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Now more than ever, companies’ operations are becoming automated. This trend shows no signs of slowing down.
In an age when everything is becoming automated, you cannot afford to be trapped in the past with outdated production techniques. With the enhanced production automation promises of industry today, why should you? The transformation, however, can be a chaotic process if not handled with the proper level of care to ensure that there is a smooth transition. One of the key elements to focus on is your workforce.
Human beings are naturally resistant to change even when it is inevitable because they would rather stay in the old, known, safe world rather than venture out blindly. The question on every employee’s mind during automation implementation 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 planning for the near future.
You will need your elder invaluable employees who are deeply skilled in the operations of your company but you will also need new talent who are digitally fluent to cement the transition.
It would be nice to wake up one day and find that all of your 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 job done without human intervention. The human and the robotic aspects of the automation process need to be a well integrated element of your process to yield the highest level of productivity.
However, with the fast pace at which digitization is unfolding, there is a widening gap between the digital skills available in the market and the skills needed by the organizations to fully automate.
Young people currently graduating are leaving training institutions without technical training, which is 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 a digital transition.
Finally, you need to recruit new talent technologically equipped for a technology driven future.
Even with the digitization craze, it is important to remember that for a smooth transition, you will need an experienced generation of employees for several critical reasons.
Consistent quality– When you get an entirely new workforce for your organization, the quality of your product can drastically change for better or for worse. This may cost you customers who are well acquainted with 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. This may be a key element of your organization’s success or relationships with clients.
The hiring cost– For every employee you bring to the organization, you incur a hiring cost. 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 your 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, or quality of work-life.
With 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 strong educational background make good candidates. Ensuring you pick out employees who are loyal and most likely to stay longer with the organization is also critical.
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. The dynamic of digital space creates and inevitable need for the tech-savvy.
You need to recruit fresh young graduates to spark change. This might sound simple for you to accomplish if you are a silicon valley company that every millennial wants to work for, but if you are not, you need to devise a strategy to become just as attractive.
E-recruitment, college mentorship programs, and external agencies are just but a few ways to engage contact with fresh talent. This, however, is no guarantee that you will find market-ready candidates for your organization. Therefore, you need to develop a strategy to bridge the gap.