We all know that digital technology is everywhere in the workplace, but does it really change the way we work? The answer is a resounding “yes!” Yet according to a study by the Technical University of Munich, 64% of respondents worldwide admit to not having the skills necessary for digital transformation.
Their concerns are valid. Oxford University examined 700 job descriptions across all job types and found that 47% were likely to be replaced by technology within a decade. Another 19% were moderately likely to be replaced. With that in mind, part of the challenge in digital transformation is anticipating how people will work in this world and how AI, robots, and people will be integrated into a new and more efficient workforce. How will people interact with these digital forces in the workplace?
In the digital continuum below, the evolution of the workforce begins to bring clarity to expected opportunities for transformation and potential areas of need for your workforce.
It is worth identifying where you and your organization sit on the continuum of digital transformation. Where are you now? Where do you want to be and when? Where will technology and competition drive you? What leadership and workforce capabilities are needed to support your roadmap?
As you develop your future workforce, here are some key implications to address:
- Jobs will change—and some kinds of jobs will go away. While recent studies show that automation and machine talent will replace existing workers, that doesn’t mean those jobs are gone forever—just that human/machine collaboration will increase and that workers will need to continuously learn new digital and analytical skills.
- How and where we work will change. Technology allows people to work from almost anywhere. Workers may rarely go into an office or meet their managers in person, and collaboration with people in different countries will likely increase. Employees will need to consistently learn new skills to keep up with constant change, and employee engagement and adoption will be the ultimate testament to a company’s return on technology investment.
- The digital workforce of the future will require different leadership. Executives and managers must learn to lead a more remote workforce and engage employees differently. Leaders must also learn to lead by example—embracing a digital mindset themselves and making decisions based on data.
- Teaching and learning in the workplace will change significantly. Learning will be just in time, constant, and personalized. Learners will be able to design their own journey based on the skills required by their jobs—in real-time. Careers will be managed differently and companies will compete hotly for new global talent.
Often, the largest value comes from using technology in a disruptive manner and changing business models. As business model transformation can be proactive or reactive, equally the workforce needs to respond in an agile and nimble manner. A deliberate strategy will allow you to be more responsive to disruption.
The topic of digital is still not well understood by many, in particular as it relates to the workforce. How or if we make transformation desirable will determine success short and long term.