Most Employers, Employees Aren’t Threatened by Automation

Robots are fine so long as companies create 'great work experiences' for human employees

401k, benefits, voluntary benefits, MetLifeNo fear here.

Contrary to all the John Henry-like hubbub (especially with robos), more people see good than bad when it comes to automating certain tasks within the workplace.

Fifty-six percent of employers and 49 percent of employees are optimistic about the use of A.I., robotics, analytics and other technological tools, according to a survey by MetLife. Only 20 percent of companies and 24 percent of workers report feeling pessimistic.

The U.S. Employees Benefit Trends Study found men to be more optimistic than women (54 percent vs. 43 percent) about automation technologies, and younger workers to be more optimistic than older workers.

“While automation is the next workplace frontier, the biggest fear is that work is losing its human touch, likely due to unmet needs for personalization and recognition,” Todd Katz, executive vice president, Group Benefits at MetLife, said in a statement. “Employers who are able to balance their—and their employees’—desire for innovation through automation, while creating great work experiences, will be tomorrow’s talent leaders.”

So, what exactly do employees seek in terms of “great work experiences?”

Work/life blending: Almost 90 percent of workers whose employer allows for a manageable work/life balance report feeling satisfied. Nearly three quarters say that having the option to work remotely and offering a flexible schedule play a role when considering a new position and foster a sense of loyalty to a company.

Financial wellness: Seventy percent of employees want the ability to customize benefits. Six in 10 would even pay a premium to tailor benefits to their individual circumstances. Help with financial wellness was identified by 84 percent of respondents as a top need.

Commitment to ‘my success’: “While 77 percent of employers say they are committed to their employees’ success, only 65 percent of workers agree,” MetLife discovered. Approximately four in 10 workers feel their company could do more to teach them necessary job skills and to relay appreciation for a job well done.

“With unemployment at a record low and top talent in high demand, employers are looking for new ways to attract and retain workers,” Katz explained. “For employees to feel connected and loyal in this era of automation, a positive employee experience is essential. Employees want a say in how, when and where they work—and they’re prepared to reward the organizations that deliver with hard work, performance and loyalty.”

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