With the ever-changing nature of our world and technological advancement, how can organizations remain relevant with their ways of working? 

The way we understand and manage our jobs, working environment, and the Human Capital practice will continue evolving and will need to be re-evaluated sooner rather than later. According to a WEF research, while technology is challenging some more traditional jobs and tasks, it is also on course to establish up to 133 million new jobs by 2022 – occupations that did not exist before. Furthermore, these emergent roles are expected to account for up to one-third of the global labor base of multinational corporations. 

AI and Automation will be here to stay. 

Leading the Future of Work wave, Artificial Intelligence and Task Automation continue to be one of the most prominent digital workplace enablers in our workplace. Infosys Consulting recently launch AI Labs globally to support organizations in accelerating their AI capabilities and help to remove barriers to ensure maximal return on investment of such initiative. This indicates a strong inclination that companies are heading consistently towards growing their AI efforts. One of the main impacts of AI & Automation on organizations is those roles consisting of repetitive tasks often will be replaced by RPA, Bots, and AI. Other roles that cannot be entirely replaced by technology will be, nonetheless, changed and evolved to the next level as new tasks are invented. In other cases new jobs/roles are created as tasks will be combined. These changes will trigger changes in workforce profile and capabilities, where employees would need to acquire new and different skill sets to perform them or re-deploy to a new environment as their previous roles might be eliminated due to automation.  

In our recent work with a global investment company, business processes were reinvented with the use of automation technology, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which refers to the use of software bots that automate rule-based, highly transactional processes such that these business processes require little or no human intervention. Some of its benefits include:

  • Reduction in manual processing time
  • Reduced need for human checks
  • Lower likelihood of human errors
  • Reduction in idle time and handoffs
  • Improved accuracy
  • Near real-time processing of tasks

In this use case, the average handling time taken by the benefits team to prepare for the long service award in the organization can be reduced by more than 81% using bots – thereby creating new efficiencies and freeing up their time; empowering them to do what they do best and creating value for the organization instead of spending much of their time on routine, manual tasks that are highly transactional.

How is the workforce changing?

While the magnitude and progress of Automation will differ between organizations, industries, and countries, technology convergence and proliferation will drive organizations to redefine and re-imagine how their workforce will look as a result of Automation. Not only are the nature of jobs and tasks changing, but individuals’ ways of working too. In the past decade, gig workers, remote workers, and hyper-specialized consultants have made up an ever-increasing portion of the workforce. It has been reported that the gig economy is growing three times faster than regular U.S. labor. In addition, the pandemic has compelled us to rapidly expand the hybrid workforce by implementing various hybrid working initiatives like remote working. Through the 2021 survey conducted by Infosys (Work 2.0), this feature will be one of those that will determine employee engagement.

Furthermore, a global 2020 survey of 17,000 employees from more than 20 industries demonstrates the importance of emphasizing workforce engagement in building more resilient and high-performing firms. However, organizations cannot deny that with increasingly distributed and remote workforces, achieving high levels of employee happiness and engagement can be difficult. Hence AI and new human resources technologies are increasingly being used to provide the enhanced experiences and Big Data analysis required to achieve this and drive change in the work environment to incorporate more collaboration platforms and digital touch-points throughout the employee cycle, as it calls “digital workplace”.

With these changes in workforce profile and ways of working, Human Resources will need to re-think the meaning of transformation for the function. For example, a different approach will be needed to provide learning and development opportunities to its different types of employees, as well as out-of-the-box engagement activities for a better employee experience in a digitized workplace; career development opportunities will play a vital role, and various career movement and job rotation within the organization will need to take place to retain valuable talent; performance management will need to re-evaluate how success is measured well beyond its traditional approach; and reward systems will need to become more flexible to appeal to different work profiles.

Can a company overlook the consequence of Automation?

Technology is a two-edged sword that can enable firms to be innovative and transform roles to be more meaningful. Still, at the same time, if organizations overlook the impacts of Automation and fail to re-think their workforce strategy to be future-ready, they risk employees not being up to the new role requirements, which will cause productivity loss. In addition, resistance to any changes brought to an organization will be increasingly high and become a massive roadblock to any future transformation initiatives. Further, businesses will face disruption, fail to obtain a return from technology/transformation initiatives, and experience increased costs rather than expected optimization as previously planned.

Gone are the times when a firm’s workforce worked along traditional career trajectories and tasks that were manual and repetitive in nature. Technology such as Automation and AI implementation will continue to grow rapidly, possibly eliminating repetitive tasks and disrupting traditional ways of work. However, critical skills such as Communication and interpersonal skills, collective intelligence, and leadership will continue to matter, as much as technology implementation and automation waves across our workforce, workplaces, and way of working.

 

Sources Used:

WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2018.pdf (weforum.org)

2020 Global Employee Experience Trends – Qualtrics Research Study

Joanna Oktaviana

Joanna Oktaviana

Senior Principal

Over 21 years of experience in consulting work with extensive expertise in Organization Transformation, Future of Workforce, Strategic Change Management and Human Capital Transformation. She has been exposed to complex transformation project in both regional and global environment with various industry focus such as energy, telecommunication, finance, and manufacturing

Maria Recaman

Maria Recaman

Senior Consultant

10 years of experience establishing best practices in consulting, change management, and project management by facilitating cultural and behavioral change on business-critical projects. She has successfully delivered internal transformation to global enterprises within the health, finance, and public sector.

Dhruv Chugh

Dhruv Chugh

Senior Consultant

10 years of experience in consulting as a change management expert, specifically in business analysis, process mapping, and stakeholder management. An engineer with a strong IT background, he has in-depth expertise in successful transformation in the public sector.

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