Digital technology is having a significant impact on the workplace. The Hays What Workers Want Report 2019 shows that digital transformation is either a primary or secondary focus for 79% of health and safety professionals.
Increased levels of automation are expected to transform things still further. Within health and safety, automation has the potential to improve efficiencies, lower risks and drive greater cost savings. For example, using automated forms when undertaking inspections can reduce human errors, automatically inform relevant people when a problem is identified and can automate reports for senior stakeholders.
Our survey findings show that just under a quarter of health and safety professionals think the main benefit that automation offers organisations is improved productivity, and a further 24% believe it drives greater process efficiencies. Automation can also enable a more proactive approach to health and safety, by analysing data to pre-emptively identify problems and alert the relevant stakeholder.
The impacts of automation can be far-reaching, but how can organisations facilitate the successful implementation of automation technology within health and safety?
When asked what one area their organisation should focus on to prepare for automation in the workplace, over a quarter of health and safety professionals said ensuring the organisation’s culture supports change is vital.
Better communication when new automation technologies are implemented is one way to help build a better culture towards change. A health and safety respondent said, in order to help them on their automation journey, their employer should, “Communicate change, not just drop it in and hope we use it.”
Hiring managers also play an important role in helping to create a culture that supports change. Recruiting new health and safety candidates based on their attitude and willingness to learn, rather than simply their qualifications, skills and experience should be considered. The idea is to create a new balance between technical and soft skills, which will put professionals in good stead to adapt to technological change both now and in the future. Soft skills to look out for include critical thinking, communication and emotional intelligence.
Finding candidates with an open mindset towards change is also important. This may mean looking to new talent pools when hiring and considering different recruitment channels to find and engage with those professionals who have the right attitude towards change, ultimately helping to make a success of any new automation initiatives that are implemented.
To discover further insights into how automation is impacting jobs and the steps you can take to prepare, get your copy of the Hays What Workers Want Report 2019.
Richard leads specialist recruiting consultants across the sector. He joined Hays in 1991 and quickly worked his way up through the ranks and was appointed Director in 2001.
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