The introduction of new workplace technologies or, “the rise of the robots”, has been the focus of considerable media attention recently, with many dire predictions for the future of the human in the workplace.

In an effort to separate the fact from the science fiction, IPA has published Mind over Machines: new technology and employment relations, which examines the connections between the introduction of new workplace technologies and employment relations.

Using some of the findings of this research, IPA Training & Development Director, Derek Luckhurst, will consider the ways in which new technologies may affect the world of work, and introduce the following questions:

  • Will new technologies bring greater work intensity or difficulty but less worker autonomy?
  • Do these technologies offer the opportunity for improvement or the danger of detriment to employee health and wellbeing?
  • Do our organisations have the skills and resources to implement technological change?
  • What do we need to do to re-skill and train the workforce?

These are all serious challenges for managers, HR professionals, employee representatives and the trade unions.  Participants will be invited to share their views on:

  • Whether the core purpose of a representative will need to evolve?
  • Who will trade unions be recruiting and who will employee representatives be engaging with?
  • What will people expect from a representative?
  • How will representatives maintain a strategic and collective focus?
  • What new skills will representatives need?

These discussions will form the basis for a published position paper.

Two other agenda items will be covered:

Susan Park, VIVO Principal Officer will introduce four short videos that VIVO - Standard Life's employee forum - have developed to publicise their work and discuss how other forums can use the technology.

As one of the contributors to the recently published Working Well: perspectives on good work and why it matters, Stuart Inness, former VIVO Principal Officer at Standard Life will introduce the theme of Good Work which will be the focus of the next Representatives’ Hub meeting in September 2018.


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