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Get the right formula for net zero unemployment.

by Katie Gibbs | 2 mins read

There is no shortage of doomsday-style coverage on the ‘rise of the machines’, this headline grabbing narrative has been delivered in increasing volume for the last decade.  

The story generally centres around the number of jobs that will be replaced by robots by a certain date (which looms ever-closer) and frankly seems designed to instil fear in everyone from business owners, who may not have even started their automation journey and employees who become convinced their days of meaningful employment are numbered, to customers who see a future devoid of human contact! 

But like many things, that’s not the whole story. 

The more accurate story is probably less headline worthy but certainly less scaremongering. Here’s the way we see it and why we felt compelled to create a manifesto - a public commitment to our people-centric approach which you can link to at the end of this blog:

  • We don’t subscribe to the human vs machines narrative and instead focus on how new and emerging technology, like AI, can maximise the benefits and skills of both people and machines, working together to deliver brilliant experiences for customers, partners and employees. Are your senior team aligned on the expectations of technology in your business and how it can support your workforce?  
  • Automation is not always the answer to the question of how to improve businesses – but it is, in most cases, a critical component of the discussion. Ask yourself what role technology has to play in your business now and in the future and what are your expectations from it – are you just assuming less people and more machines means cutting costs?   
  • Not all sectors or roles will be effected equally.  Recent analyst reports put the likelihood of automation at just over 1% for CEO roles but up to 50% for food preparation. Creative industries will be much less effected than say, insurance. Look at successful businesses – how is advanced technology allowing them to disrupt and lead their sector? What can you learn to leapfrog to the front of your sector? 
  • In many cases, machines will do jobs that humans are simply growing tired of doing – flipping burgers, packing boxes, processing endless identical forms – the menial and repetitive tasks.  Do you know what those tasks or roles are in your business and have you considered when and how they will transition to automation? 
  • If machines and humans are going to work successfully together, you need to have a transparent and open dialogue with your people on the automation roadmap and how they will be impacted. What roles will become blocked by automation and what does that mean for wages and entry-level points for the people into your business? 

The fact is that some automation is not only inevitable but necessary as competition increases, a new, younger, digitally native workforce enters the job market and customer demand for simple, frictionless and personalised experiences increases.  

So the rush to automation has to be taken with a people-first pragmatism. How will the people at the heart of your business be effected? And how can a thoughtful, planned strategy mitigate the ‘them or us’ approach and manage the process seamlessly? 

The Emergence approach uses a combination of advanced AI technology and small, agile teams to develop and sustain automation solutions that deliver continued cost savings and service improvements across countless processes. 

But it isn’t all about cost ROI. Rather than representing a threat to the workforce, robots should be thought of as a complementary workforce, working together with people to help them improve their performance and focus their time on other, higher-priority tasks, strategy and innovation.   

Ultimately, robotics and automation is enabling people to work better, smarter and more creatively to deliver higher quality customer experiences. 

So, whether it’s your first step on the digital transformation journey or you’re halfway there, talk to us about how a human-first strategy will ensure you end up doing things better for your people, customers and shareholders and that the machines help you do it.