Building a Talent Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by Paul Marks

We are all part of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we interact with each other, our working environment, companies, brands and governments.  Some call it the Fourth Industrial Revolution, some call it Industry 4.0, put simply it represents the combination of cyber-physical systems (CPS), the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Systems (IoS).

What we are experiencing is a revolution where organisations in almost every industry in every country are becoming (or will need to become!) more efficient and more competitive through the integration of smart, internet-connected machines and human labour.

Like the three that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will mark a significant change in the way we work.  The difference this time though is that the changes we face are happening at an ‘exponential pace’ and organisations have to be prepared for this to stay relevant and ahead of the competition.

Writing about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, spoke of its “velocity, scope and systems impact”.  He said:  “The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent.  When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than linear pace.”

The rapid pace of change will result in business model disruptions that will have a profound impact on the employment landscape over the coming years leading to a continuous need for new skills and ideas.  Business leaders will need to develop agile and innovative environments to stay ahead of the disruption caused by this revolution.

One of the major aspects that organisations have to be conscious of is the threat to people factor due to the rapid technological advances.  This is why business leaders need a strong people agenda in place.  ‘Focus on the people, not on the technology’.  Many organisations fall into the trap of focusing their transformation efforts on IT and processes, too often neglecting people.

So, it is important to recognise that unlike the past, the impact of these digital technologies and tools is felt not just in the IT department.  This means that the magnitude of training, re-skilling and recruitment required is enormous.  Organisations must build a talent strategy for what skills are necessary to drive this transformation starting with the identification of what digital capabilities are needed.  Agility in processes and decision making are becoming hallmarks of successful digital transformations.

Miramar are working with organisations in industries like manufacturing, automotive, consumer and life sciences who are overhauling their traditional structure and shifting away from hierarchical, functional business models toward cross-functional networks of teams to become more agile, collaborative and customer-focused.  We need to recruit leaders capable of building teams that are comfortable with short delivery cycles and able to operate across silos and within cross-functional teams.

Preparing for a digital future is no easy task.  The digital journey is a significant change for all organisations.  Now more than ever you as a business leader, need to feel confident that your organisation is fit, healthy and nimble enough to adapt to whatever the future challenges are.

This means building passionate teams that are aligned on the vision and strategy of your digital transformation.  You need to hire adaptable, creative people who want to thrive in a culture where innovation and ideas spark into life.  A planned investment in people and an integrated talent strategy is key to being successful in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


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