By: Max Nelson
A recent highly-publicized study by economists from MIT and Boston University concluded that automation is primarily responsible for American job loss. They claim that over the last 20 years, modern industrialization techniques rather than trade have been the main factor in the erosion of manufacturing jobs.
But GE CEO Jeff Immelt claims these fears are overblown. Political rhetoric and negative media coverage contribute to anxieties over job loss, he believes, especially in blue collar industries. In a move that has boosted the morale of his employees, Immelt is saying publicly that GE will be changing its globalization strategy. GE will be emphasizing domestic, self-contained production staffed by smarter, better-trained workers who will have turned menial jobs over to automation.
At CommCore, we urge CEOs to communicate clearly about employee concerns such as job loss:
- Listen. It’s important that leaders listen to their employees to better understand exactly how they feel. Remember that to them, any and all concerns are valid.
- Remind. Executives should remind employees of the value they bring to their company. Regardless of their role, workers need to know that their contributions matter.
- Explain. A CEO is a company’s Communicator-in-Chief. He or she should explain to workers how trends such as automation affect them. When talking about the direction of the company and managing change, leaders must remain open and honest to maintain trust.