ST The world of work is changing faster than most of the people realize. More and more people are beginning to work remotely, and large organizations exist with hardly any assets and without even company offices. As technology advances and companies look for more ways to control costs and increase their competitive advantage, people should expect increased interaction with artificial intelligence (AI), job re-engineering, more remote working and a need to find new ways of ensuring meaningful human connections in a virtual culture and world.
The world of work is changing and adapting at speed to catch up with the rapid and continuous advances being made in technology. We are transitioning into an era that has been dubbed 'The Fourth Industrial Revolution' (known as Industry 4.0). The technological age is squeezing out manual labour and it is predicted that by 2020 (only two years away!) over five million jobs will be replaced by automated machines. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released The Future of Jobs report revealing the top skills needed by 2020. Some of these are :
2. Collaborative skills - Effective Communication and Team collaboration.
4. People Management - Inspiring and Coaching people.
6. Judgment & Decision Making - Using data analytics for prediction, insight and action.
How is AI, robotics and automation affecting the employment scenario in India?
However, the biggest challenge would be the education of the workforce. In a survey conducted by Accenture, it has found out that 80% of the executives in India believe that the workforce isn't ready for Artificial Intelligence. In the rest of the world, the same figure is 65%. And in India, very few companies are investing in training the workforce to meet the skill requirements for engaging with AI.
There are statistics that speak a loud about the growing unemployment in the country, so much so that highly qualified individuals are forced to take up meagre jobs to make a livelihood. To avoid any kind of social unrest, how more employment opportunities can be generated?
Is the current HR ecosystem ready to take on the challenges of a highly demanding and dynamic future workforce? How HR should evolve and upgrade its competencies to address this challenge?
This is quite paradoxical. And the real reason is that they are sometimes disappointed with their CHROs. They would like to use their HR heads as sounding boards just as they use their CFOs and rely on their skills of linking people with numbers to diagnose weaknesses and strengths in the organization, find the right fit between people and the jobs and advice on the talent implications of the people strategy. But quite often they find them wanting. They want their CHROs to link HR to real world business needs. They find that their HR heads have difficulty in understanding how business decisions are made and have great difficulty in understanding why people or parts of the organizations aren't performing. They accept that by and large HR people understand the intricacies of compensation, performance management methodologies and IR policies. But have trouble connecting with the business. The people generally complain that HR gets reduced to a mouthpiece of the organization, and don't have the courage to take up their issues with the organization and don't adequately play the role of the credible activist.
ST Technology is going to change how organizations are managed. Consistently contemporary research is suggesting that in an AI age characterized by intense disruption and rapid ambiguous change, we need to rethink the essence of effective leadership. Certain qualities, such as deep domain expertise, decisiveness, authority and short-term task focus are losing their cachet, while others, such as humility, adaptability, vision, and constant engagement are likely to play a key role in more-agile types of leadership. The challenge for HR would be to recruit people who possess the above competencies and further nurture and keep developing them. They have to focus their attention to build organizations whose mind-sets shift from controlling to collaborating and how to make their managers competent in engaging with their employees in coaching conversations.
How do you think young generation should prepare themselves to remain employable and worthy in the age of technological disruption? How can HR and organisations support in this?
HR would become a more strategic function. And HR managers would be recognized in creating value for their organizations.