ISA Interchange

Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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Training Transformed: Adapting to Automation Integration

Automation has become a permanent part of many businesses now, and will continue to be in the future. Still, automation tools cannot and should not replace employees. Human intervention when implementing automation ensures that the information you get from these tools is as accurate and insightful as possible.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business recently shared research on automation, stating that, “An estimated 37% of businesses have adopted automated equipment of some kind, according to research from MHI. This figure is expected to balloon to more than 70% within the next five years, as more organizations get off the sidelines and embrace automation.”

Instead of looking for automation tools that can replace employees, seek to retain them with focused training that helps them adapt to automation integration, and use these tools to support their changing roles and responsibilities. Learn more about how businesses can adapt employee education to thrive through technological changes and greater automation integration.

Understand How Roles, Responsibilities, and Team Structures Change 

Each person’s role, responsibilities, and team structure will change when implementing automation tools. Be sure that each of your employees understands their adjustments, how they will adjust, and how the adjustment will affect their team’s workflow. Take time to sit down with each of your team members and have an in-depth discussion about how things will change for them.

Be sure to cover the following:

  • Changes to their role or title
  • How their day-to-day responsibilities will change
  • The adjustments to the team structure
  • The plan for teaching everyone new automation tools
  • The automation integration timeline
  • The training and support resources available to them

Gauge Your Employees’ Technological Literacy 

It is also crucial to gauge your employee’s technological literacy. Each person will pick up your automation tools differently and at a different pace. Therefore, it is vital to learn your employees’ technological literacy. Gauging your employee’s technical know-how will help you create personalized training programs that will help them better adapt to automation integration.

Use the following questions to guide your conversations with your employees about their technological literacy:

  • How fast do they typically learn new technology?
  • What makes the process easier? Harder?
  • How do they learn, generally?
  • How well do they navigate computers?
  • Do they know the basics about software and hardware?
  • What’s their attitude toward change?
  • Do they remain positive and open, even if technology is complex for them to grasp?
  • Are they inherently negative about technology and resistant to learning new tools?

Once you’ve learned each team member’s range of technological literacy, you can put together training programs that teach an efficient use of the internet of things (IoT) and automated processes to people with different degrees of technological literacy.

Train Employees in the Right Skills 

Aside from the technical skills needed to adapt to automation integration, your employees would benefit from learning various soft skills that will better their transition. You can support your team in growing these skills by letting them take turns leading projects, solving problems with your automation tools, and allowing them to experiment with creative ways to use automation.

Be sure your team fosters these skills to thrive through technological changes and greater integration of automation:

  • Practical thinking
  • Research
  • Data analysis
  • Effective communication
  • Creative thinking
  • Empathy
  • Ethics
  • Programming concepts
  • Manufacturing and production
  • Software development
  • Artificial intelligence

Conclusion 

Your employees must be prepared for the transition to automated equipment. You can help them by transforming the way you train them and ensuring the skills you teach empowers them to use these tools successfully.

Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn't writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.

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