Mercer urges companies to prepare workforce adequately for industrial revolution

By Benjamin Mensah, GNA

Accra, Aug 14,
GNA
– Mercer, a global leading human resources consulting firm, is urging
management and directors of companies to prepare their workforce adequately for
an anticipated change in companies’ operations and productivity, in at least,
the next five years.

Quoting World
Economic Forum estimates, the company reports that more than half of business
executives “believe that one in five jobs will cease to exist in its current
form in the next five years; and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation
will also create 58 million net new jobs by 2022.”

This would
require that companies using traditional methods for business prepare their
workforce to face the new challenges such as the redundancy of staff,
retrenchment, downsizing, redeployment or redefinition of role of various
categories of officers and workers of companies as traditional roles are taken
over by AI.

“Companies and
institutions will have to align work to future value by unlocking growth in the
new world of work, through designing jobs and moving people to where future
value will be created,” Mr Siphiwe Moyo, International Conference Speaker,
Facilitator and Author, advised at the 2019 Ghana Human Resource Summit,
underway in Accra.

Mr Moyo pointed
out that there would be the need to build brand resonance by listening and
learning carefully from data to create a brand proposition that attract the
desired talent a company wants as well as to curate the work experience by
ensuring that employees understand the unique skills and companies they work
for.

“Fifty per cent
of employees expect their companies to provide curated learning,” the Moyo
said, and that requires that work is made simple, intuitive and digitally
enabled to help the workforce grow and thrive.

Also, the new
workplace environment would have to inspire growth and mind-set by redesigning
structures, workflows and talent strategies around the people.

In a panel
discussion on the “Role of HR in Supporting the Future Workforce in the 4th
Industrial Revolution,” moderated by Mr Moyo, Mr Ebenezer Agbettor, Director of
Ghana Institute of Human Resource, said human resource practitioners must be
part of leadership of companies.

Furthermore
they should part of the changes taking place in the workplace rather than the
owners of businesses bringing the change and expecting them to manage the
change.

“You must
ensure that the right competencies are available, ethics sharpened; and with
better communication and inter-personal skills.

“Please,
remember that the emotional side cannot be taken care of by technology, “Mr
Agbettor said, adding that, “a machine can never have that kind of human
feeling.”

Mr Isaac
Sackey, Chief Executive Officer of Learning Organisation, said recruitment must
take into account company needs for the future, stressing strong collaboration
between industry and academia for the development of appropriate curricula that
would suit the demands of the fourth Industrial Revolution.

Mr C C Bruce,
Group Chief Operations Officer, opined that, when managed and effectively
handled, the fourth Industrial Revolution could lead to the creation of more
jobs, but in other areas.

He singled out
that there would be the need to train more personnel in marketing, as new
products emerge in a company as a result of the use of more AI.

The two-day
summit, organised jointly by Mercer and the Ghana Institute of Human Resource
Management Practitioners, is throwing the searchlight on emerging challenges as
business executives anticipate significant disruption, and employees facing
uncertainties and worry about AI and automation replacing their jobs,
engendering a climate of lack of trust in business organisations.

The trending
changes, called  “the fourth industrial
revolution” is the current  and
developing environment in which disruptive technologies and trends such as the
Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, virtual reality (VR) and artificial
intelligence (AI) are changing the way we live and work.

It involves the
use of smartphones, smart cards, smart cars and drones, robots, Social Media
feeds, and electronic devices for music and media streaming devices, video
games, online ads network and navigation and travel.

Some others are
for banking and finance such as Automated Teller Machines (ATM), and smart home
devices for security and surveillance.

Ghana is the
third nation to benefit from the summit as Mercer take the conversation to
African nations. Mercer says it had already been in South Africa and Nigeria,
and expects to be in more African countries.

GNA

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