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Blending Bots and Bodies to Create New Team Dynamics

by Julie Crone

Consulting Partner, Talent Collective 3rd Jul 2018

There is a lot of talk about the future of work. It’s become a hot topic, the buzz term of 2018 and in some cases is creating some bewilderment as to what it really means (“How’s this impacting our sector / industry, How are our competitors responding?”) and even fear (“Will this affect my job?”; “Does this mean that robots are going to take over?”).

In considering how the future of work will be impacted, organisations are focussing on how work design can be impacted in order to break down tasks and think about how they can apply robotics and AI to drive better outcomes. Ensuring that their people are focussed on the high performance work practices and their Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and AI focussed is applied to activities that are repetitive and rule-focussed is vital. In focussing on future work design, here are 4 key tips that Talent Collective recommends Talent Acquisition Leaders think about when considering how this may impact their future team dynamics:

1. Focus on the Challenge
What areas of your operation give rise concern? Where are you seeking to enhance the experience? Are there areas where the cost of operation is out of line with the value the activity creates? By having a clear purpose in mind, considering how you can blend bots and bodies to achieve clear projected outcomes will help to focus efforts on the projected outcomes.

2. Determine Return on Investment
What is the opportunity cost, considering time, quality, cost of implementation and the upheaval of change. Where do you hope to make these savings and are they financial, value, time, process related? Again, how can you accurately predict and measure the projected outcomes to demonstrate the return.

3. Organisation Capability & Vision
Do you have the organisational capability, infrastructure, trained resources to build solutions aligned to your vision, or do you need to evaluate off-the-shelf solutions or engage external experts to help realise the outcomes? The Talent Acquisition technology landscape is changing at an unprecedented pace and can seem like a baffling minefield of amazing products. But how can you work through this? Is your organisation embracing companywide automation and robotic strategies and if so how the Talent Acquisition space leads the way (especially within HR)? Whether it’s something that you drive as a lone voice or as a part of a wider organisation strategy, it’s critical to assemble the right team to see it through. More projects fail to deliver effectively because they don’t have the right people involved than succeed. 
4. Communications
Once you are clear on the first three points, communication is critical. Everyone impacted will want to know how this impacts them. Honest, transparent and well thought-through plans translated into clear messages will encourage engagement and adoption. Organisations demonstrating the most successful impact in their adoption of the new team dynamic are those that have built trust in their programmes as a result of honest messaging around what they are trying to achieve, why and around how this impacts everyone affected. They have clear approaches to help those impacted embrace the change. 
Adopting a more blended bots and bodies team dynamic in the future doesn’t have to result in decreasing headcount (unless that is your primary goal). For those whose role will change it can mean an opportunity to repurpose their focus, potentially learning new skills and retraining to be able to focus on activities that require or can embrace traits that bots can’t! Traits such as empathy, creativity, humour, imagination applied to tasks that therefore drive higher value and more interesting experiences than today.

From our experience both internally at Talent Collective and from supporting our clients on their future of work journey, the introduction of automation for set tasks is enlightening and exciting. Our experienced consultants and automation experts have been able to show demonstrable innovation, progress and outcomes in this space. However, we can never forget that the real human element is still essential – recruitment is a people business after all.  Bots can’t read emotions, improvise and deal with the unexpected. So whilst a machine may speed up certain activities, and not complain about or tire of, repetitive tasks, its combining the two, get the blend of bots and bodies right that drives the outputs and outcomes that, for your business could be glorious!


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