Leaders need to rethink work to get the most out of AI and automation, says Willis Towers Watson

October 9, 2018

LONDON, Oct. 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Leaders need new tools to increase automation in their organizations, says Ravin Jesuthasan, future of work expert and Managing Director at Willis Towers Watson, in a new book published today. Reinventing Jobs: a 4-step approach for applying automation to work, co-authored with human capital thought leader John Boudreau, presents a four-step framework to give leaders a systematic process for applying new automation to work, supported by dozens of case studies from around the world.

Reinventing Jobs argues that the proliferation of AI and automation options calls for a re-examination of the traditional notion of a “job”, yet dispels the claim that humans will be replaced by machines. Supported by primary research, Jesuthasan and Boudreau show how leaders can optimize human-machine combinations to redefine jobs and work.

The four-step framework is a hands-on guide to solving the challenge of integrating automation into an organization:

-- Deconstruct jobs into component work tasks – So that tasks can be sorted in terms of their automation compatibility. -- Assess the relationship between performance and strategic value– For each task, identify this relationship to clarify what you are solving and the optimum payoff to work automation. -- Identify options for automating work – Understand robotic process automation, cognitive automation and social robotics and their relevance to different types of work. -- Achieve the optimal combination of human and machine labor – Determine where automation will replace, augment or create new work for humans.

“Organizations are falling short as they chase the latest and greatest in automation because they don’t fully understand how it will affect work and the company,” says Jesuthasan. “Our framework will help leaders responsibly apply automation to achieve a sustainable combination of humans and machines.”

The optimizing of work automation will redefine the nature of an organization. Reinventing Jobs goes on to examine how leaders must evolve to fit new organizational structures and drive the necessary transformation.

Julie Gebauer, Global Head of Human Capital and Benefits at Willis Towers Watson, adds: “People strategies that reflect the nuances of how work gets done are more likely to realize the benefits of automation alongside an engaged and empowered workforce. Leaders who involve employees in how work gets done in the future are most likely to land on the optimal mix of robotics, AI and people.”

About the book

Reinventing Jobs, a 4-step approach for applying automation to work

Harvard Business Review PressOctober 9, 2018

About the authors

Ravin Jesuthasan is Managing Director at Willis Towers Watson and a recognized global thought leader on the future of work, human capital, and the automation of work. He is a regular participant and presenter at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos and a member of the forum’s Steering Committee on Work and Employment. Recognized as one of the most influential consultants in the world, he is also the author of Transformative HR: How Great Companies Use Evidence-Based Change for Sustainable Advantage and Lead the Work: Navigating a World Beyond Employment.

John Boudreau is a professor and Research Director at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Center for Effective Organizations. For more than thirty years he has been recognized globally for breakthrough research on the bridge between superior human capital, talent, and sustainable success. He studies, consults, and develops executives in companies worldwide that seek to maximize work effectiveness by discovering the specific strategic bottom-line impact of superior people and human capital strategies. He has more than 200 publications, has won scholarly and professional achievement awards and is a fellow of leading research and professional associations.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has over 40,000 employees serving more than 140 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at willistowerswatson.com.

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