standard. We must focus on talent development – taking the lead in the talent race by putting concerted effort in to attracting, retaining and developing our digital workforce, i.e. our workforce of the future.

Technology will drive change to traditional roles in the future - robotics will have an impact on individual jobs, there is no question about that. Rather than making the human race redundant though, the increased use of robotics will bring inevitable changes to the roles that we do. New skills will need to be developed; creativity and innovation, change orientation, a strategic mindset and data analysis, to name but a few. Our learning strategies will have to cater to the needs of a diverse workforce who are dispersed, global and multigenerational, and we can leverage new technologies such as mobile learning, gaming and virtual reality, to help us do this.

Some people view the exponential growth of technology as a big challenge, a ‘problem’ that needs sorting out. Remember though - these advancements have and will continue to make our lives better and easier in many ways. Technological advancement is here to stay, so business leaders must take advantage of the many opportunities provided, embrace it, and plan for it. If you don’t, your competitors will.