Capita draw up five-point guide to automation

The guide comes following a previous study that said two thirds of businesses fear they may become ‘irrelevant’ by failing to automate their company practices.

Also discovered from previous research was an apparent struggle to create a ‘hybrid’ workforce; out of the 2,500 business leaders and employees surveyed, seven in 10 respondents expressed this as a major challenge.

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In response, Capita suggested the following principles for their five-point guide:

  1. Leadership: Business leaders must be as open about the automation process as possible when explaining it to employees, while maintaining a long-term vision.
  2. Skills: Decision-makers need to shift their focus from hiring new talent to improving current employees’ access to relevant and transferrable skillsets, which should lead to a common ground of knowledge across the workforce.
  3. Curiosity: Employees need to be empowered and encouraged to use their voice during meetings about automation.
  4. Inclusion: Automation plans within companies must take the needs and circumstances of all employees into account, e.g. age, income.
  5. Collaboration: Multi-stakeholder action is needed when it comes to minimising impact on company culture and society.

These points were gauged by Capita following roundtable discussions and interviews with experts in automation.

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Also involved in the observations were collaborators Hot Spots Movement, and insight and strategy consultancy BritainThinks.

Jon Lewis, chief executive officer of Capita, said: “It is crucial the adoption of new automation technologies is carefully managed to ensure the advantages are felt by everyone.

“This can only be achieved through open dialogue with employees, close collaboration between government and business, and honest conversations which result in policies that ensure society reaps the benefits of automation.”

Hot Spots Movement founder and London Business School professor, Lynda Gratton, added: “What is both significant and unique about this research and report is that the perspective is shifted from the leader to the people who are impacted by automation.

“To fail to listen to their voices and act upon their insights would be to significantly obstruct this automation agenda.”

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.