Reimagining Workforce In An Automated World

The future of work is all about creating valuable human-machine collaboration


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Automation is transforming the future of work by empowering individuals to innovate in addition to becoming more productive. The roots of automation trace back to the industrial revolution, when machines simplified work to enable the mass production of goods — which led to an improvement in trade and commerce. 

Over the years, through constant innovation, we have developed sophisticated tools with embedded algorithms that reduce manual labor and replicate human decision making, thereby ensuring business process continuity with limited human intervention. By now, the financial and qualitative impacts, quick results, and job role changes created by automation are well known, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. The full implications that this immense change in automation will generate are still beyond our imagination.

The future of work is all about creating valuable human-machine collaboration. This shifts the focus of the conversation from task execution to problem-solving; from reaction to prediction; from imagination to the invention; and from forward thinking to quantum leaps led by algorithms and machines. Automation powered by artificial intelligence is also redefining the nature of work and the workplace. When repetitive or mundane tasks become the responsibility of bots, employees can spend more time on strategic decisions, innovation, value creation, and customer impact. The workforce operating in such an environment will need special skills and a continuous learning mindset. 

While the jobs of the future are expected to be data-driven and powered by machines,  they must be augmented by human skills like problem-solving, communication, listening, interpretation and design. Therefore, companies must redefine job roles in ways that marry technology with human skills and advanced expertise in interpretation and service. A recent World Economic Forum report estimates that 75 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines, while 133 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labor. 

To thrive in such situations, organizations will have to reimagine work, empower their workforce with training programs to address the challenges posed by automation, and create a work environment that helps employees get future ready. Its a win-win proposition for both the employees as well as the organization – the employees are aware of the career progression and are working in a challenging environment and the organization gets a workforce which will help it thrive in an automated world.  

As organizations reinvent the workplace, it’s impossible to understate the power of digital communication and collaboration platforms. Advances in collaboration tools will bring remote and flexible working into the mainstream in coming years, although traditional offices will not go away completely. These platforms are a necessity in an ecosystem which is moving away from traditional co-located to completely distributed and virtual workplaces. 

At Atos Syntel, we anticipated the changes affecting the future of work and developed an advanced digital workforce transformation framework (called X.0) for existing employees as well as the millennials joining our organization in the future.  

The X.0 framework was designed to get closer to our customers,  make our organization more agile, and develop the skills to  evolve and stay ahead of the market constantly.  The core philosophy of the framework focusses on empowering employees to be “the CEO of their careers,” with managers playing the role of a coach. Employees are encouraged to choose training programs that build both core and aspirational skills, and they are incentivized by better career opportunities like inter-career track movement and fast track career growth.  

Organizations looking to thrive in the automated world have to ensure their employees too are prepared to take up the challenge that it brings. To HR leaders, the evolution of the workplace presents both a challenge and a fantastic opportunity. The future of work is arriving faster than anyone realizes, and we must stay ahead of the curve. The biggest challenge ahead of us is to let go of archaic cultures and systems while developing new ones to become agile. The future is here, and as leaders, we need to act on it now! 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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