The Power of People: How To Build a Thriving Brand in an Automated World

Automation is changing everything. We know this. In fact, at the 2018 Propelify Innovation Festival Jeanniey Mullen, Global CMO of Mercer, and Benji Decker, the current Entrepreneur in Residence at Mercerkicked off their talk by speaking with Warren, Mercer’s AI digital assistant, about the changes automation will bring to the workplace. A few of Warren’s scariest facts on the subject? “Automation will eliminate 9% of U.S. jobs in 2018,” and the quote from futurist Dr. Anders Sandberg: “If you can describe your job, your job can and will be eliminated.”

In a time where automation is poised to take over a multitude of jobs and completely shift the landscape of business and brands, how can workers and companies thrive in this rapidly changing – and increasingly automated – world?

The Robots Will Take Our Jobs – But, Wait! We Still Need Your Transferable Skills

Worried about the state of your future employment? If you’re someone who wants to stand out to employers amidst rapid automation, Mullen recommended focusing on transferable skills.

“In the future, it might not be as important to be an expert in X, Y or Z,” Mullen said. “Instead, you’re going to have to have those transferable skills: problem solving, creative thinking, team playing, and leadership. Those are the people we need in the future.”

What projects would help boost your creativity? What are some opportunities to jump on so you can build your problem solving skills? What is an arena or team you could begin to lead at work? Building up the skills, strengths, and talents no machine could ever replicate will be the key to both personal career success and a larger brand’s success as well. 

Tap Into Innovation

If a business wants to survive in the future, the focus will have to be on seeking out, igniting, and celebrating innovation.

At Mercer, they’re doing this with people like Benji, who challenges the status quo and applies creativity, agile thinking, and lean startup methods to Mercer as the Entrepreneur in Residence. Additionally, the Mercer Next program is another huge way Mercer is encouraging innovation. Mercer Next is structured access to Mercer’s unique expertise, resources, and relationships for select innovation partnership opportunities. The program is currently seeking top startups with cutting edge products to help Mercer’s clients and to expand the suite of offerings our company delivers as a leading global HR consulting firm.

“If we want to survive, going after huge innovations is key,” Mullen said.

People + Tech = The Future

The future of successful brands will not solely revolve around technology or solely around on people. Instead, the magic equation to building a thriving brand in the future will be people + technology.

“So many people are looking at technology to build brands,” Mullen said “But what they really need to be looking at is people.”

She cited the power of social media as an example.

“At Mercer with have 23,000 employees and each person will reach 50,000 people on social media networks. That means I can reach 1.1 billion people to engage with Mercer. And if these employees use social media to talk about what they love about their job, how their work has personal meaning, how their work has become important to them – that’s how you build brands.”

Automation is and will continue to change the workplace, but a focus on transferable skills, innovation, and the magic combination of people + technology can guide businesses, and the people behind the brands, into a thriving and successful future.

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