Careers, Management in the Digital AgeBy Miriam Bello | Thu, 10/14/2021 - 16:13
You can watch the video of this panel here.
The technological advances of the digital age have allowed the global workforce to be better connected, more collaborative and have greater personal impact. But if not carefully managed, technological advances could leave many out of the workforce and put mental health at risk.
“The digitization (or the workplace) is the reflection of what we are living and thinking. We have been able to create complex tools to support our daily activities but this has also let to complex problems that call for ethical, deep and humane approaches,” says Ricardo Combariza, People & Organization Director of Credijusto.
Among these complex problems is career development because technological advances can leave people out of the workforce, according to Laura Briano, HR Service Delivery of Accenture Latin America. This should not be a concern if companies ensure to deliver the on their promise of tech closely tied to human ingenuity. “If ruled by this thinking, more jobs will be created than lost,” said Briano.
Rather than leaving a role, employees should be adapting to a new one and reinventing their skill set, explained Diego Olcese Díaz, Co-founder and CEO of Crehana. To achieve this, “teams should be willing to train their staff and avoid replacing them with employees that have the newly required skills,” said Olcese. The idea that automation will replace workforce is mistaken, he added, it will make the market to be more competitive due to the reskilling of the workforce.
Companies have to watch out for polarization of jobs and inequality because training the workforce in these new skills is a joint job between companies, academia and people, explained Regina Cabal Urquiza, Co-Founder of Momlancers. “Companies have to use technology to be more competitive, but they should also target the creation of a positive social impact.”
“Undoubtedly, tech has to be more ethical,” says Combariza. “Companies always talk about their social impact without realizing that the first step is to achieve it internally.” Creating true connectivity among collaborators, especially during the pandemic limitations, is how companies can begin to have a positive social impact
Technology can strengthen the social impact of companies both internally and externally, said Gabriela Villavicencio, Head of Human Resources and General Affairs of Hyundai Motor. “Hyundai created a program called Yo Cedo, where, during the first months of the pandemic, every employee could contribute their talents to the company. This not only benefitted us as a brand, but it also increased connectivity as a team.” This project was lately expanded to lend cars to medical professionals that would allow them to get from home to work and reduce contagion risks.
While a common approach to the digitalization of the workplace is to train employees in the use of tech tools, adapting technology to employees is a less common but equally effective practice. “Sometimes, people do not have to adapt to the digital transformation but the other way around. By providing only training, there is the risk that some sectors are left out due to biases, such as the belief of being unable to afford the digital transformation.” On the other hand, by adapting technology to existing practices many more sectors can join the digital transformation train. Local producers, for example, are using e-commerce to sell their goods, explained Briano.
“The high-growth, high-speed integration of technology that we are living is inaccessible for others,” said Olcese. Another way to generate external social impact is by giving new skills to the future workforce, he added. “Crehana, for example, offers a complete portfolio of courses but we know that some groups cannot access them. So we developed another platform where we offer the courses to NGOs and social entrepreneurs.”
For the digital era to be fair, diverse and equal the role of leaders is fundamental. Also, team members should not forget that leaders feel fear, uncertainty and have doubts. “Being compassionate was something uncommon in leaders; this changed with the pandemic. We were also able to have a different approach, ask people how they felt instead of how they were performing,” says Villavicencio. Through its new approach to communication, Hyundai was able to reduce numerous gaps even with international collaborators, she said.
During the digital transformation, the role of leadership is essential. “Tech eliminates barriers to transcend and have a social impact. But this will only be positive through human managers that empathize with businesses and people,” says Combariza.