Mercer urges companies to prepare workforce adequately for industrial revolution

Accra- 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 mindset 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 interpersonal 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 twoday 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.

Source: Ghana News Agency