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Digital disruption a priority for UK firms

Mar 03
Tags: Deloitte
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Digital disruption a priority for UK firms

Responding to digital disruption and working to create the 'organisation of the future' will be significant trends for many businesses over the coming years, research by Deloitte has suggested.

The professional services group's 2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey found that 88 per cent of UK businesses see these issues as a priority. However, only 13 per cent of respondents felt ready to respond to digital disruption.

One area where many organisations appear to be performing fairly well is the adoption of new technologies. Four out of ten businesses (42 per cent) had implemented robotics, cognitive tools or artificial intelligence within all or part of their workforce, while the same proportion were running pilots in certain areas.

Integrating these innovations with more traditional ways of working will be one of the key challenges for the future. Only one in six respondents (16 per cent) felt prepared to manage a workforce where people, robots and AI operate in unison.

Deloitte's research also examined recruitment and employee experience, finding that a substantial majority (87 per cent) of UK business leaders see talent acquisition as one of their biggest priorities.

Nearly half (45 percent) of the British respondents to the global survey had plans to incorporate cognitive computing or AI into their recruitment procedures during the next three to five years. These technologies can be used for processes like applicant screening.

When it comes to issues such as workplace culture, engagement and rewards, the study suggested that many employers have scope for improvement. Less than a fifth (18 per cent) of companies said they were 'excellent' at delivering a differentiated employee experience.

Summing up the findings, Anne-Marie Malley, UK human capital leader at Deloitte, said it was clear that businesses recognise the importance of preparing for the future, with rapid development in technology "rewriting the rules of work".

She also stressed that responsibility for managing the 21st-century workforce must extend beyond the HR department, with leaders "right across the organisation" needing to step up and look for new solutions to modern challenges.

"HR and business leaders are facing a huge number of challenges from the digital age, but these aren't going to disappear," Ms Malley continued. "Technology will increasingly disrupt the world of work and companies need to be ready for it.

"For HR specifically, this presents an enormous opportunity for the function to show leadership. Right now though, less than 40 per cent of HR professionals rate their capabilities as 'good' or 'excellent' overall. If HR leaders want to have real influence in the new world of work, now is the time to step up."

Another recent survey by Deloitte sought the views of chief procurement officers across the UK, revealing that digital development is one of the top priorities for these business leaders in 2017. Four out of ten respondents (40 per cent) said automation and robotics had already affected the procurement function, while 88 per cent expected to see an impact in the next five years.

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Image: iStock/Pinkypills

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