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What can technology employers do to ensure a smooth automation journey?

By James Milligan, Director UK & Ireland, EMEA for Technology and Project Solutions

Ireland’s tech professionals are on the front line of the automation revolution, supporting the building and integration of technology that is transforming workplaces at home and abroad.

According to our latest research in the What Workers Want Ireland 2019 report, the level of investment and positive sentiment around technological change is high. 77% of Irish employers say their functional area within their organisation is investing in automation or plans to do so, and 78% of all survey respondents cite an open mindset towards digital transformation in the workplace.

This positive sentiment is promising: the successful utilisation of automation technology brings the possibility of a reduction in administrative tasks, the capacity to add greater human value and productivity improvements.

However, in order to fully capitalise on the potential of automation, technology employers must support their function and the wider workforce by providing adequate resources, skills, communication and training required to apply it successfully.

So, what can tech employers do to keep the automation journey as smooth as possible?

1.Improve awareness of automation’s benefits and their organisation’s technical journey

There is a disparity between Irish employers and employees regarding awareness of the benefits of automation, with 19% of employees saying they are unable to identify any benefits that automation could bring to the workplace in comparison to only 14% of employers. In addition to this, almost a fifth (19%) of employees are unaware if investment in automation has taken place in their organisation or has done in the past.

Technology employers should consider how they can improve awareness and understanding of the benefits of automation not only amongst their existing teams but within their wider organisations. They should also look to play an integral role in introducing specific programmes for all employees who lack confidence with new technology or are less aware of the benefits, ensuring the tech function is a key player in any organisational change.

In addition, technology employers should ensure that they promote any investment in automation throughout a candidate’s application journey – including job adverts, interviews and onboarding. Employers should take care to emphasise what this investment might mean for individual tech professionals and their own professional development.

2.Help establish a culture that’s open to change

The vast majority (89%) of Irish employers and employees feel automation should be embraced in the workplace and being able to demonstrate a positive attitude to change is deemed the most important factor for workers to successfully deal with digital transformation by 75% of employers and employees. It is ranked much more highly than the right skills (24%) and previous experience (1%), but despite this, a quarter say their organisation is not equipped to deal with technological change.

To combat this, technology employers should consider hiring change experts, such as change managers or agencies, in order to help create a wider workplace environment that facilitates transformation, both now and in the future. This will help streamline communications and maximise worker engagement.

3.Offer training opportunities and greater learning support

When evaluating where resources should be focused in order to facilitate the success of digital transformation, most Irish employers and employees believe that training staff should be the top priority (40%), although employees (45%) are more likely to attribute significance to this than employers (29%). When looking at the factors that contribute to the success of automation specifically, training is also deemed most important by 44% of employees in comparison to only 35% of employers.

Further to this, only 12% of staff feel their employers are fully preparing them for digital transformation, despite 58% of employees believing the responsibility for upskilling lies with employers alone.

In response to this, technology employers should review the training offers they currently provide and consider whether it is in area they should be investing in more heavily. In a continuously evolving space like technology, having the right skills is essential for professionals to successfully deliver automation projects, not only for their own organisation but also for external customers.

To discover further insights into how automation is impacting jobs and the steps you can take to prepare, request your copy of the Hays What Workers Want Report 2019.

About this author

James is Director of Hays IT, Digital Technology and Project Solutions in the UK, Ireland and EMEA. Having joined in 2000, he is responsible for the strategy of Hays’ Project Solutions, IT and Digital Technology businesses, which includes IT contracting, permanent technology recruitment, resource augmentation and statement of work solutions across both the private and public sectors.

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