Let's disrupt the disruptors, just for a moment please!

09 May 2017

Cristian Ulloa , National Leader, People Advisory |

We are starting to see more examples of technology's role in disrupting the workplace. The world as we know it is changing at an even faster pace. The escalating focus on digitisation and automation will continue at an ever increasing rate as technology continues to improve. In my two part series, I will share some current thoughts and trends that are shaping the future of our workforce.

Current state of play

I’ve attended some key events lately that touch on the future of our workforce. The ones that stood out were with the CEO of Seek, and Dr Stefan Hajkowicz of CSIRO. What resonated with me, is the current speed and momentum at which technology is dehumanising workforce. Yet, it was apparent there is an inconsistency across industries as to what the future will look like.

Robots are no longer coming, they are here!

It’s no longer a simple solution to replace transactional roles and feel prepared. Technology is now extending further to personalisation! Automation of customer service positions where artificial intelligence is replacing human interaction with clever algorithms is in full swing. An example of this is now branded Amelia. The robot ‘intelligent personal assistant’ technology platform capable of analysing natural language, understanding the context of conversations, applying logic, resolving problems and even sensing emotions.

What should you consider now?

Organisations will need to consider future scenarios that they will need to seek out capabilities, not people, to achieve business outcomes. A more flexible and agile interaction is required that focuses on results and not a structured process. The process itself needs to be flexible and adaptive to remain competitive.

So many questions, you are the answer!

But what if everyone banished their workforce with automation? Would data scientists, and data analytics skills need to be replaced? What is our final stronghold before we automate ourselves completely out of work?

It's us! Our creativity, our vision, our willingness or unwillingness to change. Governments will need to dictate the pace of change or find that work as we know it will be replaced completely.

The transition will be interesting, we will need to continue to evolve and adapt. I remember walking through a factory floor of an automobile manufacturer in the late 1980s and more recently through the Audi factory in Germany. The significant use of robots was incredible and the reduction in people on the factory floor startling. No doubt this will continue in all areas of work.

Industries will grow, Life will change

Entertainment and tourism will grow, as our lifestyles change. People will seek out new ways to replace their lack of ‘work’. We will need to govern ourselves based on what our health and entertainment needs require. People will need to find hobbies and areas of interest to help replace our traditional working contributions. Maybe technology will allow us more time to care and engage with our ageing population?

The future of our workforce is both fascinating and frightening. As we continue to disrupt we may need to pause and consider our future. What are some of your predictions and industry examples of how technology is changing things? Share some thoughts below, or connect with me to explore more ideas and opportunities.

Want to get ahead now?

BDO’s Human Capital team helps clients with end-to-end strategy and execution, or can assist with more targeted operational and project requirements. Your people are one of your most valuable strategic assets. Businesses should now consider improving employee productivity and engagement though innovative (yet pragmatic) workforce solutions. Be ready now for the future, before it’s too late.

Please connect with me to hear more about workforce planning strategies or to discuss ideas how to futureproof your workforce.