Technology Will Change Work and Your Business

Recently I wrote an article titled, The Future of Work – Are you Ready, where I discussed the impact of technology on jobs, the workplace and how work would be accomplished in the future.  An important statement in that article was “…nearly two-thirds of all jobs could have a significant part – at least 30% – of their activities automated by 2030.” and “ … about half of all work activities globally have the technical potential to be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies…”   In other words, rapid advances in technology will not only change how work is done; it will change jobs and change the skills needed to perform those jobs.  If that isn’t eye-opening enough for you consider a Dell Study that states “85% of the jobs that will be available in 2030 are not available today.”

What exactly does this mean to you?

The current labor shortage is hindering growth, performance, productivity, and profitability.  Business is turning work away, hiring less qualified and even unqualified individuals to perform skilled work and other less than desirable practices.  Turnover is high as businesses battle one another by increasing wages and other unsustainable methods.  Add to that the future need for what we call STEM workers, (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and the less than desirable numbers who are pursuing an education in those areas and the problem become clear.  Business is going to suffer unless it figures out how to address the technology and workforce issues; it is now and will continue to face.

Think what you will – technology impacts your business

You may be thinking, “I don’t hire technology workers because I am a metal fabrication shop” or a Retailer, a service company, etc.  My response to that objection is a question – how do the majority of people apply for jobs?  Further, what is trending in job application procedures?  According to multiple sources, the primary means of job application across all generations is the Internet with the dominant way being mobile devices and the next being computer applications.  You are in some way shape or form using technology to secure workers.

More commonly will be what jobs you have internally now versus how technology will change those jobs in the future.  Even if you believe you are not using technology today, you are.  Most people use some form of word processing, spreadsheet, calendar or database application.  New enhanced versions of these have replaced older ways of performing the tasks these support because it is more efficient and accurate to use these new tools.  Ten years ago these tools looked and operated quite differently than they do today.  What will they look like ten years from now?  Will, they even exist in their present form and what other technology will you have to know to use them?

Adapting to these newer technological ways of doing things will take time and effort.  Some steps your business can take to prepare for this are:

Know what you are getting in to.  Don’t just buy it because it’s new and shiny.  Understand what it can do, what it might do and what your business has to do to make that happen.  Make certain it fits your business

Train Your Workforce. Not everyone in your company will know how to use technology.  You have to train them, help them get through the fear of “newness” and support their learning

Anticipate and think about tomorrow.  Think about the technology you are obtaining.  Is it just cool stuff or does it add value?  What impact will it have on work and productivity?

Measure the impact of technology. Understanding the value it brings to your business because a salesperson told you that it is one thing.  Measuring the value against your real activity and performance is another.  Ensure that the results are there and if not evaluate what you can do to obtain those results.

Taking the time NOW to plan for the inevitable will help ensure your workforce can adapt, and as a result, your company can thrive in the developing technological environment.  Not acting and not planning could be a disastrous move on your part resulting in increased cost and potentially the loss of your business.