Now more than before more companies are becoming automated. The shift towards automation is a result of workers’ generational changes.
In this age when everything is getting automated, you cannot afford to be trapped in the past using old production techniques. With the increased production automation promises, why should you? The transformation, however, can be a chaotic process if not handled carefully to ensure that there is a smooth transition. One of the key areas to focus on is your workforce.
Human beings are naturally resistant to change even when it is inevitable mostly because they would rather stay in the old known safe world rather than venture out blindly. The question in every employee’s mind during any automation process is, ‘is my role in this company going to be taken up by a machine?’
As the workforce worries about a looming ‘robot apocalypse,’ your worries as a company or the employer are very different. You are worried about having a skilled workforce capable of running the smart factory you are envisioning in the near future.
You will need your elder invaluable employees who are deeply skilled in the operations of your company but you also need new talent digitally fluent to cement the transition.
An ideal situation is when you wake up one day to find that all tour employees are conversant with the new software and the new pieces of automated hardware. However, there is no flip switch and the transition is a process.
How then, do you reconcile the two viewpoints between the employer and the employees? To make the transition smoothly without it becoming a crisis, you can use these three strategies.
Even the best of the machines cannot get the work done without human intervention. The human and the robotic aspects of the automation process need to be integrated into the process to yield the highest level of productivity.
However, with the fast pace at which digitization is happening, there is a widening gap between the digital skills available in the market and the skills needed by the organizations to fully automate.
The young people currently graduating are leaving training institutions without technical training creating a digital skills shortage.
As an organization, therefore, you must devise a plan to bridge this gap by retaining the skilled and experienced workforce you already have. This will be made possible by retraining them to equip them with the digital skills they need to make the digital transition.
Finally, you need to recruit new talent technologically equipped for the technological future.
Even with the digitization craze, it is important to remember that for a smooth transition, you will need the older generation of employees for several reasons.
Consistent quality– when you get an entirely new workforce for your organization, the quality of your product can drastically change for the better or for worse costing you customers who are used to your brand. For this reason, you need to retain your experienced workforce to ensure the consistency of your brand.
Organization culture– when people have been working in your organization for long enough, they develop a distinct working culture that sets you aside from other organizations. It could be the way they relate with clients or something else like that.
The hiring cost– for every employee you bring to the organization, you have to incur a hiring cost for the process. On top of this, you also have to induct or train the employee so that they can be fully integrated into the organization. Retaining familiar employees spares you this cost.
These are just a few reasons why retention is a good strategy for you as an organization. People, however, are not something you can physically bind into your organization.
You need to provide them with a reason to stay with you by offering them competitive remuneration packages, better welfare, friendly work schedules, and quality of work-life just to name a few retention strategies.
With the automation fever kicking in, you will need to retrain your employees to mitigate the threat of obsolescence of your employees’ skills.
Retraining helps enables you to keep updating the skillsets of your employees to take up automated tasks. The management needs to identify potential employees for training.
Employees with a good education background make good candidates make great candidates. Ensuring you pick out employees who are loyal and most likely to stay longer with the organization is also key in this process.
Once you have established the candidates for training, the next important step is developing appropriate training models. You have to decide the most ideal model for the training.
Retaining and retraining are good strategies but they do not fully bridge the skilled labor gap. With the dynamic digital space, the need for tech-savvy is inevitable.
You need to recruit fresh young graduates to spark the change. This might sound simple for you to do if you are one of those companies in silicon valley that every millennial wants to work in but if you are not, you need to devise a strategy to get this done.
E-recruitment, college mentorship programs, external agencies are just but a few ways to make contact with the fresh talent. This, however, is no guarantee that you will find job market-ready candidates for your organization. You, therefore, need to develop a strategy to bridge the gap.