March 2017

How Do We Future Proof The Entire Human Race?

In a recent blog, MindBullets posed an interesting hypothesis from seven years into the future, challenging the popular fear that the rise of robotics and automation is going to leave millions of people unemployed and destitute.

Writing as if from the year 2023, the author stated that most of the jobs machines had taken over were the “dirty and dangerous ones” that “most people don’t want to do.” And that even when higher level positions – such as architectural design and medical diagnosis – were being done more and more frequently by Artificial Intelligence systems, all this meant was that human beings simply moved higher up the value chain into areas requiring empathy, curiosity and innovation which, claims the article, are beyond the reach of the machines.

It’s a fascinating arecruiting for empathyrticle, and one definitely worth reading, but there is one major flaw in its reasoning: these so-called higher-value jobs require humans to be trained to a sophisticated and advanced level of empathy, understanding and emotional talent.

Which begs the question: How do we radically skill up our people to become a lot more capable, and ready for the machine age?

The author asks, “Who wants to be a farm worker or a production line worker?” Well, maybe nobody, but if that’s all you’re able to do or trained to be, what choice do you have? When the machines replace you, you won’t suddenly find yourself in a sophisticated job that requires all types of emotional and mental decision-making capacity.

The article assumes that the machine economy will simply absorb all the humans and unemployment will drop. But it can only do this if the humans have the training and development required for the jobs that only humans can do.

Without a massive effort by government, NGOs and business, we will be faced with massive unemployment for less capable, educated and privileged people. That will be a social time bomb that politicians will exploit for their own purposes of gaining or keeping power. Shouldn’t the rest of us do something about it?

We have to define and understand what the capability requirements are for the jobs that are coming in the future. Once we understand these requirements, we can seriously engage in the task of developing people en masse to take advantage of the machine age, instead of being afraid of it.

Steve Rogers is an expert at helping you put the right people in the right jobs – now and into the future. When you work with Steve and his associates, you reduce the guesswork and increase predictability. They can help you future proof yourself and your workforce, making sure you’re still sought after and employable in an increasingly automated age.

Steve would love your reaction to this article or any needs with regard to your recruitment, capability development and individual people issues, please email him or call him on +27 82 308 7627.

Thank you for reading this article!

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Performance: Looking to the past. Capability: Looking to the Future

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Do you have the right people in the right jobs?

It’s a simple enough question, but it gets complicated very quickly when you take the time to analyse it. So often, when looking for a person to fill a specific job, we focus on things that are not particularly relevant. Professional organisation memberships, qualifications, years on the job. Or we use unmeasurable concepts like “must be passionate about our industry”. But can we link these to performance? Do they predict performance? Maybe.

How do we improve “maybe” to “predictive”? Simple really: we need data and once we have the first tranche of data, we need to build more data and better data and constantly test old and new hypotheses until we reach the point that more often than not people with certain capabilities are successful and people without those capabilities are not successful.

I’ve always liked to use sport as an analogy for work because sport is popular but more importantly, at the end of every season, there is a champion in every sport and tonnes of data about the players, the coaches, the games and to the second video footage, analysis and slow motion replays.

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The Same, But Different

Let’s look at Hashim Amla. What are the capability attributes of his job? He must be focused, persistent, patient. He mustn’t get tired or despondent, he needs to be steady without losing concentration. How about Seabelo Senatla of the Blitzbokke. He needs to be strong, quick, fit and agile. He must be able to suddenly counter-attack and revert to defence all in 15 seconds.

Two different sets of capabilities, two different jobs in 2 different sports.

Take another example: two medical professionals, one working with a terminally ill child, and one an emergency response paramedic. Do they need to have the same capabilities simply because they’re both medical employees? No. Working with a terminally ill child requires the normal medical qualifications and experience but with an added dose of sensitivity, caring and awareness of the emotional impact the disease is having on the child and his or her parents and siblings.

different capabilitiesWhereas the paramedic’s key focus is to save a life under pressure. He must be decisive, quick, dexterous, focused, calm and steady whilst watching the clock and the vital signs, all in the space of a few seconds or minutes. His or her bedside manner is unimportant.So, when it comes to jobs, we need to be very specific about the capabilities of the people we put into key positions. To do this properly, we need data in the same way as the team owners and sponsors do in sport.

What Do We Mean By Data?

Quite often, when we initially assess the capabilities of potential employees, we look at CVs, ref checks, assessments and interview results, before deciding who makes the cut and who doesn’t. Sometimes, that first cut may not be very accurate, but it’s the start of the journey towards gaining a better and deeper understanding of the human resources of a team or company.

Amazingly, most recruitment data is heavily assessed during the interview process and filed and forgotten afterwards. Yet the recruitment data is the 1st tranche of data relevant to the career journey of the employee. If the individual is successful, we should reflect on the data. If the individual is unsuccessful, we should reflect on the data. In either case, line managers and HR practitioners should be constantly learning about the data that predict performance.

Capability

There are 6 categories of capability, namely:

• Knowledge and Education
• Experience
• Technical Competencies
• Behavioural Competencies
• Physical, Mental and Emotional Health (more pertinent to some industries)
• Track Record

 

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Capability is not a quick fix as an indicator or predictor of performance. But it tells us more about the future than performance does. As such, if we want to understand the future and the potential for our organisations to be successful, then we need to understand our current capability as individuals, teams, divisions and organisations. Do we have the capability to achieve the business plan? If we don’t think so, what can we do to improve the capability to improve our performance?

The building of capability data is a foundational step towards improving the ROI on recruitment, development, performance management and retention spend.

Steve Rogers is your expert to assist you in putting the right people in the right jobs. When you work with Steve and his associates, you reduce the guesswork and increase predictability.

Steve and his associates would welcome the opportunity to work with you on your recruitment, development, performance improvement and individual people issues. Please email Steve or call him on +27 82 308 7627.

Thank you for reading this article!

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