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Perspectives

A chemicals perspective: Human capital trends

Igniting change in the chemicals industry

Seismic shifts are taking place in today’s workforce and workplace. What does this mean for business leaders in the chemicals sector? Our 2018 Human Capital Trends report takes a closer look at three factors that are shaping the industry and highlights how organizations are responding.

Overview

This year's global survey delivers insights from more than 11,000 business and human resource leaders across 124 countries—our largest survey to date.

For chemicals organizations, the key topics are:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and automation: Putting humans in the loop
  • The longevity dividend: Work in an era of 100-year lives
  • The hyper-connected workforce: Will productivity reign?

For more information on each trend, including specific examples of chemicals organizations that are turning the trends into action, download the full report.

AI, robotics, and automation: Putting humans in the loop

The adoption of AI, robotics, and automation in the workplace is accelerating dramatically. But many large-scale chemicals companies may be struggling to maximize the benefits that these technologies enable. Leading organizations are working diligently to put humans in the loop—rethinking work architecture, retraining employees, and repositioning the organization to leverage technology to transform business. The goal is to not only eliminate routine tasks and cut costs but to also create value for customers and meaningful work for people.

solar panels

Fifty-three percent of survey respondents in the chemicals industry stated that their organization doesn’t have a plan to cultivate the human skills required by the use of AI and robotics.

The longevity dividend: Work in an era of 100-year lives

Chemicals organizations are bracing for the anticipated retirements of many highly skilled, long-term employees. Proactive organizations are tapping into the older talent pool by extending their career models, building new development paths, and creating roles to accommodate workers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Chemicals organizations can find great value in older workers’ ability to serve as mentors, coaches, and subject experts. Taking on these kinds of roles allows older workers to pass the baton to subsequent generations while making room for ambitious younger workers.

balance scales

Only 15 percent of survey respondents in the chemicals industry indicated that their organization has created targeted roles for older workers to leverage their expertise and accommodate work preferences.

The hyper-connected workforce: Will productivity reign?

Communication behaviors, habits, and tools that people use in their personal life continue to migrate into the workplace. As new communication tools permeate the market, it’s management’s responsibility to identify those tools that align with business goals and enable employees to collaborate to increase overall productivity. HR executives in the chemicals industry should leverage their expertise in team management, goal-setting, and employee development in their work with IT counterparts to help make using new connectivity tools productive, simple, and engaging.

people shapes

While 46 percent of survey respondents in the chemicals industry indicated that their organization allows access to emerging communications tools and channels after an IT review, only 7 percent of organizations identify emerging channels and encourage their use among employees.

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