People & Strategy Summer 2017 Vol. 40 Issue 3 - 23
Our dashboards should not be
confused with a central command
and control environment.
That would make us too slow
still at work. It is at least as important to focus on how work
In our global workforce of 200,000, 68 percent of our employees are Millennials, with Generation Z already entering
our workforce. While there are many articulated differences
across generations that you can read about, we have found
only one to be a real game changer: Millennials have little
tolerance for a bad user experience. People, but Millennials
in particular, would simply not use traditional systems that
were not available at their fingertips.
Our Millennial population is used to self-service 24/7
for all aspects of their life as they have come to expect from
social media, shopping, banking, and news. Enabling the
same, seamless information flow within the company drives
efficiency and engagement. This meant we needed to invest
in a variety of systems that would increase employee retention and engagement. Even though many of our operations,
HR, finance, and IT applications are mobile and optimized
for user experience, employees started to communicate that
it was not enough, and that they would value applications to
help manage their lives in addition to their work. We therefore started launching apps as employee benefits, such as
HealthTap, a telemedicine application that allows research
and real-time doctor consultations, anywhere in the world.
Revolutions often lead to big changes. The businesses that
anticipate and adapt to these changes are those that will
survive throughout the years. In Industry 4.0, organizations
that successfully transform their business processes and
optimize investment in their people are more likely to thrive.
This requires significant capabilities in analytics-in factories,
customer service delivery, and employee management. It also
requires strong links across software, hardware, and people.
Businesses that successfully optimize their systems and leverage
the "intelligence of things" will be ready to lead us into the
fifth industrial revolution.
Along with accelerating rates of innovation, we see a
growing wave of new solutions and growth opportunities.
To manage the corresponding increase in workload and
complexity, we expect a massive need for efficiency gains.
We aim to accelerate automating simple activities to free up
time for more creativity and value creation. The technologies being developed-like digitization, robotic process
automation, AI, and machine learning-provide new
opportunities. We see great potential to enable our people
to drive growth. To this end, we do not see Industry 4.0
reducing jobs, but rather creating different jobs. Pursuing
this, we can do what we do best-enabling a smarter, more
Paul Baldassari is chief human resources officer at Flex. He can be
reached at email@example.com.
J.D. Roux is vice president, human resources strategy at Flex. He
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jaffe, M. IoT won't work without artificial intelligence. Wired. Conde
Nast, n.d. Web. Feb. 13, 2017.
OECD (2017), GDP long-term forecast (indicator). doi: 10.1787/
d927bc18-en. Accessed on Feb. 13 2017.
Unnikrishnan, M.S., &Wilfried, A. (Sept. 22, 2016). Skill development for industry 4.0. The Economic Times. Economictimesindiatimes.com. Web. Feb. 13, 2017.
VOLUME 40 | ISSUE 3 | SUMMER 2017