Blog Post

What does the ‘fourth industrial revolution' mean for HR?

Geoffroy de Lestrange

Southern Europe Marketing Manager, Cornerstone

A dynamic era of change in the world of work will introduce the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industrial Revolution 4.0, which will be shaped by a range of new technologies and innovations that bring us driverless cars, smart robots, Virtual Reality (VR) for the digital world, the Internet of Things (IoT), connected devices, artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing.

Technology is a changing industry and according to Professor Klaus Schwab, the Industrial Revolution 4.0 will bring new opportunities for work and have the potential to connect billions more people to the web as well as drastically improve the efficiency of businesses. These new technologies will impact all disciplines and industries, and even challenge us about what it means to be human.

The Industrial Revolution 4.0 will work faster than previous industrial evolutions due to the use of technology. The biggest change will be in the form of how we work and the jobs we perform today, these will be taken over by robots that will be directed by us, the workers.

In most cases employees will require retraining and new training in learning how to operate new applications, and the challenge for senior management is trying to keeping up with the new trends while running the business.

According to the Future of Jobs summary on the World Economic Forum “By 2020, more than one-third of workers will need skills they don’t now have. While necessary talents can vary, 36% of business jobs will require “complex problem solving” as a core skill.”

HR managers looking to ‘future proof’ their workforce should think about:

  1. Identifying the skills for your industry - Find out about the skillset in your workforce and what the company lacks. Look to harness new digital skills amongst you current employees and look for these skills when recruiting for new employees. As the digital world progresses, demand for employees with strong tech, SEO, digital content and visual designer skills will grow. HR managers need to be aware of specific roles that businesses across the country are struggling to fill so they can train current employees now.
  2. Asking yourself “Are you digitally-focused?” – Some organisations are already trialling 3D printers and drones in order to get ahead of their competitors and keep up with the technological trends. Before looking to attract new digital skilled talent, workforces should be digital focused themselves.

Look at the technology that is used in the workplace daily, printers, computers, and smartphones and ask employees if they know how to use these gadgets and tech items. Perhaps it’s time to invest in trialling new technologies and pave way for how your organisation may work in the future.

  1. Networking and interacting – Companies are changing the way they communicate with internal teams and external clients, therefore workplaces should invest in new forms of communication and collaboration in order to give the management the necessary tools to coordinate virtual teams.

With more choosing to work remotely, a stronger interaction between HR, manager, and employees is required to ensure high levels of productivity and creativity – keeping everyone engaged and connected.

Emerging technology breakthroughs are now occurring more than ever, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring with it technological advancements that allow robots to perform many tasks faster and more efficiently than humans currently do daily. HR need to increase their employees technological capabilities, train your human workforce so they expand their skillset - as well as their management, creativity and emotional intellect which robots will not be able to imitate.

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