The world of AI, robotics and cognitive computing are changing business even faster than we thought. JPMorgan Chase & Co now uses software to perform the mind-numbing job of interpreting commercial loans, reducing 360,000 hours of lawyer time each year. AI software can now identify leukemia in photos and X-rays, learning faster than technicians. Amazon.com reduced new hire training to only two days because of its newest robotics used in shipping. And the stories go on and on.
Is this real and widespread around the world? The answer is yes, and the pace is quickening.
Our just-released research (Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2017) shows that companies are not waiting for such technology to be perfected: they are implementing it now. Thirty-eight percent of companies in our new research (10,400 respondents from 140 countries) believe that robotics and automation will be “fully implemented” in their company within five years , and 48% of these companies say their projects are going “excellent or very well.”
Will this technology create massive unemployment? Are we entering a “jobless” economy where only software engineers and designers have jobs?
Our research says no. Among the companies we surveyed, 77% believe automation results in “better jobs,” 50% are investing in retraining workers to work side-by-side with machines and 33% expect people to do “more human tasks” augmented by robotics and AI. In fact only 20% of businesses believe automation will result in job loss.
As Automation Increases, Organizational Redesign Becomes The #1 Issue
It’s clear that the way we work has changed, yet or organizations have not yet caught up. Business productivity remains low, employee engagement is flat (Bersin by Deloitte research with Glassdoor), and workers feel more overwhelmed and over-worked than ever. In fact, research by Project: PTO shows that US workers took almost a week less vacation in 2015 than they did in 1998.
What’s really going on? In a simple phrase our organizations have become a “network of teams,” and they no longer function well in the functional hierarchy of the past. The concept of a formal “job” with a job description is starting to go away. We now hire people to do “work;” we source them for skills and capabilities (not necessarily credentials); and we manage people around projects, customers, and products, not “roles.”
ING Bank, a pioneer in the implementation of automation and organizational redesign, just eliminated several layers of management and is now creating agile teams in every part of the organization. GE, Cisco, IBM and Deloitte are doing the same.
When we asked companies to prioritize their talent challenges, the #1 issue was “building the organization of the future,” which 88% of companies cited important and 59% rated urgent. Are companies ready? The answer is no. Only 11% of these companies told us they understand how to make this happen.
As one analyst put it, “ Organizations that are designed for success in the 20th century are doomed for failure in the 21st. ” A good rule for us all to remember.
How do we redesign the organization to deal with increased automation at work? How do we empower teams to be agile, purposeful and engaging? And how do we change the workplace so people can be more productive, energetic, and focused?
While the answers to these questions are complex, I believe we have unlocked many of the secrets. The just-released report, Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2017, titled “Rewriting the rules for the digital age,” describes the top ten issues, and gives a set of “new rules” for each.
(This study included a detailed survey with more than 10,400 respondents from 140 countries and dozens of detailed interviews with business and HR leaders around the world.)
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