Undoubtedly, machines already have and will continue to replace certain jobs in our workforce. In fact, McKinsey and Co.’s “Four Fundamentals of Workplace Automation” estimates that roughly half of the activities people perform at work today could be done by technology. While some people may fear the possibilities of automation, the reality is that it’s coming whether we like it or not. And if companies can learn how to leverage automation to their benefit, they’ll be more successful than their counterparts who want to stay frozen in fear and remain unprepared.
That same McKinsey study found that even high-paying occupations such as financial managers and CEOs have a fair share of their daily activities that could be automated as well. So what does that mean for today’s CEO? What do you need to understand so you can use automation to your benefit and continue to grow your business in the face of these changes? Here’s the three-step action every CEO needs in order to be prepared for workplace automation.
Step #1: Know The Benefits
If you want to prepare for the future, you need to understand it. So often, fear can keep businesses stuck in the past, playing small, afraid to make any sudden moves. But if you have a better understanding of what automation can do for you, you’ll be better prepared to leverage those benefits. By far one of the greatest benefits to automation is a reduction in labor costs. Today’s machines are capable of replicating certain day-to-day tasks in even the highest-paid occupations, which frees up senior executives to focus on work of higher value—things like big-picture planning and creative thinking that so far, machines aren’t capable of.
But beyond cutting labor costs, automation can also streamline processes and make your company more efficient, which all benefit your bottom line. Improved operations save you time and money, and also boost your company’s overall reputation in their market. Plus, by automating specific tasks within an employee’s role, you free them up to spend more time on meaningful tasks, which contributes to their job satisfaction. These are just the initial benefits to workplace automation, and they already save you time and money while boosting morale. It’s easy to see that when it comes to new technology automation has to offer, it pays to be an early adapter. Educate yourself on the benefits of automation now so you can jump into step two which is to…
Step #2: Strategize On Software And Job Roles
There are several elements that will go into creating a strategic plan for how your company will utilize workplace automation. Develop a specific plan that includes both tactical and strategic opportunities for the company, including ways for your employees to work better—and more closely—with automated technologies. This may include measures on how to choose the right software, because after all, not all automated technology is created equally. Think of how important you consider hiring and finding the right talent; that same philosophy can apply to the technology you choose to implement. You’ll want to vet different software to see which makes the most sense for your company.
You’ll also want to re-evaluate job roles. Incorporating more automated processes into your organization will necessitate some changes to employee’s day-to-day tasks. Ask yourself this: which types of tasks in which roles could be automated? How would this benefit both the employee and the company overall? As CEO, it’s important that you make it clear that automating parts of people’s day does not mean they can be replaced. Be sure your employees know how much you value them and that they will benefit from automation, too.
McKinsey outlines in “Four Fundamentals of Workplace Automation” some pertinent examples of just how much employees will benefit. For example, in the banking industry, mortgage-loan officers will potentially spend much less time processing paperwork and more time reviewing exceptions—allowing them to spend more time directly advising their clients. And in the healthcare field, diagnosing routine ailments could be partially automated, which would free up doctors to focus on more acute or unusual cases. The truth is, if you’re leveraging automation properly, it should free up your employees to do more meaningful work—not replace them.
Step #3: Hire People That Know About Automation
After you’ve educated yourself on the benefits of automation and developed a plan on how you’ll implement it and what technologies you’ll use, you need to think about your hiring strategy going forward. Automation is only going to continue to permeate the workforce, and you can either see it as a friend or foe. With future hires, you should plan on evaluating them for their familiarity with different technologies and automated processes. Are they familiar with the software you’ve implemented? Are they open to working with machines and not trying to compete against them?
If you don’t currently have the right people in place that can interface with AI and understand it, it needs to be a part of your hiring strategy going forward. Redefining roles within your organization and hiring people that can fit into those newly shaped roles will be critical to your company’s success.
The potential for workplace automation is vast; as CEO, you need to know the specific ways in which your company—and individual employees—could benefit from automating different tasks. By arming yourself with the right information, drawing up a specific plan, and having future hiring processes that reflect your automation-friendly attitude, you’ll ensure your company’s success throughout the technological changes to come.
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About the Author
Matthew J. Schwartz is the Founder, President and CEO of MJS Executive Search with nearly two decades of experience in retained executive search. Matt’s expertise lies in bringing together key executives that exhibit passion and creativity with leading organizations in a wide range of functional areas such as Marketing, Sales, Digital, Interactive and more. From Digital and Social media to Machine Learning and AI, Matt is passionate about cutting edge technologies and is dedicated using his knowledge to help his clients remain or become leaders in their realm.
Founded in 2003, MJS Executive Search has established itself as a top retained executive search firm that identifies and places unique, hard to find executives in highly specialized roles.
If you are interested in learning more about our Transformational Talent™ solutions, contact MJS Executive Search today to learn more about how we can help your organization. www.mjsearch.com
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