Digital economy dramatically changes role of human resource management

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, has revolutionised various sectors through the integration of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation. As we move into the fifth industrial revolution, Industry 5.0, a new focus on personalisation and customisation is emerging, placing humans at the centre of technological advancements, says Juliette Fourie, MD of Metro Minds.

“Industry 4.0 brought transformative changes to businesses, particularly in the freight and logistics industry. The integration of technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of Things enhanced efficiency, improved customer experiences, and facilitated tailormade solutions. However, the full potential of this revolution can only be realised with transparent and trustworthy systems, addressing challenges related to data security and trust,” she explains. “Additionally, aligning new skill sets and job roles with the changes brought by Industry 4.0 has been a crucial task for businesses.”

According to Fourie, the digital economy has led to a significant shift in the role of human resource management. While machines excel at repetitive tasks, humans possess cognitive and sensory skills that are vital for decision making and leadership roles. “In the freight and logistics industry, automation and technological advancements have transformed the workforce. To adapt to these changes, human resource management and training institutions must redesign development programmes, policies, and recruitment strategies. Technological understanding, effective communication, creativity, innovation, and high emotional intelligence will be essential skills for the future workplace.”

She says skills development will play a critical role in preparing individuals for the future workplace. “Education 4.0, driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, emphasises personalised and independent learning, adapting to the changing needs of industries. Continuous learning, self-directed learning, and collaboration with peers are becoming increasingly important to manage disruptions caused by digital advancements. Skills development should incorporate real-life business cases, combining theory and practice, to equip individuals with technical knowledge, decision-making skills, digital literacy, and adaptability. Furthermore, mental well-being, stress management, and employee recognition are emerging as key skills in this era of disruption.”

She says going forward, bridging the gap between traditional education and the changing demands of the workplace will be crucial. “Lifelong learning and upskilling are essential to adapt to the automation of tasks and processes. The future employee must possess cognitive agility, critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, emotional intelligence, and teamwork skills. Education institutions should focus not only on knowledge retention but also on cognitive flexibility, entrepreneurship, and creativity.”

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