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4 Steps To Fight The War Against Automation

Written By Divyeshwari Singh
The convergence of automation, machine learning, and digitalization have changed how we work. In this uncertain future, reinventing the workforce with training and building the right cultural strategy will help companies thrive. Beware the robots are coming, look out the robots are coming.

Newspaper, television, or any source of communication are all flooded with the impending automation apocalypse. Technology leaders are drumming the thought that automation is going to be the brand new driver of employment, with special mention to India’s million dollar IT industry that employs 4 million people which is around 20% of India’s population.

In years to come, it won’t be surprising to see machines replace our soldiers, maintain our finances independently, interpret our text faster than humans, and the list goes on and on. Machines are already writing articles [no not this one], and the fear is that they will conquer the job world soon.

In the words of Nandan Nilekani, founder, and former CEO Infosys, “It isn’t just software that is changing the world. It is software plus data and algorithms”. But please breathe because the job loss painting is not that barbarous yet since not all experiments with automation have seen a 100% success rate, the failure of implementing and adopting RPA is 30-50%. [1]

The Spirit of Automation on Organizations

From the turn of the century to today, there has been a revolution in technological use in the workplace. There has been a significant change in the way work is organized and managed. The integration of automation in organizations requires an initial investment. However, the return on investment in the form of increased profits is self-explanatory.

In a factory setting robots are now replacing humans in jobs of chemical exposure, welding, blades and more. In an office setting, automation is reducing human error.

Automation is allowing employees to be more productive and give better results by letting them focus on critical tasks and freeing them from the groundwork. The machines have taken over the mundane, monotonous tasks which no one wants to do and hence increasing the productivity of the ones who once did it.

Automating systems have saved time, increased the worker’s morale, which translates into money for the organizations. AI and machines have taken over the routine tasks of the blue and white collars, leaving them enough time to perform the non-routine ones. The combination of automation and organizations have redefined the meaning of the workplace. It is slowly transforming into a hub and capital source for the work providers.

Technologies like AI, cryptocurrency have made headlines in 2017 and will be a part of 2018, but the jackpot is hit when we can guess the three things that will come out of the shadows, grab our attention and fight the battle against automation.

The magic words

New Collar worker

Irrespective of the disruptive Indian job landscapes of 2017, the hiring scenario welcomes New Year with likely addition of two lakh jobs in the industry.

As Modi’s Digital India acquires the centre stage, so does the demand for skill equip workforce, these growth opportunities will add jobs. In fact, AI alone will create 2.3 million jobs by 2020[1] But in order to take advantage of this golden opportunity, companies need to invest in their employees to grow with the relevant skills.

The Indian market is in a state of constant change where mismatched skills is a big challenge. The lifespan of skills is becoming shorter, and employers cannot stand still; upskilling- reskilling is the way out. What an organization aims at is better services, the world never stops to rank and to be cherry on top, requires the taste of continuity and reinvention in the workforce.

Young heads need to look out for lifelong learning and not just a degree that lands them with a job. The future is learning anything, anywhere. The workforce that exhibits eagerness, agility, enthusiasm, and dexterity is the one that survives the battle. This creates the “New Collar” worker, as IBM titles it, amalgamating the existing skill with the evolving ones to survive.

The Right Cultural Strategy

Sometimes it’s a challenge for the organizations to align the culture and strategies to create the desired market image, but then what’s the solution? The right fit for the job. It is these people who not only think strategically but also imbibe cultural attributes.War against automation - Right Strategy

The perfect cultural connect can be achieved by-

  • The priority- the companies objective could be anything from innovation to building an employer brand, carve the priorities before you begin to establish a culture which complements the goals, working backward from your goals gives best results.
  • The value system- this aids your work approach internally as well as externally; for this, the company needs people who are not only culture carriers but also contributors.
  • The right people- As Jack Ma says, “You hire the right person, the best is what you make of them.” For a company to succeed in the long run, this is the most important ingredient. Agile and knowledgeable sustain, the right EQ, and IQ go a long way.
  • The monitoring- to build the perfect strategy to make every employee contribute in their own way, once this process is in sync, it becomes easier to monitor and achieve the bigger goal.

The world is changing and so shall our approach, therefore in order to cope up with the dynamics of strategy and growth the only way is the right hire who can understand your business and change accordingly for the better.

Training and its effectiveness

Organizations have some goals, some ideas in mind. In order to communicate them to the employees training programs, are the best tools. In this era of digitalization, where the objectives are evolving fast, and work has a new found pace, training creates a supportive workplace. It enables the worker to strengthen the skills which need improvement. If weaknesses are addressed, then the employer’s performance improves, which later translates into increased revenue.

Considering that the business world is not still, the competition as well as regulation, everything is changing. A training yesterday may not deliver the same results tomorrow. But it will be a relief if you are able to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the programs and that’s where training effectiveness comes into the picture.

Measuring whether the people have learned and absorbed the teachings of the program is an essential yet daunting task. One of the ways to make it easier is by conducting psychometric assessments. These assessments once conducted, help the organizations to evaluate the learnings of the programs and how well have the employees applied the learnings in their work. Executing the assessments well will give you a clear image of the various parameters and help you make an informed decision.

Training Effectiveness

Decision maker

When you hear that in future all jobs will be automated, the prospects of keeping your job safe seems even more daunting, paying attention to those skills that are not possible to automate does the trick.

For example, decision making is a skill that requires a human touch. As of now, no computer algorithm can replace the intuition that a person has. Critical thinking is still one of the crucial element within the workplace. Good communication is something that humans also fail to master, but if you have the expertise, this translates into value not just for the company but you as well. Communication aids in avoiding errors and motivates organizations towards the specified goal.

Computers can be the problem solvers, but in case of emergencies to take the call is beyond their reach. So the workers have the choice to think out of the box, be steady in the war and hit the bull’s eye with a grin.

Who is right?

Is it the pessimists who say that machine will take over men or the optimists who insist that in the end technology will create more jobs than it destroys? The truth lies in between AI will not lead to mass unemployment, but it will accelerate automation and disrupt labour markets if the needful isn’t done. It is important to make the transition; the choice is yours, Man plus Machine or Machine over man.

Therefore in order to realisze the value of RPA, you need to take full advantage of the benefits such as better data quality and error reduction which will release people from the grunt work making them available for the much-required services.



Topics: Training and Development

Originally published June 19 2019,updated June 29 2019

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