Business must take practical action to address the unintended consequences of digital transformation

Business in the Community and Accenture Strategy are urging businesses to provide all employees with digital skills training and lifelong learning to help them navigate the rapidly changing technological landscape.

This is one of a series of recommendations published today as part of comprehensive new guidance to help businesses ensure that digital transformation has a positive impact on people, planet, workplaces and communities – timed to coincide with Responsible Business Week 2017 (24-28 April).

It is predicted that within 20 years 90% of all jobs will require digital skills. Employers are in a unique position to help their employees embrace digital technology by providing them with digital skills training now, ensuring that they are in the best position to reach their potential in a world where technology will increasingly complement human capabilities.

Employers are also urged to extend their responsibility over the growing numbers of people employed through the gig economy so they enjoy the job security and benefits of the wider workforce. Collectively taking these actions will help businesses to prioritise the changing workplace – so that everyone in the UK has the skills and ability to benefit from the jobs of the future.

Amanda Mackenzie OBE Chief Executive, Business in the Community said: “Technology is transforming the world in ways that cannot be predicted. As the digital revolution progresses it creates unintended consequences that cannot be ignored. Responsible businesses can respond by being brave, human and long sighted, taking practical action to ensure that technology enhances all of our lives for the better.”
 

Justin Keeble, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy said: “Digital transformation is redefining the way we work, and business leaders need to respond by putting their people first and ensuring their skills keep pace with the changes. Digital skills are key to employability across generations, and responsible businesses are up-skilling and re-skilling their employees throughout their working lives to ensure they remain relevant and adaptable. Ultimately, the aim is to maintain the UK’s position as a world-leading digital economy, and one that works for everyone.”

The practical guidance launched today will also recommend that business prioritise the following issues:

  • Protecting, supporting and empowering customers – by taking steps to help customers feel safer online, being more transparent about how customer data is used, and finding ways to help customers access the internet and make the most of services online.

  • Creating innovative products that serve society – by using technology as a force for good to solve global environmental and social issues such as cutting waste and improving health and education.

  • Creating more transparent value chains, by using technology to maintain environmental standards, and track and trace goods to prevent corruption and exploitation.

The full toolkit of guidance, actions and examples is available now at www.bitc.org.uk/digitalrb

Accenture has created a virtual assistant called Ask Sam to help businesses understand the actions and learn how other businesses in their sector are addressing the unintended consequences of digital transformation. To meet Sam visit www.bitc.org.uk/sam.

The guidance will launch this evening (24th April)  in London at an event The Future of Digital is Human, with speakers including Amanda Mackenzie, Business in the Community CEO, Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, and Justin Keeble, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy, who will discuss how businesses can keep people at the centre of rapid technological change.