Adapting the Employee Experience to the Digital Age

Adapting the Employee Experience to the Digital Age

The fear of automation in the workplace dates back to before the Industrial Revolution. We are now entering a new wave of rapid technological advances, and whilst
 these present opportunities for
 higher productivity and business performance, there are also many implications around the impact of job automation. What are the ethical considerations around AI? What jobs
 will be fully automated? What skills
 do humans need in the future to survive?



The biggest driver of change in the workplace is technology creating a seismic shift in the way we work. With
 an increase in demand for flexible working and variations in the type
 of work required, organisations must give employees the tools they need
 to do their job. Digital and cloud-based workplaces must be designed with employees at their core. Employers must invest in the right technology, optimise their processes, upskill and empower their workforce to create 
a culture of adoption to enable ongoing change.

We will see a big shift in talent recruitment to the use of more intelligent sourcing, analytics, platforms and powerful search and screening algorithms, ultimately decreasing the time it takes to find candidates. There will be a marked change in the interview process – ranging from the incorporation of VR to simulate workplace situations, to the ability to self-schedule interviews.

The next generation of talent will need to be equipped with more technical capabilities, and every employee must commit to a lifelong of re-skilling. However, there are uniquely human skills that employees can develop that will never be fully replaced by automation. These skills include complex problem solving, leadership, ideation, cognitive agility and softer skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence, collaboration and active listening. Softer skills are important because in tandem with increased automation of repetitive tasks, there will be more demand for roles involving creativity and emotional intelligence.



As the employee experience becomes less transactional and more purposeful, emotional intelligence will become even more critical to the future of work. Competencies such 
as understanding, motivating and connecting with others are things that artificial intelligence has trouble replicating. Ironically, technology may have hindered us from developing these skills.

There is increasing pressure for organisations to operate more responsibly as candidates are not only choosing employers with values they have an affinity with, but are starting to select the physical places where they work based on their sustainability credentials.



Traditional offices were built around the premise that people work more efficiently at their desks, but with the rise of agile working the need for a desk in a fixed location is decreasing. The physical workplace needs to support employees who have different job functions and skills. Open-floor offices encourage collaboration but can inhibit productivity. They can also be very challenging for introverts. Organisations must have alternative spaces to support complex work.

Increasingly, with data and analytics at our fingertips, office design will become more closely linked to
 job performance. We will be able to measure productivity based on everything from layout to acoustics. For large organisations, integrated services such as childcare and post offices will be added to create a more campus-led environment. This trend will continue as the lines between work and personal life become even more blurred.


The CEO of Deutsche Bank recently predicted that 50% of its 97,000 workforce could be replaced by robots. But, the point of technology is to augment the workforce and boost productivity – not to replace humans. Organisations need to provide employees with the right skills to navigate the new ways of working. What will distinguish successful organisations from lesser performers will be their willingness to invest in their workforce and adapt processes and business models to support future needs.



Priscilla Kuehnel

Director of Engagement

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