In today’s tech-driven business world, the rise of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) is set to transform the workforce as we know it. Across every industry, traditional ways of working will undergo a shake-up hailed as ‘the fourth Industrial Revolution’ or ‘Industry 4.0’.

Industry 4.0 refers to the smart operational systems of the future that will incorporate new innovations. These include autonomous robots, big data and analytics, augmented reality, simulation and the cloud. With such disruption ahead, leaders need to start thinking about how to get their workforces future-ready for Industry 4.0.

Forward-thinking leaders are not solely focused on technology as the key driver of success in the future. They are giving just as much attention to the human factor: people.
As technology continues to automate the aspects of business and work that don’t require the ‘human component’, how we leverage people for the tasks that can’t be automated will become even more important.

Customer Obsession

While we might not be sure what the future of technology is, the one thing we can be sure of is that ‘customer obsession’ will continue to be at the heart of business strategy.

Customers are people and what makes people uniquely human is that they feel. It’s essential that any innovation focuses on the impact it will have on how people feel – both customers and employees.
This is what we call Heartonomics™, which refers to the economic value of how people feel. It joins the dots between how employees feel, how they make customers feel and the bottom line.

People are at the forefront of any transformation – yet organisations need to take this one step further. They must prioritise how people feel when disrupting internally.

There is no doubt that smart, tech-savvy people are essential to Industry 4.0. But the way this talent is led and engaged is the true ‘secret sauce’.

Equipping leaders and employees with the new corporate competency – emotional fitness – is essential to thriving in this era. Emotional fitness refers to a set of skills that employees can develop to enhance their ability to understand, connect, and engage others.

Top 3 tips on how to disrupt internally with emotional fitness & future-proof for Industry 4.0:

  1. Create the right mindset from the top down

    A culture shift starts from the top, with leaders role-modelling the right mindset and behaviours to drive transformation, foster innovation and instil customer obsession.

    How customers and employees feel is just as important as achieving operational efficiencies via technology. Prioritising this will give your people a sense of security and avoid employee disengagement due to uncertainty about their future.

    Leaders equipped with emotional fitness will have the skills necessary to role-model a positive mindset and display emotional resilience, trust and genuine care for others. They will also create a similar mindset among their people and help build a more cohesive, productive and innovation-focused team.

  2. Develop emotional fitness skills among your people.

    Developing emotional fitness among your people will help them to interact more meaningfully with others, enhancing customer satisfaction and team collaboration. This skillset will give employees the resilience to withstand tumultuous times ahead, as well as the energy and focus necessary to deliver highly personalised experiences to customers.

    As customer service is increasingly automated and reliant upon technology, human touch points need to be a top priority for leaders. Emotional fitness is an ideal toolkit for embracing the human touch in business.

  3. Innovate through collaboration, not just tech.

    Too often, organisations get distracted by the glitz and glamour of tech and overlook the importance of ‘people power’ in driving sustainable business growth. Implementing a new technology can be a great way to create more streamlined and efficient processes, but without highly engaged people on board designing solutions based on how they make customers feel, there is little chance that the new platform will succeed.

    Collaboration and the ability to listen to and consider the perspectives of others may seem like common sense. However, many people struggle to apply these behaviours to real-life situations. For both employees and leaders, emotional fitness leads to not only better collaboration and innovation, but enhanced emotional wellbeing, creativity and problem solving.

To thrive in Industry 4.0, talent must be highly engaged, agile and customer-obsessed. This means that leaders need to prioritise emotional fitness, placing how people feel at the forefront of business strategy and cultural change.