There is an argument that technology could 'destroy' millions of jobs. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Please draw on course-based materials to explain your point.
The use of technology can be devastating for the entire economy, as not only it replaces jobs, but also can lead to the cascading impact on the economy. The use of technology has been seen has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that could lead to complexities and can even cause the ways and outcomes to overcome such problems. The use of technology can also lead to overcoming the complications, that can be redundant, time-consuming, and can even to the outdated jobs getting repeated,. It is true, the biggest threat today which is faced is of the high technology innovation issue and how one can progress and overcome such hurdles (Dundon, 2018).
Technology is expensive and requires a high investment, but the technology can be used innovatively to reduce the slowest, sluggish and the outdated jobs. For example, when the global MNC have to invest in the sector, then it would cause the farmers to lose their jobs and it can further cause the problem of the smaller sized farmers, experiencing the structural employment problem. But it would help them to learn the new trick, technique, and strategy to reinvent them and later on the fine-tune to the latest skills required. Even the government supports innovation and the high technology to be used, to reduce redundant and outdated jobs. For example, the basic accountant role was to compile the data of the vendors, records keeping and then cross-checking, which can be done automatically, through the help of the accounting software, which can record the inputs from the system, calculate and even cross-check for the duplication or the wrong entry.
The same accountant who used to manage the clerical job of record-keeping and organizing the data, would feel free (1-2) hours per day, which can be sued elsewhere such as enrolling in the course, new certification, and even in the overall course of development. Due to the added new skills and learning a new technique, it can help the worker to command a new salary hike and even raising their standard of living. The technology can destroy millions of jobs, but at the same time, it can open the new wave of skilled and technology-enabled people who can use the technology to benefit themselves. the other example is the manufacturing unit, which would be using the extensive machines and replace the regular artisans required for the job initially the part of the high capital investment can lead to the same proportion job cuts, but if the per job cuts would be still less, then the high amount of the technology and the machines, in which the company would be investing in.
Subsequently, the manufacturer has to decide, how to balance the job cuts and the use of the new machines in the same manner (Spencer, 2018). Either the manufacturer can absorb the same labor in some other sector or they can train them to use it for the different fields and to use the machine constructively. The manufacturer would also have the limitation of investing huge amounts in the high-end machines and if in the market, there is the new machine or the new better efficient process, it would cause losses in the business. As the technology invested is high, it’s not an onetime investment and the technology can go obsolete at any point in time.
On the other hand, the laborers can be replaced, with the new machines and the technology, but the same laborers can be trained and be provided a better set of learning to understand the new techniques, trade, etc. It is important to understand that the technology does have its set of implications in the demand for labor and the market set for the given labor. It is important to see how the technology is benefitting us, such as the use of smart vehicles which would have its own set of advantages and the diadvaatges. The problem of smart vehicles can be challenging as the market would be more in demand of the smart vehicles, but would be discouraged as the technology would be highly expensive and it would lead to the replacement of the driver’s job.
But the negative side can also be, even though the smart vehicles have the sensors and even have the set rules and programming to follow, but still majorly the mishaps, accidents do happen and the Smart vehicles have the high rate of accidents in comparison to the other (Spencer, 2018). The driver on the seat can also take advantage of sleeping and even can use it for their advantage. The machines can lead to erroneous results, calculations and can even cause the problem of the mishappenings and misinterpretation of the result, but the same applies to the human skilled job, which is equally responsible for the erroneous activities and the fading.
While the technology can respond to human needs, wants, and desires, it is purely due to the programming and the set approaches, but it cannot predict the uncertainty (Dundon, 2018). The machines can even be programmed for the wrong software (by mistake, due to the wrong inputs), can get a virus, or even can result in further destructive problems. The use of the machines can be for the betterment of the global part. That can help to respond productively and even can help during the phase of low productivity. The jobs done by the machines have the standardized output; the probability of the error is far low in comparison to the other user input (Like labor). The machines can be used for better production and consumption, in the countries for those, who do not have enough human capital.
The technology can be used in the education system, such as during the COVID 19, the class is online and the teachers-students can connect virtually in no time. The meetings and the office set work can be done manageably and with the full benefits and overall wellbeing, the potential benefit of the set technology can help to develop the strategy to sustain the business and the productive system, by overcoming the risks and challenges.
The use of the technology can be identified through the supportive policymakers and with the help of the financial regulators that can provide the key guidelines as to how to use the machines and how it can be used for the betterment of the economy. To identify how technology can be used for the betterment of the work. the company can use the mature software, which has been tried and examined, can help to regulate the plant's quality and the outputs and can also guide workers to upskill their knowledge to the standardized form.
While the machines have taken some jobs, but still all the human capital jobs are performed by the skilled and the semi-skilled laborers, as to have the long term sustainable business options, both the machines and the Labor are required to match in accordance to the required problem and how to have the set solution. Machines use can lead to the replacement of the jobs and it has led to jobs of millions, but at the same time, the clever machines do not provide the complete sustainable solution. The machines can be used with the set workings, instruction, and based on the set learning (Martin, 2017).
The mass production of high technology can only lead to additional costing and the rising cost of technology can lead to complications and even a threat to the normal society. It is true, some of the automation in the field of the automobile manufacturing and the farming has led to the major job loss and high caused the major setback to the economy, but the overall, the technology has helped the same low skilled farmers, automobile workers, and the manufacturers to understand what can be the need and the set role of the machines in the given system.
In the short run, the technology can make the labor to be unemployed short-run and also face the consequence of the rapid technology changes, but if the same employee is more adaptive to the changing technology, market needs and even being futuristic, the employees overall would get better-skilled jobs. It can be through the active assessment of the market requirement, such as the normal excel jobs can be learned with the use of the new SPSS tool, with the introduction of the SAS tool and for the overall willingness (Noon, 2002). Technology can destroy the jobs temporarily but also gives an opportunity to expand, broaden one own pay scale and improve the standard of living.
You are an HR director for a large professional services organization and have invested heavily in high performance working in recent years. There is an increasing problem with sickness absence and further analysis shows this is predominantly related to burnout and poor staff well-being. Could the HR strategy have a role in this? What recommendations would you have for alleviating it?
The role of the HR director, who can see in the large professional's services organization, how the employees have experienced an increased sickness, burn out and even complication in the overall staffing productivity, can provide the below approaches-:
To equip the managers and to provide the sustainable employees’ workloads
It is important to understand how the managers can make the employees work alongside the unreasonable workloads and it has been the major reason for the burnout. The major problem of the workplace is to understand how the organization work and have agile thinking with the set employees. The major problems can also be actualized with the different leader's approach and it can cause the problems of the set direction that can cause the major complication. It is essential to work over the reducing workload and can present the most constructive tools and approaches that can lead to the overall complications. The managers have to understand how the employees are feeling burdened and have to work over the burn out the problem with the good resolution and the good approaches (Marchington, 2000). The manager can listen empathically, understand the employee's concerns, and even take the corrective steps. For HR, they can make suitable policies such as regarding the employees, giving them accolades, rewarding them, and can present them some perks and the incentives to do work (Wilkinson, 2017).
While for the manager the work is important, for the HR to check the employee's emotions and the attrition rate, can help to note, how the process is feeling burdened, what are the key challenges (such as the new skills used and the latest technology), that can help to guide and follow accurately. It would be an important factor, to understand how the managers and the HR's do take a constructive approach such as training, development and even working on the skill set, that can help to produce effective results. Similarly for HR, it is important to focus on employees' strengths and help the managers to understand what the benefits of the employees are and how to equip them, to derive better results and how to overcome the team related complications. The HR and the manager can collaborate to focus on the personal goals of the employees and help them accomplish them, to reduce the professional stress while working. The personal needs can be anytime, such as high monetary gains, high bonus, and even the promotion, that can help them to gain the newly acquired social status and belongings.
The HR can work actively to have a good and positive work culture, such as every Fridays' providing the team lunch options or the gaming activity. The top performer employees can also be given the benefits of the compulsory leaves and enjoying time with the family. The Work culture can be transparent and be an open-door policy that can help both the employees and the managers to co-exist with each other (Cushen, 2012). For the employees, the complication can be facing an authorities manager, due to which they are feeling burdened, the HR can introduce the open door policy and the 360-degree performance feedback, that can help the employees to open up the problems they are facing and how the current productivity and the quality can be improved through which techniques (Godard, 2004).
Through active listening and employee engagement, an employee can feel safe and secured, but if the work culture is authorities and it’s not open up, the employees can feel resentful and less keen to go back to work. The work culture can also be how diverse work people can co-exist with each other. The problem can further be equated to be resolved, with the help of the active HR participation, in the performance review time, and to provide the overall constructive feedback to the employee. The HR can work in the same working culture and introduce various festival celebrations such as "Diwali for Indians", "Christmas for the Europeans", "Thanksgiving for the USA people" are some of the set examples that can help the people to explore and work.
To work actively on the business changing dynamics
As observed, in the day to day basis, 81% of the employees would prefer to have a remote log in, flexible hours working, and even can help to apply their practical experience. The HR can provide such options, after exploring the market and understanding the solution. On a day to day basis, often the problem can be seen as a complex problem for the usual business environment, but with the HR intervention, it can help to provide the overall working and the better-approached solution. The technology has to be advanced, imbibed, and even be oriented towards the set goals. The employees can be offered the set flexible hours, be more productive, and even have to think of the ways to suit their working. For example, due to the COVID 19, it is impossible to reach the office or attend office, due to the office closure and the public transport suspension.
The HR can introduce the remote login and if the business is suffering can intervene with the top management job cuts to be highest and similarly be proportional to the overall working of the business. The HR and the managers can work on the time zone difference and how daily productivity would be counted. The HR has to make the long term business sustainable solutions and proactively make an approach to retain the employees and make employees feel more adaptive, instead of turmoil. The problem of the changing working dynamics helps the HR to understand the course of the working and the interest and how one can relate with the overall working that can allow the business and the people to be more productive. HR also has to think a way ahead, be futuristic, and even hold the same vision for the overall betterment of the employee's welfare and introduce such programs.
If the employees are not physically and mentally fit, it is important to think and relate to the overall wellbeing factor. The company has to think about employee burnout and how the employee is feeling pressured. The company can introduce the insurance policies, once a year overall health assessment (check on the Lipid, cardio, Kidney profile), and even can check for the employee wellbeing in the company. While the employees are the central part of the business, but overexploitation and overindulgence of the work can only hamper the low productive result for the business and can also have the cascading impacts. Employee’s welfare begins, where HR can think and relate with the working. The employees can be encouraged to actively be part of the system and can derive the information that can improve health wellness and productivity. The company HR can also provide the online health coaches and the practical, emotional support that can help to bring a better low health cost and can focus on the overall wellness.
The HR apart from looking at the traditional benefits and even focusing on introducing some of the activities, culture, and the wellbeingness, can think to improve on the overall betterment of the employees in the organization.
An employee can be guided to look out for the warning sign such as suffering from insomnia, feeling depressed, feeling unsocial, cut off from all the people, and can also feel constantly stressed. By educating the employees, feedback, and every 6 months survey can help to keep a check on the mental health being of the person (Wilkinson, 2017). For the intervention and the restoration like the quick aid such as compulsory leaves or the leisure activities can help in the restoration plans. The company can use the additional ad-hoc workers hired on contract or temporarily to replace the regular stressed permanent employees, instead of making them overworking and making them feel overly stressed. The action plan can help in the restoration of a balanced work-life culture.
To check if the employee can perform and to understand how the employee is feeling at certain times, the company can introduce the psychometric tools and even provide the micro scoping of understanding, what the employee is feeling and how to make a corrective approach (Wilkinson, 2017). For example, the Johari window, where the employee can represent what they think, while the colleagues can present what they think of the same employee and the third part views on this. This would help to understand what is lacking, what the stressful approaches are, and how the employees can progress overall with a better wellbeing plan.
Cushen, J., and Thompson, P., 2012. Doing the right thing? HRM and the angry knowledge worker. New Technology, Work and Employment, 27(2), pp.79-92.
Dundon, T., and Rafferty, A., 2018. The (potential) demise of HRM?. Human Resource Management Journal, 28(3), pp.377-391.
Dundon and Howcroft (2018) Automation, robots, and the 'end of work' myth. Available at: https://theconversation.com/automation-robots-and-the-end-of-work-myth-89619
Godard, J. (2004). ‘A Critical Assessment of the High-Performance Paradigm’. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 42(2), pp. 349-378
*Guest, D.E., 2017. Human resource management and employee well‐being: Towards a new analytic framework. Human Resource Management Journal, 27(1), pp.22-38.
*Marchington M. and Grugulis I. (2000), ‘“Best Practice” HRM: perfect opportunity or dangerous illusion?’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, 11(6), pp. 1104-1124.
Martin, D., 2017. Making tax and social security decisions: lean and deskilling in the UK Civil Service. New Technology, Work and Employment, 32(2), pp.146-159.
*Noon et al (2002) The Realities of Work. Chp5 on Work Skills [available as e-book]. Newer editions fine.
Spencer, D.A., 2018. Fear and hope in an age of mass automation: debating the future of work. New Technology, Work and Employment, 33(1), pp.1-12.
Wilkinson, A., Redman, T., and Dundon, T. (eds) (2017) Contemporary HRM, 5e, Chapter 2 (by Kinnie & Swart). Available as an e-book via the library catalog.
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