There is a lot of panic and uncertainty about exactly what will the workplace look like as time goes on. I am thinking here about the advent of “cyber-physical systems” involving entirely new capabilities for people and machines. We cannot ignore the fact that the 4th Industrial Revolution has landed, and some are still lagging behind, thinking it’s something still to knock on our doors.
Why the distress and more questions than answers? Should we not be tapping right now into that little percentage of the brain that has been lying dormant? Should we not be thinking of new mechanisms to sustain employment? It is true indeed that jobs are shed; however, not everybody will be redundant. It is also true that robots have indeed arrived, but we cannot sit and do nothing because that would be tantamount to succumbing to technology. Yes, it is not business as usual but human capital will always be in existence and at the forefront.
Therefore, leaders should take it upon themselves to invest differently in humans so that they can increase their knowledge through skills development and re-training towards the new trends. In this way, humans will remain relevant in the industry as there are still things that robots cannot do. Instead of spending hours using company resources unprofitable, the workforce can concentrate on researching, identifying the gaps and making the most of that opportunity. This is the period where human resources managers should invest more in capacity building through engagements. It is about talent management and ensuring that new talent and skills are identified and subsequently enhanced.
The youth of this country is radical, knowledgeable and confrontational towards technological change. More should be invested in imparting knowledge and skills to them as they are the next generation to lead economic growth. University curriculum should also inculcate the industrial readiness on them. They should not study and later find that their knowledge is irrelevant to the industry.
In conclusion, the advantage is that the HR Standards in place are first of a kind in the country and are globally recognised. It’s time that HR managers implement the correct standards, heed tenets of good governance through leadership standards to ensure human capital is not vanished.
Kgomotso Mopalami is the Head of Research and Innovation at SABPP the HR professional body and quality assurance body. Join Kgomotso and the SABPP community at the SABPP 6th HR Standards Summit where the Future world of work will be the theme.