What then, does a technology-enhanced workplace look like?
There are a number of ways business leaders can begin implementing workplace planning to transform their businesses, which will ensure they are not forced to look at redundancies as costs spiral, customers leave, and the world moves on without them.
Below, Benjamin Pring, Director at Centre for the Future of Work, Cognizant, and Co, shares some examples with L&D Professional
Technology will save your job, not replace it
At the core of enhancement is a simple idea that nearly every individual’s abilities can be improved by technology. Enhanced jobs are about improving work, not replacing it. Underlying technologies that empower employees achieve a number of measures: they decrease inefficiencies, provide greater accuracies, and lead to greater productivity.
Job enhancement isn’t just about efficiencies though. Creative thinking and cultural change are what will move your business forward, and people need time and freedom to focus on these tasks. Technology gives people the freedom to deprioritise tedious work to focus on big picture, creative thinking and customer service – all hallmarks of an innovative company.
A culture of innovation is only achieved from the top-down. Buy-in from executive teams and the ability to effectively deal with change management will be crucial as jobs become more enhanced.
At commercial, societal and economic levels, understanding the power of digital tools and how they can enhance human performance will be the difference between a company of yesterday and a company of tomorrow.
The winners will be those whose digital transformation is led from the top. These crucial decision-makers will also need to possess the capability to recognise how everyday processes can enhance jobs, not replace them – otherwise we’re in a race to the bottom where everything is automated, and only low prices will tempt customers to choose someone over a competitor.
Retraining is the key to retaining in the knowledge economy
Business leaders as well as employees need to face the challenge of enhanced jobs as a collective. This challenge involves company-wide upskilling initiatives. Through these retraining strategies, existing employee talents are enhanced with the application of technology. Such retraining can include leadership skills, reasoning and interpreting with logic, applying judgement, and being creative – things that are uniquely human.
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As the business world occupies itself with talks of job losses due to automation, it neglects to acknowledge the positive effects of technology on jobs: that a job enhanced, not replaced by technology, will be a protected job in the new world order.