The future holds some interesting questions. One of them is what we can and need to do with people who become unemployed or even unemployable due to automatization and AI? Here, especially companies need to contribute to solving this problem.
If you are interested, you can check my last entry on this topic here.
My opinion is that companies have a social responsibility to take care of their employees. This also include those employees who will or are likely to lose their jobs. Now, it might be still possible that they find a new job somewhere else. But look a bit ahead and you realize that we get closer to a point when people become unemployable. And not, because they lack a good education, but because their profession was completely outsourced to machines. There are already some examples, which I will address in another entry. But even lawyers might have a hard time.
Why is it a company’s responsibility? Well, if you have a look at what people at the top earn as a salary, I think it is only fair to create some kind of balance. Not only because most of the actual work is/was done by those at the bottom, but also because we need to create a just society. If you get fired and you read a week later about all the bonuses that have been paid to managers, you might start to get angry. And if many people get angry, we might have a bigger problem.
But there is also something in it for the companies, if they decide to help. Imagine you are unemployed and you look for another job. Your profession is likely to be replaced in the near future, but you see an open position at two companies. One company has no program to help you in case your job becomes obsolete and the other does. Where would you apply?
But it might also be good for employee engagement, too. If you are working in the company and you already heard that your job might be on the line, you are under huge stress, in addition to your regular work-related stress. Of course, you might be able to increase productivity in the short- to mid-term. But how sustainable is that? People will work more and longer, only out of fear. And fear is detrimental for generating new and creative ideas. So, you might get more results, but you also might not get the results that would be possible. The worst thing is, that this would make people sick in the long run. If you have a program in place to help your employees in what comes next, they might feel more relaxed and also more motivated, because grateful that you will take care of them.
How could such a program look like? Well, I have two ideas. One is that such programs train employees in either getting a new job somewhere else, because those skills are not required for doing core business activities, or they help employees find a different job within the company. The other program might be necessary when it comes to dealing with people who are unemployable anymore. For those you need to create a program that helps them find meaning and to build a new life. This probably needs to be linked to a universal basic income, but more on that also in a different entry.
Right now, I am already thinking about how such a program (the latter) can look like and what needs to be included.
What are your thoughts on this? Am I wrong? Do you have another idea? Let me know in the comments below.
Have a wonderful day and take care!