Shaping a Workforce of Bots and Bosses

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Artificial intelligence. Robotic process automation (RPA). Machine learning. Cognitive platforms. Today's advances in intelligent automation (IA) technology have the power to create smarter enterprises and accelerate organizational performance.

However, this new class of emerging technologies also brings with it complex people and organizational implications. While it’s uncertain the extent intelligent automation will have on job replacement, there’s no doubt that jobs themselves will change, in terms of the tasks humans do versus those undertaken by machines. Forrester predicts that "automation will change every job category by at least 25 percent."

As they deploy IA, organizations may need to redefine how they teach and train employees, where they source talent from, how they keep the workforce engaged through technology disruption, and even what the shape and size of the workforce looks like. How will organizations deal with such massive workforce disruption?

Clearly, a key to realizing the potential benefits of IA is a strong focus on the people agenda—and the human resources (HR) function has an essential role to play. We interviewed early adopters of IA to uncover practical advice for people leaders to help organizations prepare for changes brought about by intelligent automation deployment and successfully transition to the workforce of the future.

As a leader, here’s how you can assist with this transition:

  • Assess the broad impact of intelligent automation on the workforce: Engage in an organization-wide process of understanding how the workforce will evolve in terms of skills, numbers, type, etc., as well as how specific workforce processes will be change. Consider both opportunities and potential pain points.
  • Transform jobs forecasting and planning: Embrace agile workforce shaping, a structured yet agile approach to determine the appropriate shape and size of the workforce that incorporates all elements—e.g., employed vs. contingent, human vs. digital, career ladder vs. career lattice, etc.
  • Help people transition: Proactively manage and engage with people as you transition to the workforce of the future. Develop transition strategies to manage the disruption to the workforce and support people in re-skilling themselves for new roles.

To learn more about intelligent automation and its impact on the workforce of the future, access the full insights paper, Rise of the humans. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #RiseoftheHumans.

This piece, originally posted here, was republished with permission from KPMG LLP. It was written by David Brown, Global Head of Shared Services & Outsourcing, KPMG LLP.