Automation and the future workforce

Realm Digital 23 August 2018

We’ve gone paperless, but is the time coming where businesses will be going ‘people-less’?

Business Process Automation is technology-enabled processes that allow for more effective and efficient management of your business. Business areas like workflow, sales, and marketing all benefit from automation.

The goal is to make processes simpler, not instil fear into your current workforce.

Automation is no longer just a buzzword; it is absolutely necessary if you are to see your business thrive in the current and ever-transforming technological landscape. What it means for the bottom line, and what it means for the future of human resources, are realities well worth facing, and the critical questions to be asked.

Automation is not the enemy of our time. While there are countless articles suggesting robots will eventually render the majority of the human workforce irrelevant, our reality is not all doom and gloom.

Are you in it for the long haul?

If you are at the helm of your organisation and you would like to see your company in it for the long haul, there are a few simple, yet crucial, questions you should be asking yourself. If these questions haven’t yet crossed your mind, that in itself could be an indicator of your resistance.

There are two factors largely at play here. Firstly, how open to change are you really? And secondly, are you equipping your current and future workforce for what’s to come?

Your company’s greatest asset will always be its people. The intricacy of what can be automated is still up to humans and is limited only by the imagination.

The reality is that all businesses are becoming ‘tech companies’, even if it’s not the space they play in. Digital transformation truly has altered our thinking as we look to technology to solve traditional problems. Being “tech” and even data-literate is no longer ‘nice to have’, but is now an integral part of any job description.

Specifically to those in the technology industry, how much is your company investing in ensuring that the digital skills gap never becomes the contributing factor to your business not being able to keep up with the demand?

Jake Schwartz, co-founder and CEO of General Assembly was recently quoted as saying,

“Developing employees’ skills in areas like software engineering, digital marketing, user experience and user interface (UX/UI), and data science not only ensures that organizations have those critical skills but also provides continuous pathways of opportunity for people to advance their careers”.

Looking to the future

The Holy Grail is when you can embrace automation and all it can do to streamline processes and make your business more efficient, while at the same time you are able to empower and equip your staff with the necessary skills that will not deem anyone obsolete in the future.

The reality is that many positions may become redundant in the future, but this does not mean that people have to be redundant.

By looking to the future and putting the relevant training and development in place, and fostering a culture of learning now, you’re positioning your organisation for what’s to come, knowing you have a team that is equipped and ready to embrace whatever lies in wait.