In a recent discussion with Jane Adams, Executive General Manager of Human Resources for Enterprise Services at CommBank, she shared her thoughts on some of the challenges that emerging technologies present, and the best ways to mitigate their impact.

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Particularly in tech-driven fields, businesses are continually looking at the training, growth, development and the evolution of jobs as a result of emerging technology and change. “We have an Emerging Tech team continually looking at all of the implications of emerging technology changes,” Jane said, mentioning that having a good forward view can help map the people implications of new developments and help drive what needs to be done to support people through change.

Along with keeping track of trends, Jane offered some practical advice on supporting workforces through the disruption of implementing emerging technologies:

Know your purpose

Start by understanding which of your jobs are going to be here in the future. You've done your strategy. You know where job growth is in your business and you know where your job decline is. You can then look at what are the skills underlying those jobs and where you can reapply those people with skill similarities.


Factor your people requirements into your strategy for reskilling. Sometimes the process can take six months to a year for new methods of working to be adopted. Execute your strategy in an effective and timely manner, “You execute well when you put resourcing in place. Put the plan in place. Monitor it. Measure it. That makes sure you’ll deliver on it”, Jane said.

Create structure

There is a strong shift from a role-based workforce to a skills-based workforce, and Jane suggests it’s about maintaining a “digestible” structure where employees are given the time and resourcing to discover their next steps.

Consulting mindset

Roles are about skills, not job titles. Jane likens this to a consulting mindset and she says, "you don't know your next client or the topic of your next project, but you know that you will be able to work it through with the skills of facilitation, problem-solving, and process mapping. Those core skills are what you take into it, and how you apply it is dependent on the situation you may face.”

Reskilling and transparency

Early on, have open and honest conversations with your teams about some of the automation processes that are coming through and their possible implications and understand how to cater to individual needs. Sometimes individuals don’t adapt to change, or choose a different path in their career. For Jane, an organisation’s role is to “provide them with re-skilling or second skilling and help them stay employed and self-sustainable inside or outside of the organisation.”

Hire and promote with your future business in mind

If your team has a growth mindset, they’re more likely to be asking questions and thinking about how their position could evolve. It’s almost like an indicator, and these teams are more the ones that will go through change with the most success. Additionally, they:

  • Are comfortable with ambiguity
  • Have an outlook to continuous learning
  • Are naturally curious
  • Are comfortable leading network teams of people that don’t necessarily report to them
  • Drive continuous improvement
  • Lead through change
  • Have adaptable resilience
  • Are creative, self-driven innovators

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  • This article represents opinions and views of the interviewees personal experiences only.  It does not have regard to the situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as advice. It is not intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. Before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.