Only 10% of Organizations Have Implemented Upskilling Programs Around Automation

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November 7, 2018

By Tom Allen

Training employees to deal with automation improves productivity and morale.

Only 10% of organizations have started a full-scale program to upskill their workers to take advantage of automation, a new report by Capgemini has found.

Training employees to give them the skills that they need to deal with automation is vital, Capgemini says, with executives and employees at firms that have taken this route reporting increased productivity and morale.

Despite that, few organizations have a mature initiative in place today. 91% of the 400 surveyed had completed or started to work on a skilling program; but only 27% had begun a pilot run.

The most common reasons to begin workforce upskilling are to improve quality (43%) and productivity (37%)—but more than half of executives and employees said that automation hadn’t yet had an effect on productivity. This was especially evident in Sweden, the USA and China (66, 64 and 61% of executives, respectively).

However, the benefits are more proven in organizations that combine automation with a clear upskilling program. 52% of employees and 46% of executives at these firms said that automation was improving productivity, compared to 42 and 35%, respectively, at organizations that have not yet started full-scale upskilling.

Employees were split, with 61% saying that upskilling programs had not helped them develop the skills to work more efficiently and 54% that they had not acquired new skills to become more employable. However, 62% said that these programs had helped them to avoid redundancy, and 54% that they had helped to get rid of repetitive activities.

Capgemini highlighted the importance of communication around process automation—and the relative rarity with which it happens. Only 45% of the senior executives that the research organization spoke to told their workforce about their automation initiatives and their expected impact.

Eberhard Schroder, director of HR operations management at German car parts manufacturer ZF Friedrichshafen, said, “Communication is a key pillar that change management rests on. Leaders have to come out and communicate from an organization perspective: what are we doing, why are we doing it, and to what extent.”

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