The fourth industrial revolution is no longer just something that companies need to prepare for – it’s a reality that has already arrived.

Everything about our current landscape is changing, from how we communicate to the avenues we have for connectivity.

In the age of Industry 4.0, the digital landscape and physical technologies are growing increasingly connected. There’s a closer relationship between people, objects, devices, and the data we generate every day.

However, adapting to this new environment doesn’t just mean investing in the latest hardware and software on the market.

There’s more to Industry 4.0 than exploring the possibilities of blockchain or asking whether you’re ready for AI.

Just like any revolution, the new industry requires an expanded set of skills from employees that need to harness the benefits of the new environment.

HR and business leaders need a strategy to nurture the skills that will open the door to Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 Starts with Leadership 4.0

Industry 4.0 uses close alignment with innovative technology to ensure that manufacturers can gain critical insights about day-to-day operations. These insights are fantastic for improving cost savings and operational efficiency.

However, before businesses can tap into them, they need the right strategic guidelines in place.

As with most changes in the modern workplace, the biggest transformations begin with the right leadership.

Leadership 4.0 means creating a team of managers, supervisors, and business leaders capable of embracing the fourth industrial revolution.

These are the people who understand the strengths and weaknesses of initiatives in the current environment and know how to convey the benefits of things like IoT, 5G, and instant connectivity to their teams.

Most of the time, we discuss Industry 4.0 in terms of the digital technology available, rather than the employees. It’s your team that will make or break your entry into this new environment.

4.0 leaders will foster a transparent and creative culture that isn’t afraid of agile changes and evolution.

These are the leaders that will inspire and motivate their workforces to adapt to the consistent changes in the marketplace.

Effective digital leaders will be critical for managing the continuously changing relationships between machines, technologies, and people in a new workplace environment.

They’ll keep their people engaged, even when they’re concerned about the arrival of new processes and tech.

Embracing 5G for Industry 4.0

One of the main things that today and tomorrow’s digital leaders will need to focus on when preparing and nurturing their employees for Industry 4.0 is building the skills required to manage 5G connections.

While many companies focus on helping team members to embrace the skill sets as are necessary for things like IoT management and real-time connectivity, it’s important to remember that you also need skilled employees in place to manage the connections that power those technologies.

The next generation of the industrial revolution has been triggered by the combination of everything from AI and IoT to real-time interaction. This means that the impact that technology like 5G will have on today’s environment will be astronomical.

The team members that know how to make the most of 5G connections will be the ones that can give their business the bandwidth and flexibility required to embrace the latest technology in the market.

Going forward, access to 5G will give companies the freedom to experiment with everything from connected systems in the IoT environment, with smart devices that can proactively monitor and report on their own performance.

5G will even pave the way for real-time communication and better collaboration in distributed workforces.

Access to 5G technology is likely to become increasingly important in a world where remote and mobile working across geographical boundaries are growing more common.

5G has the potential to impact countless initiatives in the fourth industrial revolution, including:

  • IoT and smart sensors
  • Predictive analytics and AI
  • Collaboration and communication in the remote workforce
  • Video and audio conferencing
  • AR and VR communications

However, according to a report from Accenture commissioned by the CTIA, there’s a tremendous skills gap in the 5G landscape.

A lack of people with the skills to understand and manage 5G is one of the main hurdles stopping this technology from becoming more widespread.

Ensuring On-Going Opportunities for Job Training

Once businesses have the right leadership strategy in place, and they know what kind of technology they need to focus on when they’re looking for fresh digital skills, there’s one more thing they need to invest in to prepare for industry 4.0.

That is ongoing training opportunities.

Consistent and valuable training opportunities have always been a crucial part of maintaining employee engagement and job satisfaction, particularly among the younger workforce.

87% of millennials say that professional training and opportunities for career growth are crucial to their decisions on where to work.

The list of technologies contributing to the growing world of industry 4.0 is already significant, featuring things like edge and cloud computing, IoT, artificial intelligence, and the ability to process massive data sets.

However, as we progress into the future, these technologies will only continue to grow in complexity and scope.

The key to success in the years ahead is making sure that your team members have access to the right training to help them expand and improve their skills going forward.

As companies continue to automate the repetitive tasks that used to take up a significant amount of their employees’ time, the tasks left for people to complete are growing more complex.

The jobs left for humans in the future will be too intricate to manage without consistent training and support.

While there’s an opportunity for some new technology like automated assistants and collaboration tools to make employees’ lives easier in the workplace, much of the arrival of unique solutions for Industry 4.0 will create a more significant physical and cognitive burden on workers.

Today’s business leaders and HR teams need to have a consistent strategy in place for ensuring that every member of their team can access the training that they need in the environment they choose.

This could mean investing in:

  • Specialist training courses
  • One-on-one training
  • Mentorship programs
  • Innovative onboarding strategies

The more you invest in the right training for your employees, the less you’ll need to turn to the skills-short marketplace in search of new candidates to fill your team’s gaps.

Ready for Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 offers exciting opportunities for new solutions provided by IoT sensors, artificial intelligence, big data, and 5G connectivity.

However, to access these benefits, companies need to remember that it’s not just the technology that they need to invest in – but their people too.

Make sure you provide your team with the right leadership, focus, and training to progress in the modern landscape, and you’ll be prepared for Industry 4.0.

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Heather R

Virtual assistant and content editor at Bunty LLC.
Heather works as a virtual assistant. She is a true techie spending most of her time online. If not working, she is either reading or writing. She rarely has the TV on. She contributes to various blogs and media outlets.