Last year Chad Harrison International investigated the adjustments CEOs need to make in order to adapt to the modern working environment. Today, as technology has advanced that little bit further, we investigate how Industry 4.0 is impacting the boardroom. We discuss how it is affecting talent acquisition and find out how boards can leverage the power of technology and use it to their advantage.
What is Industry 4.0?
Where steam power was the driving force behind the industrial revolution and computers have introduced a new way of working, the Internet of Things (IoT) will provide the next industrial revolution. The fourth industrial revolution, better known as Industry 4.0 is a digital transformation that is affecting every level of business, from automated marketing to autonomous robotic manufacturing.
The basic principle of Industry 4.0 is to create intelligent networks across the organisational chain. Utilising the power of connectivity to responsively resolve issues as well as streamlining processes to increase return on investment. These changes will begin to reshape the business, economic and workforce landscapes over the next 10-15 years.
How is industry 4.0 affecting talent acquisition?
In a report by Boston Consulting Group, entitled ‘Man and Machine in Industry 4.0’, it argues that companies who adopt technological advancements during the next decade will experience significant productivity gains. Whilst some jobs will be lost, others will be created and the level of cooperation between humans and machines will increase significantly.
The jobs that are lost will be simple, repetitive, manual labour roles, whilst new roles will be created in R&D and include human interface design, industrial engineers and simulation experts.
This will, therefore, have an impact on talent acquisition over the next decade. Organisations will be looking for more of the aforementioned soft skills compared to the manual labour, hard skills which currently make up a major part of the workforce in manufacturing and heavy industries.
Organisations will have to engage in workforce planning and adopt new work models in order to retain and attract in-demand skill-sets. This will encourage companies to work more closely with schools and universities as well as governments. They must also be able to retrain employees in other areas to ensure they have a workforce capable of keeping pace with technological advancements.
Understandably, recruitment will play a significant part in Industry 4.0 and organisations would benefit from adapting their talent acquisition strategy. Since it may take longer for education institutions to tailor courses to suit the working landscape; qualifications will not be the defining feature in a candidate’s application. A large percentage of the workforce will have completed qualifications many years ago so it is a candidate’s capability which will take front and centre.
Ability will be the key driver in talent acquisition. Candidates that have adapted and upskilled throughout their careers are likely to be the ones in high demand. However, there is a high probability that the top candidates will be in short supply and it will be a candidate driven market at the technical specialist and management level.
Organisations will have to consider candidates from other sectors who have transferable skills. To do this, they will need to engage in strategic talent acquisition planning; working closely with brand ambassadors and headhunters to identify the right type of talent for the business.
Companies could also face a knowledge vacuum, as older generations retire and graduates lack practical experience, there is a squeeze on the middle to train and upskill current employees.
The effects of industry 4.0 on the boardroom
Board members play a crucial role in adopting a strategic talent acquisition plan that negates these issues. It’s important that leadership at the top looks at both the internal training structure as well as external hiring programmes. Board members and CEOs who lead companies through Industry 4.0 play a crucial role in determining the organisational structure, context and direction that employees will take.
Industry 4.0 leaders, therefore, will have to be knowledgeable about how technology will impact both their company’s systems and processes as well as the impacts on their workforce. Early adopters of new technologies are likely to have dynamic ‘E-leaders’ at the helm. However, the struggle for established CEOs and board members is that in order to survive, like their employees, they must also upskill and adopt new technological offerings.
Harnessing the power of Industry 4.0
Beside talent acquisition, in order to harness the power of Industry 4.0 organisations would benefit from appointing e-leaders that understand the future landscape and a strong understanding of technology.
Practically, this includes the implementation of information and communication systems that provide analytical and valuable insights into workforce management as well as productivity reporting. This should be demonstrated by building an awareness of digital opportunities; create specific ideas and capabilities to harness a company vision; leverage a digital culture that transcends all levels of the business which enables leaders in each sector to make decisions and deliver results as per the company vision.
Industry 4.0 represents a tumultuous shift for organisations globally. Undoubtedly it will have an enormous impact on talent acquisition and workforce management. Job losses will be apparent in manual operative positions but organisations may also find it difficult to recruit candidates with the right skill sets.
Organisations that experience success during the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies and processes will inevitably plan their talent acquisition strategies accordingly, working with brand ambassadors and consultants to identify the right skill sets required.