The incursion of AI and automation into the workplace is engineering a disruption that employers and employees are handling differently. While 73 % of executives are carefully paying attention to a significant workforce shift from AI invasion, WEF expects the technology to create over 58 million new jobs by 2022. Employers may have a new task of re-engaging every generation in their office to ensure a swift transition into potential new workplace eras.

Amidst the trending technological advances reshaping what we know as work, government policies and employee increasing expectations biting more deeply recently due to talent drought, the ultimate focus of every organization are how these factors and more can be engineered to effectively achieve a sustainable future. And the question is: can employers navigate through these challenges by properly engaging their workforce?

The incursion of artificial intelligence and automation into the workplace is breeding a major shift in perception about the future of work. And this looming expectation is more unsettling among the employees while employers are focused on predictions of how their industries could be disrupted. More executives (73%) are bracing up for a significant industry disruption in the next three years. That’s almost 3 times increase from the number (26%) expecting disruptions in 2018, according to Mercer’s data which also revealed that over 50% of executives expect automation and AI to replace 25% of their organization’s current jobs this year.

However, work disruption story will be grossly incomplete judging with only these insinuations. The World Economic Forum estimates that AI and automation stirring these fears will also create 58 million new jobs by 2022. In other words, the future significantly lies in properly engaging the employees to conveniently adapt to the upcoming changes in the workplace.

Engaging the five generations in the workplace demands carefully-crafted strategies. For instance, leaders can connect with the millennial, which constitutes the largest and most diverse generation in the US employee population, according to a 2014 U.S Council of Economic Adverse report, by exhibiting certain qualities.

To thoroughly inspire growth, attract talents, assist employees to thrive, employers must reengage their workforce using the following strategies.

Move your workforce into the future

No generation is exempted from the ongoing changes in the workplace speeding up with advances in technology. With these changes, what determines an organization’s competence can only be assured by an agile culture; yet agility is not the only obligation for success. Plotting a path to what your customers will value tomorrow is a vital means of embracing the future. While tripping the balance to support tomorrow’s investment, employers are required to create integrated people strategies that meet the needs today.

Employees should be inspired by the direction of where they work before they can remain committed to the changes. This requires employers to put a few stakes in aligning resources to focus more on execution. A thorough change that must be favorable in the future must have clear actions and understand the future.

Re-engaging different generations in your workforce should be seen as properly integrating them. Organizations should take a long-term view of their employee needs to create short-term decisions. Some of these may include moving employees to more profiting business areas, moving offices closer to important talent pools, experimenting with new technology, or creating new pathways into skilled jobs as an investment into non-traditional talent. Employers will need to optimize their workflow to examine those tasks that are repetitive, necessary, strategic or project-based. They need to think of how jobs can clearly reflect team roles while still giving employees the freedom to contribute. Organizations can rethink how to deploy their employees by freeing up resources. It’s important to alleviate functions that put employees into old job boxes.

Make brand building a culture

The priority of every employer is to “attract and retain” top talents. But this mantra has recently been rephrased to “attract and keep attracting.” In other words, employers must continually build their brands to make this happen. Employers are required to access all the available information for creating a brand proposition which will increase their chances of attracting top talents. Retaining is easier if subjects of attraction are maintained. This is because employees now focus more on top employers with an admirable corporate brand. Without efforts of more attraction, through continual branding, there are chances that the employees would consider moving on for a new challenge. Two in five employees plan to leave their organization in the next 12 months, according to a survey by HR consulting firm Mercer. These factors, therefore, make it imperative for employers to build a brand that any top talent will want to be part of.

Corporate brand tells the employee where they belong and seamlessly engage them.  When employers focus on building the organization as a great place by maintaining their values, employees thrive comfortably and are thrilled to belong there.  They tend to comfortably blend work with the required amount of social activities such as displaying their work portfolio on LinkedIn, showing off work environment on Facebook and retweeting their organization’s latest achievement. Employees derive great pride and honor to associate with an effective corporate brand.

However, there is a need for employers to advocate and amplify the employee's collective voice in brand building. In this regard, employees sense ready and willing to offer this required service with a great sense of responsibility and belongingness. Every employee generation understands that their greatest sense of profession lies with the company other than their function, client, department or even the manager.

In addition, building a substantive talent value proposition (TVP) is another means employers can attract, “retain” and engage employees. The TVP is vital in attracting the right candidates for any company and in ensuring the employees remain attracted to the company.  One example of TVP which has a lasting effect on candidates if they get hired is candidate experience. Candidates who enjoy a positive experience in the first few months in the company will most likely remain engaged and committed for a long time.

Make work simple and intuitive

Employees in most companies are occupied with numerous emails, constant texts, and instant messages. When not properly checked, this heavy amount of information received in the modern workplace can overwhelm employees. Depending on generations and county, factors that make employees thrive in the workplace varies. Hence, employers should be more deliberate about passing information in the workplace.

Employers should assist their workers in making quick and better decisions. This could be achieved by necessarily providing them with more options or excess information. Simple and intuitive work model will help employers to send specific emails to an individual employee based on their skills and interest. Employees will be engaged better when their employers have a better understanding of their unique needs, skills, and interest.

By cutting down the mix of information at work, data overload is checked and employers can effectively transform excess information circulation to the passage of helpful and relevant content. The manner, type and time of information circulation would be better managed. Engagement can also be facilitated by ensuring that circulated information goes with expected experience is relevant to the benefits, training and career growth of individual employees.

Employers also need to design and implement content curation schedule for every employee. It will include unifying all communications through all platforms, building a system that highlights individual experts in any knowledge area. Self-rated experts in the company could also be encouraged to take up roles of technical mentorships to help their young colleagues. In that, knowledge and expert contacts are being curated so that it aligns with the needs and interest of the employees.

Support talent-inspired changes

It important for every employer to understand that change is inevitable in the workplace, and employees love it when the coming changes are innovative, talent-driven and constant. With this in mind, employers should also inspire their workers to be growth-oriented. It's achievable by redesigning structures, workflows and talent strategies around employees.

Employees develop confident and strong followership in executives when they realize that the management is making progress with constant innovation and in aspects of shaping the future of the company and workers. However, when these changes lack effective design, structure, and management, employees get confused which ultimately result in low confidence and engagement.

The structural and digital disruption of HR is needed for organizations to succeed in this regard. HR will need to recheck its lifecycle to develop the capacity to lead the efforts for change. Among everything else, this will require the HR to focus importantly on employee experience and also embrace agile methods of operation. HR could check out the adoption of new technologies such as AI, chatbots, and direct access tools helpful in carrying out operations. These will help the HR to succeed in eliminating non-value adding activities, replacing them with those that will encourage redesign.

Ultimately, to effectively drive this much-needed change, there is a need for employers to give a listening ear to the employees. Employees will be engaged better when they make positive contributions to changes in their organization. Statistics show that employees require changes in the area of performance management and rewards. Employees need additional benefits to be provided for high performance, clear performance rating and collective sharing of team goals. Achieving these will further encourage and improve employee’s engagement and contribution.

Where is your organization?

No preparation for tomorrow can be better than understanding the missing links in the present day workplace. Whatever the value technology would bring must first handle competitions facing businesses today. Employers must engage the current workforce by redesigning jobs, continuously upholding an enviable corporate brand, aligning their workforce with the future work, improving the employee experience through digital tools, and welcome talent-inspired changes.

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