We can balance the age of abundance with the age of automation in a way that benefits humans as a whole. We just have to think more broadly.
1. We must make our organizations reflect a more connected world
Most businesses are still organized in silos, which are often disconnected and dampen collaboration and cooperative learning. These silos are still propped up by traditional hierarchies. They’re no longer fit for purpose. Digital connectivity and collaboration on a local and global scale have made these traditional forms irrelevant.
2. We need to harness our entire human ecosystem, not just our own workforce
The relationship between a person and their organization is changing. They may be full-time, part-time, contractor, freelancer… This is what we mean by our human ecosystem. Around 18% of the workforce is currently contingent – and firms expect to increase their usage to 25% to 30% or even more within less than 10 years. This begs the question of what organizations will really be offering employees beyond just the basic contract of employment, and where a group purpose becomes particularly important. Matthew Taylor, head of the UK Government review into the gig economy, links the UK’s poor productivity growth to a feeling of dissatisfaction among workers. He cautions that too few positions offer a feeling of “genuine flexibility, being valued and respected, learning and growing ... feeling work has a meaning and purpose,” and this view is supported by the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andy Haldane.
3. We are suffering from digital sicknesses – we need to adapt
The culture of “always on” technology over-usage is causing a rise in mental health issues such as “digital dementia” and “digital stress” from 24/7 work availability. We need to protect our people and help them thrive and survive in the connected world. France has already reacted to this risk, enacting on 1 January 2017 legislation giving workers in organizations with more than 50 employees “the right to disconnect” from the “always-on” work culture enabled by technology.
4. We have to anticipate and develop the skills we will need in the future of the Internet of Things, robotics and AI
If we don’t know what tomorrow’s valuable skills will be, it will be a challenge to train and develop our people today.The B Team’s Arianna Huffington predicts that the “two most essential skills in the new world order [are] creativity and empathy.” Organizations must help to hone them, as there will likely be a premium for these uniquely human attributes that cannot be easily automated or synthesized.