“It is people, not machines, who will build tomorrow’s greatest organizations,” according to SHRM Corporate Secretary and Chief of Staff Emily M. Dickens.
On October 17, Dickens (pictured far left) led a panel discussion on “Innovation, Automation and the Future of the Workforce” as part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s (CHCI) Regional Event series at S&P Global Headquarters in New York City. She spotlighted SHRM’s work on reskilling and upskilling the workforce, the need for HR to innovate even faster than the workplace, the impact of technology on company culture and why people must stay at the center of work.
As CHCI’s strategic partner since 2009, SHRM was tapped to lead a conversation with industry leaders on the impact of new technology on the future of the workforce before an audience of policymakers, business stakeholders and future leaders. The discussion focused on the impact of new technology on work, workers and workplaces, and how employers and workers may best prepare for the future.
On these points, I gained some insightful takeaways from the all-star panel. Here are a handful that HR should pay attention to:
- As we look to the future, skills security is more important than job security. S&P Global has technology upskilling that is like the New York subways, taking people where they need to go, given their career destination and what technology will help get them there. – Swamy Kocherlakota, Global Chief Information Officer, S&P Global (pictured second from right)
- Technology is a constant for humanity, so individuals need to be given the tools to retool and reskill. – Joseph Santamaria, Vice President and Chief Information and Digital Officer, Public Services Enterprise Group (pictured far right)
- While the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates job loss from automation, others like the World Economic Forum estimate job creation from artificial intelligence. Workers must bargain with employers to invest in skilling—and union contracts help. – John Marshall, Senior Capital Markets Economist, United Food Commercial Workers (pictured second from left)
Ultimately, the main message for HR is that the impact of new technology on the workplace is both an HR and technology challenge. We face unprecedented global demographic shifts that are making skills gaps ever worse during a time when there are more open jobs than people to fill them, so it is incumbent on HR to ensure people remain at the center of the workplace as we face evolving technology.
Other SHRM guests joining us at the event were Christel Colon, president of the SHRM Long Island Chapter, and William Ninehan, director of HR Program Development for the New York Institute of Technology and advisor for the SHRM student chapter at the New York Institute of Technology.
Moving forward, I am excited to announce that Alexander Alonso, SHRM’s Chief Knowledge Officer, will elevate SHRM’s message on this topic at CHCI’s Tech Summit panel, “Industry 4.0: Thriving in an Automated World and the Future of Work,” at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on November 28. Stay tuned for more SHRM thought leadership to come!