The Importance of engaging workers to manage change

Employee engagement will be needed to integrate new technologies into the workplace, and keep increasingly remote teams unified in purpose

The Importance of engaging workers to manage change

In the modern working landscape, you’d be forgiven for thinking we live in fear of a hostile industrial invasion. News sources are awash with hyperbolic headlines decrying the robot revolution; ‘robots are here to steal our jobs’ has become a clichéd cry of the transformation ahead.

In this climate of reported robotic fear, Epson is keen to understand the true perceptions of this coming technological revolution.  Our approach was to garner the opinions of over 7,000 European workers and industry leaders. So, are we at the start of an industrial robot uprising, or is European industry more optimistic about what’s to come?

The truth about robots

It’s an undisputed fact that robots are set to play a huge role in the transformation of tomorrow’s workplace. There are already an estimated 1.4 million industrial robots in use globally today, a figure expected to rise to 4 million over the next decade.

Initially, robot labour will be limited in its applications, addressing repetitive tasks and replacing human labour in monotonous areas of industry. As artificial intelligence continues to develop, the scope of these tasks will certainly expand. However, it’s important to stress that there will always be room for human creativity; an opinion shared by the 65 percent of employees who agree this shift will allow people to concentrate on the creative aspects of their organisation.

Adapting to change

It’s no surprise, with the scope of human history to support the argument, that managing change can be difficult. Adapting to the future of industry will not come naturally to all workers or workplaces, and transformational activities will be resisted by some. As many in business know, this resistance to change is not an element of transformation exclusive to technology.

The reality is that the scope of technological opportunity is far greater than at any point in history. Resistance to that technology still exists however. A small, but in no way insignificant, 6 percent of the workforce tell us they would ‘deliberately disrupt the introduction of technology’ if their job was threatened, a figure that rises to 17 percent among senior management.

Engaging a diverse workplace

Perhaps the greatest adaptation to a changing workplace won’t be in response to the rise of robotic workers, but the nature of human employees. Sixty-eight percent of respondents believe they will feel less engaged with their company as the workplace becomes more remote, an evolution we will explore in detail later in this series.

In that changing workplace, maintaining robust internal communication will become vitally important. This enables increasingly geographically dispersed employees to maintain close contact, but also offers the ability to inform workers of the realities of changes such as robotic industrialisation. While this need for improved communication offers a growing challenge in our future workplace, thanks to technology, it’s one that has never been easier to overcome.

Want to know more?

The full report has all the insights, you can download it here