Despite the surge in workplace automation, relatively few Asia Pacific employers, including those in Singapore, have developed an integrated digital transformation strategy, said Willis Towers Watson that released results of a survey in a report titled The Pathways to Digital Enablement Study .
Highlights of the survey
- The proportion of work delivered through automation among companies has more than doubled over the last three years, from 8% to 20%
- The proportion of work delivered through automation is expected to grow to 34% in Asia Pacific in the next three years.
- 92% expect to be using workplace automation, including AI and robotics, within three years.
- a majority of employers say they need breakthrough approaches in organisational design, leadership development and performance management to address the challenges arising from workplace automation; and the increased use of non-employee talent has accelerated in its wake.
Singaporean organizations lack integrated digital business strategies
In Singapore, only 9% of organisations have developed an integrated digital business strategy and road map, WTW pointed out.
In fact, just more than half of all organizations are either reacting to changes in the business environment with very rudimentary digital capabilities, or have a digital strategy that is not aligned with their business strategy, the firm noted.
The survey also reported that almost three-quarters of respondents in Singapore (74%) cited leadership being a key driver to successfully address the challenges of automation and digitalisation, according to survey results.
“Effective leaders develop strategies that integrate talent and automation to change the way work is done. This not only creates new sources of value but also shapes a culture of innovation that will attract and retain talent, and deliver growth,” said Vidisha Mehta, managing director, Talent & Rewards, Singapore, Willis Towers Watson.
How to develop digital capabilities
To stay ahead of the competition and meet their digital ambitions, organisations can use the following different methods to develop digital capabilities, according to WTW.
building talent internally, hiring new employees, forming partnerships with established organisations, contracting with third parties, partnering with start-ups, or setting up corporate venture capital arms or incubators.
Those that progress to the level where they effectively partner with start-ups, invest in corporate venture arms or incubators reap many benefits, including leveraging technology that cannot be built quickly internally, increasing agility on new initiatives, bringing innovative ideas and perspectives in-house, and working with top talent.
Employers to add more non-employee talent
As workplace automation expands, employers expect to add more non-employee talent to their workforces including contract workers, freelancers, and temporary workers, said WTW.
The percentage of organizations utilising automation and digitalization to enable them to use more non-employee talent is expected to grow from 25% today to 57% over the next three years across Asia Pacific, the firm added.
The increased reliance on non-employee talent will lead to job redesign and a more strategic focus on workforce planning, WTW predicted.