We keep hearing about how AI, robotics, digital transformation, and other technological innovations are reshaping the fundamental nature of work. We know it’s shifting how we engage and recruit talent, that we all will be working concurrently with other humans and with machines, and that we will navigate our own careers in a change-rich environment.
For younger generations, like Gen Alpha, the most tech-savvy demographic reaching the workforce in the next decade, theirs will be a seamless transition into a highly technology-infused environment. For GenZ, raised on the internet and social media, it’s a breeze. Millennials can hold their own just fine, and GenX – my generation – is firmly future-facing but also has a link to the past. (I am mature enough to remember email surfacing when I was in college - and the first cell phones, roughly the size of shoes!) And finally - Baby Boomers still in the workforce who started out with low or no tech will be wrapping up their careers with full-on technology at hand. While there might be a little apprehension about the wave of automation we’re going to need to learn, every generation can absorb and leverage it.
Those of us in the mobility space speak often of the rapid transformation that technology brings, but here’s what is often overlooked in the conversation: what drives change isn’t technology alone. Change comes from companies making the best use of technology as an instrument for the other initiatives and influences that are unfolding – it’s one of the first go-to solutions to close gaps in service or products and to improve communication. (Case in point: the driver shortage in the moving industry likely accelerated the initiation of selfdriving trucks, and the customer’s desire to know exactly where their shipment was at any given time prompted new and better location technology.) We see technology advancing our performance and outcomes in such areas as diversification, building and managing a contingent workforce, and establishing and expanding work-anywhere options.
In addition, our customer’s expectations have evolved, and so have their preferences. They want and expect easy, intuitive, fast, self-serve information. So, we look to tech companies to design products that help us give our customers more satisfaction with less action required on their part, without forfeiting results.
Putting the “tech hype” into perspective, we all need to build new skills to use the technology that is being woven into our products and services – that’s a given. But for most of us, those skills can and will come incrementally, in the natural flow of our work. And where tech upskilling and training on deeper digital literacy and data-driven decision making is needed, our companies will figure out how to provide it – because they want their investment in integrating new systems to be productive, and they also want to retain the institutional knowledge and proven talent of their employees.
We will learn the technology we need to, as readily as we learned texting and Instagram™ and Snapchat™, because it will become a part of our lives. And besides, we already have the most important skills, according to IBM®! In its just-released report, The enterprise guide to closing the skills gap, IBM says that companies’ priorities have changed in the last few years. Where previously they topped their list of most-wanted attributes with STEM, computer and software/application skills, they now see the most critical competencies as adaptability, time management and working well on teams. And as anyone in our industry knows, we can teach a master class in those areas!
By Cathy Ronayne
Vice President, Information Management & Service Optimization