Creatively Addressing Workforce Automation


Automated technology continues to replace human workers in a wide variety of jobs and industries. This includes the retail, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture industries, just to name a few. Businesses with a backbone comprised largely of brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to keep up with online retailers, autonomous cars are threatening to replace humans in transport jobs, and automated farming technology continues to make leaps and bounds. Furthermore, according to a Harvard Business Review article, “robots have probably taken about 85% of the 5 million manufacturing jobs that have disappeared from the United States since 2000.” Companies are struggling to find a way to adapt their business models to accommodate the rapid replacement of humans in the workplace. The article further states that: “While our first instinct might be to help employees find new jobs, what we really need to do is is help companies shift into new markets focused on human services and adopt new business models that will allow employees, customers, and communities to benefit from technological change.”

More Than a Store

Providing community-focused human services is one way to combat plummeting brick-and-mortar sales, but it isn’t such a far-out proposition as it seems. Walmart, for example, is already rolling out optometry services, beauty salons and restaurants at various locations. Imagine the various potential revenue sources from offering similar services such as day care, elder care or a community meeting space. Doing so would not only give employees being replaced by robots a new job, but it would make businesses an integral part of the community.

Stock Options

Another tactic some companies are trying is offering employees replaced by robots generous stock options. If an employee was replaced, yet holds stock in the company, they could benefit from the increased value as a result of utilizing automated workers. Consider the example of the Chobani founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, who gave 10% of his stock in the yogurt company to 2,000 employees, while the rest received stock options worth about $150,000 each. This approach provides a financial buffer for employees that will suffer from technological unemployment. This tactic is particularly valuable if a company has immediate plans to automate its jobs.

As reliance on enterprise technology continues to grow and automated workers begin replacing humans, companies have a duty to invest in the potential of their employees. While the knee-jerk reaction might be to simply help employees find new jobs, companies that shift into new markets and adapt their business models to allow employees, customers and communities to benefit from technological change will see a prosperous future in automating the majority of their workforce. Want to discover other leading industry trends? Read this article about what HR teams need most in 2017.



Craft Your Hiring Process With a Human Focus

At Indeed Interactive 2017, Indeed Senior Vice President for Marketing, Paul D’arcy, shared some valuable insight into how companies can optimize their hiring process to increase candidate trust and improve engagement. D’arcy stated that one of the major factors that undermine a potential candidate’s trust in a future employer is the fact that most hiring processes don’t show interest in potential candidates as a living, breathing person. The key takeaway from D’arcy’s talk was that employers can build trust with candidates through a hiring process that maximizes authentic human connection.

Develop a People Culture

One of the keys to creating a hiring process that includes authentic human interaction is building a company culture that values candidates as people. Often, without a strong, supportive company culture, the hiring process can feel dehumanizing for candidates. “Research shows that candidates will optimize for happiness,” D’Arcy said. “Eighty percent of people say they would turn down a big salary if it meant working with people or in an environment they didn’t like.”

Utilize Candidate Feedback and Data

Asking candidates who didn’t make the cut for feedback might seem awkward, but it’s often the only true way to measure how successful a hiring process is. If a candidate had a bad experience in the hiring process, they are likely to never recommend a friend to apply, or worse, post negative reviews in online forums that can hurt future chances of attracting top talent. According to D’arcy, “almost 90 percent of people who rated candidate experience poorly were never asked for their feedback.”

Treat Potential Candidates as a Sales Lead

A top-quality candidate can be many times more valuable to a company than a new sales lead, and the hiring process should reflect that. When companies treat potential candidates with the same level of urgency as they would a hot sales lead, it increases engagement from the first response email.

Read the rest of D’arcy’s commentary from Indeed Interactive in the full article here.

It’s Time to Put Candidates First

By “relentlessly optimizing” your hiring process through developing a people culture, leveraging feedback from candidates and treating potential new hires with urgency, HR teams can improve employee engagement and retention. With the job market favoring the candidate and an in-flux of new workplace values from the younger millennial generation, companies stand to benefit greatly from crafting a hiring process that prioritizes authentic human interaction. Want to discover other techniques for bolstering engagement initiatives?  Read this blog post that explores what it takes to drive true employee engagement.

Are Millennials Your Most Important Employee Engagement Metric?

The millennial influence on the workplace has been beaten to death. Even still, the millennial workforce remains a much-talked-about and, in many circles, much-maligned subject across the web. And as accurate as stereotypes about millennial entitlement may be, they dramatically minimize the value young talent can bring to an organization. HR should take note – one of the areas millennial employees can offer the most benefit is in employee engagement.

David Lee recently explored this topic in an article for Talent Management and HR. Employee disengagement is often a silent killer for employers – many often don’t know they have an employee engagement problem until they see productivity levels plummet or the revolving door of turnover keeps spinning. This is where millennials come in because, as Lee puts it:

“If you suck as an employer, your millennials will let you know.”

Trust Your Employee Engagement Canaries

Two of the biggest knocks on millennial employees are that they’re whiners and, when the job gets tough, they’re quitters. But could all this whining and quitting actually provide valuable insight to HR?

Employee feedback and behavior (millennial or otherwise) can help employers identify common employee engagement killers like…

  • Boring or unwelcoming orientation and onboarding processes
  • Generic employee surveys
  • Failing to recognize employees who go the extra mile
  • Neglecting to get employee inputs during times of change or difficulty

Read the full article from Talent Management and HR to learn why else millennials could be HR’s employee engagement savior.