Guest Column | November 7, 2022

Addressing The Labor Shortage Through Automation

By Danny Schaarmann, xSuite North America


It’s nearly impossible to escape news updates about how tumultuous the economy is and its impact on the job market. While baby boomers definitely know a thing or two about how to weather a career-defining economic storm, Generation X, Y, and Z have less experience, respectively. Fortunately for younger generations, their sweet spot is their ability to use their technical prowess to navigate their careers. In comparison, baby boomers are comfortably settled into more manual processes and routines.

Combating the technological gap between more seasoned professionals versus digital natives isn’t an easy feat, especially if your company is still operating with outdated software and practices. Reframing your commitment to automation is the best way to usher in innovative, young talent that can evolve with business and industry.

Admittedly, the pandemic has forced businesses to operate in a remote, digital landscape but before that companies were already using SAP or other ERP systems. Today, the chances of a business being debilitatingly analog are slim, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the company has checked all the boxes for a tech-savvy new hire.

Job Market Shifts

Each age group holds very different expectations when it comes to their career trajectories, employer’s work culture, and finding a balance between both. ERP users born between 1960 and 1970 are likely not rushing toward the latest tech because they’re comfortable using their traditional, manual approaches. Considering the introduction of the world wide web occurred in 1995, young recruits have a completely different exposure to work productivity and rely on automation.

While the entire baby boomer generation is set to retire in the coming years, the demand for qualified young talent will significantly exceed the supply. This transition puts an emphasis on companies to create a digital landscape that will attract these career starters as soon as possible. Another thing to keep in mind is that as this imbalance between supply and demand goes, young talent will be even more critical of the technological advancements of companies.

Monotonous, old-fashioned work processes aren’t going to cut it and neither will the promise of company raffles for movie passes and swag bags. Millennials and Generation Z are in search of a daily work culture that aligns with their reality and while these perks are thoughtful, they don’t necessarily signal a company’s grasp on innovation.

Tools For Digital Natives

Before you can identify exactly what kind of tools a digital native would want to work with, you’ll need to consider a few things. Your company should be thinking about how processes are designed, the user experience of these tools, and if they’re user-friendly. Developing a perspective that encourages flexibility and new-age thinking is important when trying to recruit digital natives.

Companies that prioritize automation are enabling their employees to be more productive by focusing on the more meaningful aspects of their work. Another bonus for companies with a high degree of automation is that it could compensate for staff shortages. Overall, your objective is to introduce intuitive, user-friendly software with processes that your staff can use regardless of if they’re new hires or seasoned talent.

Your company’s investment in digitalization updates isn't a project solely for senior-level leadership and the IT department. The beauty of automation is that because it impacts everyone, it can be shaped by everyone. Arranging for users of all levels to provide feedback on their experience is key to limiting disruptions in the implementation process. The earlier you can start collecting feedback, the better. Your employees will feel appreciated for being encouraged to provide insights that affect them but also, that data you collect helps bridge the technology gap between different aged users in a more inclusive way.

About The Author

Danny Schaarmann is CEO & President of xSuite North America.