Mythbusting the Threats of Digital Disruption
June 12, 2018 marketing.seoworld_11831
But when it comes to digital disruption and the effect it has on the workforce, there are some serious myths at play. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Myth 1 – Robots will entirely replace your workforce
There’s no doubt that jobs are disappearing. But for many roles, digital disruption will mean a change in focus rather than job loss. Automation, AI and robotics will take over the more manual repeatable tasks workers complete, freeing up their time for critical thinking and strategic planning.
As Dominic Barton, global managing partner of consulting firm McKinsey and Company says in a recent media report, “For 60% of jobs, 30% of the activities are automatable.”
Myth 2 – There will be massive unemployment
While some roles are becoming redundant, there is in an increasing shortage in others. As with every other industrial revolution, this age of digital disruption means there is a demand for different skills, not less skills.
The Global Talent Crunch study by Korn Ferry International shows that by 2030, there will be a major global skills crisis with up to 85.2 million unfilled jobs worldwide.
In Australia, the National Australia Bank (NAB) is an interesting example of changing skills. The bank is in the process of retrenching 6,000 staff as it moves through a digital transformation. The cutbacks are getting a lot of negative press, especially as the bank continues to post multi-billion dollar profits. But it’s not all bad news – the NAB has also created 2,000 new jobs through the transformation. Almost half of these new recruits will start immediately as technology experts help the bank shift into the new era.
Myth 3 – Industry experience will save your workforce
Industry experience is no longer the most important thing for workers. Adaptability and a willingness to learn and keep on learning for the duration of their career is equally necessary.
The most powerful tools an employer has are the people who will rise to the challenge of digital disruption. They’re the continuous learners who will be ready for what comes next, not just what’s happening now – regardless of whether they have 0, 10 or 15 years’ experience.
Consider non-formal experience as well. There’s a lot to be said for the sales person with no technical work experience but who dabbles in code or has a passion for sustainability. These sort of self-motivated learners can be a goldmine of innovative ideas.
How organisations can adapt to the changes
Digital disruption brings a new way of thinking about how companies hire, train and retain their staff. New challenges require new methods such as:
- Hiring for core skills such as social intelligence and technical literacy.
- Building a culture of learning with personalised programs.
- Breaking down traditional silos by encouraging cross-training.
- Rewarding employees who are actively reskilling.
The real danger of digital disruption doesn’t come from technology replacing people, it comes from people not adapting to the technology.
We’ve seen examples in the music, taxi and publishing industries where laggards have failed to adapt and lost their competitive edge. Digital disruption is not a revolution to resist, for you and your workforce, but an evolution to embrace. It is just the beginning.