​What Does A Future Ready Mining Company Look Like?

The modern, and future, mining workforce is changing at a rapid rate of knots. Previously digital transformation meant companies were focusing on how these types of technologies could reduce costs and improve efficiency. These days though it's more about preparing and positioning the workforce to take advantage of the way these changes will redesign and enhance many of their jobs. The old days of viewing employees as an expendable asset to be reduced during downturns in order to boost the bottom line and cut costs, is no longer practical or sustainable for many reasons.

Prime amongst those reasons is that companies will be required to make a considerable investment in their employees retraining and re-skilling them to take on new roles. That's an investment they can ill afford to throw away by making those employees redundant during the next downturn! Recent past history tells us that that people will only put up with this type of treatment for so long before they move on to greener pastures AKA other industries, taking their valuable training and knowledge with them. Likewise, future generations of potential employees are not prepared to accept it either. They're also opting for careers in other industries where employees are considered a valuable asset and treated as such. This leaves the mining industry in a huge skills shortage hole, largely of their own making. 

Companies that don't, or can't, respond strategically to where the future of work is heading, will find it more and more difficult to remain competitive in an environment where personnel with the required skills can pick and choose where they want to work. For instance, there is increasing competition from the IT sector for highly skilled and talented technical graduates. However, these graduates are desperately needed in the mining industry to drive the automation and digitalisation processes that are the inevitable future of the industry. How will mining address this and ensure that the industry is able to attract its fair share of these people?

The Future of Work the Changing Skills Landscape for Miners provides a guideline that gives us a hint of where proactive mining organisations should be focusing their efforts in developing a future ready company from both technology and workforce aspects. 

People In A Future Ready Company

Employees in a company that is well equipped to meet the future and whatever it may bring are fully aware of where the business is heading, and its outlook. They have been kept informed about how technological changes will impact their work, why those changes have been implemented, where they lie in the corporate scheme of things, and been offered chances to upskill and develop so they can proactively participate in moving the company towards its KPIs and goals. Those involved in overseeing this process know how important ongoing training and development is in terms of retaining employees, and ensuring their future employability. They are in fact committed to developing and nurturing their workforce rather than viewing it as an expendable commodity that can be readily downsized to save costs.

Leadership In A Future Ready Company

Future ready company leaders ensure they're aware of, and fully capitalising on, the diverse skill sets and expertise held by their senior management teams. They're capable of understanding, and using, the increasingly complex and robust data available to them to develop clear and well-informed visions for the future of the company. These leaders likewise are capable of strategically responding and proactively implementing whatever strategies are needed to steer the company in the direction of those visions.

Corporate Design Of A Future Ready Company

Management in a future ready company focuses more on the way 'people and functions' interact rather than traditional boundaries that determined who did what. They make sure people and technology are closely integrated, and they understand that corporate KPI's are best achieved by cohesive team work rather than individual players. Drawing together and managing these teams, which of necessity consist of diverse and varied skills across a range of disciplines, so they work as a unit towards achieving company goals (KPIs), is likewise a skill displayed by future ready management teams.

Technology In A Future Ready Company

When it comes to technology, our future ready company leaders have a clear idea on the digital strategies needed in order for the company to move forward capably and profitably into the future. They've also fully investigated and agreed on policies for technology partners. On the leadership front, they have identified and implemented desired leadership skills and they're leading the cultural changes required to ensure the company remains proactive and progressive. In addition, they have a comprehensive handle on what skills generally are important for the company in order for it to evolve, and have prioritised the development of these skills accordingly.

Employment And Jobs In A Future Ready Company

Personnel departments and management have a very clear understanding of how technology changes impact employee's jobs. Accordingly, they've designed and implemented the appropriate career path solutions needed to upskill, redeploy, or develop those impacted by these changes.

Further, those tasked with the responsibility of handling personnel and employment in future ready companies can effectively combine people and technology strategies into a cohesive whole that functions in the best interests of both employees and the company. There are advanced tools available that allow current and future workforce requirements to be planned in such a way that they align employment and employee strategies and policies with business needs.

The future holds many challenges for the mining industry. In many ways, the sector is a world leader in innovation and technology but in others, it lags a long way behind other industries. One of those areas traditionally lacking in mining is its attitude to its workforce but circumstances and the times have finally caught up with the industry, forcing some pretty significant changes. Those companies that work towards implementing effective workforce policies that take into account the radical changes that are occurring across industry in general, will have people to take them into the future. Those that don't, won't, or will find it very difficult at any rate.
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Tuesday, 07 July 2020
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