November 29, 2016
A new report published by Capita Resourcing claims that 85 percent of employers believe workplace automation will create more jobs than it will replace in their organisation in 10 years’ time. The main benefits to businesses and employees over this period are likely to be enhanced productivity (76 percent) and new skills development (54 percent). The ‘Workplace More Human’ report surveyed the attitudes of 200 business leaders in medium to large organisations and 1,000 full or part time employees. It revealed that the workplace is currently undergoing rapid transformation with over half (54 percent) of employers already automating business processes that were once performed by people. A further 39 percent plan to automate more processes in the next 12 months.
This is prompting a well-documented fear amongst employees that automation will result in widespread redundancies. Whilst 67 percent of employees associate some level of benefit to workplace automation, 72 percent also express concerns such as loss of work (38 percent) and the ‘de-socialisation’ of the workplace (27 percent).
However, the research shows that the extent of fear may be misplaced as business leaders believe that 80 percent of staff will either be retrained to work alongside automation, deployed in other areas or experience no change whatsoever.
Jo Matkin, Managing Director at Capita Resourcing, said; “Automation holds considerable advantages for companies and employees alike. Yet, employee fears and concerns could present a significant barrier to realising its full potential. In order to achieve the perfect blend between human and machine, organisations should involve HR in their automation strategy from day one. This will help to fully understand the potential impact on the workforce and ensure that employee concerns are addressed and managed. Open communication about automation, and reassuring workers of their unique role is critical.
“In an increasingly automated world, the million-dollar question will be how to use the efficiency gained through technology to differentiate your business. Adopting a creative approach to getting human and machine to work together is paramount. In addition, robust skills mapping will become more important in order to attract, retrain and engage the right talent for the future. Savings from efficiency should then be invested to create innovation in the workplace and to tackle future challenges. Early movers that embrace and foster a combination of creativity and technology will gain a significant competitive advantage.”