Workforce transformation affects all aspects of business and companies must plan for the impact it is having and will continue to have on operations. Nicol Myburgh, Head of the HR Business Unit at CRS Technologies, says the evolving business landscape means companies must start thinking now about the skills they need for the future.
There are currently two major catalysts driving workforce transformation.
The first revolves around modern generations and their preferences for work. Generation X thrives on freedom and responsibility in the workplace. For generation Y, work-life balance is a top priority, along with work satisfaction and developing lasting relationships with people who matter. While Generation Z prefers individual tasks over team-based work activities, they also value physical connection and prefer independence rather than isolation.
Secondly, technology development is having a significant impact on workforce transformation. As automation becomes more prevalent in business and people’s lives, certain jobs are becoming redundant while new ones are being created. Additionally, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is pointing to a merger between technology and how people work and live their lives.
“It must be remembered, however, that people do not drive technology. Instead, technology drives people. Technology is the only way companies can gain a competitive edge. New technology is being developed daily, but it is meaningless if it is not implemented,” says Myburgh.
Moreover, just as technology drives business, so are people driven by business. “Everyone wants to be paid at the ed of the month and if a company decides to implement new technology, the workforce has no choice but to accept it.”
On the other side of the coin, the argument could be made that people drive technology.
“An example of this is the CRS Technologies’ Engage resource management and reporting tool. This is driven by the employers and employees who use it and is geared to making users’ lives easier without making them redundant.”
According to a Deloitte study, to attract modern employees, companies must offer vigorous training and leadership development with a tangible focus on diversity.
“Organisations must change how they recruit, retain, and develop talent,” says Myburgh. “Besides hiring smart, talented people, this can be achieved through the establishment of internal apprenticeship programmes, multifaceted career paths, and by matching projects with the required skills sets.”
To this end, companies can take certain steps to help employees adapt to and embrace this continual change occurring.
“In today’s business environment no one can afford to be resistant to change because change is constant. Any opposers (it is usually those who have been working a certain way for many decades that find it difficult to adapt) must be excluded because they will become an obstruction to the business by actively working against the change management seeks to introduce.”
Throughout this, communication is key. Management should be completely transparent about any change they plan to introduce so that all employees know what to expect, including the implications and consequences of the change. Any uncertainty could lead to resistance and it is therefore important to ensure that everyone has clarity on what is taking place.
“Change happens extremely quickly. Technological innovation can change the face of an industry almost instantaneously. Companies need to see it coming and be ready for it when it happens. Hold strategy sessions to find out what developments and innovations are on the cards. Business leaders need to identify innovations in the space in which they operate, including who their competitors are and what they are doing. Equally important is to keep an eye on some of the more unique developments on the horizon. This will ensure competitors are constantly striving to catch up with you rather than the other way around,” Myburgh concludes.