By Thornton May
Futurist, Senior Advisor with GP, Executive Director & Dean - IT Leadership Academy
History tells us a couple of things. Most agree that human capital is the bedrock of local and national success. In an age of cheap money human capital has become more important than financial capital. There are a variety of forces at work disrupting how human capital is created and managed.
Disruption #1: Automation
In 1930 economist John Maynard Keynes said we should embrace automation predicting the working week would shrink to 15 hours by 2030, with the rest of our time spent trying to live “wisely, agreeably and well”.
In 2013 Carl Frey and Michael Osborne of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology at the University of Oxford looked at 702 types of work and ranked them according to how easy it would be to automate them. They found that just under half of all jobs in the US could feasibly be automated.
New technologies are currently replacing all kinds of workers, from clerks to welders, cooks and caretakers and will replace more in the future, from drivers to paralegals.
What role does /what role should the CHRO and the Human resources department play in managing the accelerating automation of work?
Disruption #2: The Über-Enabled
Technology provides a massive boost to the productivity of some highly skilled workers, allowing them to do work that it might previously have taken many more people to accomplish. Technology enables small teams of money managers to run vast funds; it is increasingly allowing highly skilled instructors to build courses that can be taken and retaken by millions of students, potentially replacing hundreds or even thousands of lecturers. New technology is allowing fewer doctors and nurses to observe and treat many more patients, fewer lawyers to pore over vastly more trial-related evidence and fewer researchers to sift through massive amounts of data and test more hypotheses more quickly.
Who in your organization is thinking about the consequences of the Über-Enabled on your workforce?
Disruption #3: The Over-the-Line Angry
There is now a name for it “office rage.” Work can be frustrating and some don’t cope so well. Some organizations are building “rage rooms”. Battle Sports in Toronto, Canada, opened its Rage Room in July 2015.Work-related stress cost Australian business AUD$10 billion a year, according to a 2013 study.
What are you doing to “dial down” workplace stress and anger?
Disruption #4: A Shortage of Meaningful Work
In 2014, the Conference Board Job Satisfaction Survey reported, for the eighth time in a row, that less than half of Americans are satisfied with their jobs. What are you doing to make sure that your employees find meaning in the workplace?
Disruption #5: Leadership Development Vacuum
In the 19th and 20th centuries the U.S. became the richest country because it had the most schooling and the best circumstances to help people develop their own capacities.
In the Global 1000, only 36 percent called leadership a strength in their organizations. Most organizations put the responsibility on employees to improve, or on current leaders to train their teams. Employers expect their employees to attend leadership training events, take a development course or find a mentor to advance their skills and careers.
A recent Gallup Poll found that just 18 percent of current managers had the talent required for the role. Just 15 percent of the Global 1000 had development programs their employees felt effectively prepared them for their next role.
What are you doing to fill the leadership development vacuum?