Recruit the right talent for Industry 4.0 and be customer-centric

21 Jul Recruit the right talent for Industry 4.0 and be customer-centric

The rise of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the workforce as we know it. Across every industry, traditional ways of working are about to undergo a shake-up hailed as ‘the fourth Industrial Revolution’ or ‘Industry 4.0’ – the next wave of business growth that’s characterised by disruption and digitalisation.

Many leaders think this new industrial revolution means bots will be serving customers in the future. While bots will indeed become more prevalent in customer service, it’s important to distinguish between transactional tasks where customers are happy to self-serve (i.e. through interacting with bots), and the point where technology stops and humans can’t be replaced (i.e. in solving complex problems and crafting personalised solutions).

As businesses prepare to future-proof for Industry 4.0, there are particular skills that need to be recruited for on the front line. To better adapt to change and manage new technologies, forward-thinking businesses are already looking for strategies to recruit and retain the right talent.

Here are 3 pointers on how to recruit the right talent for Industry 4.0 and ensure that your business planning remains customer-centric.

1. Recruit front line talent who are ‘expert engagers’.

As the industry becomes increasingly reliant upon technology, when a ‘human’ element is needed in customer service, it will require a new type of person. The best front line people should demonstrate the knowledge and skills to be ‘expert engagers’ – something we at FuturePeople refer to as ‘Emotional Fitness’.

Leaders need to recruit talent who are agile and have the ability to multitask; people who can engage with customers across a range of channels, whether it’s digital, voice or in person.

Talent should be socially and emotionally intelligent, enabling them to build trust with customers and have a positive influence upon the company culture.

2. More diversity is needed on the front line.

In a multicultural society, businesses need to reflect the diversity in the community in their recruitment choices and processes. The recent census results highlighted that our cultural demographic is rapidly changing. 1 in 4 Australians are born overseas, especially in the UK, China and India. In every 100 people, 3 identify as Indigenous.

Despite our diverse population, we are not yet seeing different diversity equally represented in the workforce – especially at the senior executive level. Given that the front line is often the entry point to an organisation, leaders should be recruiting front line people from diverse backgrounds to help them progress their careers, all the while furthering the organisation’s diversity agenda.

3. New recruitment processes will future-proof your business.

It’s now crucial to measure the Emotional Fitness of your people in the recruitment process. Leaders should ensure that employees are ‘emotionally fit’ to engage in the higher level of emotional labour that digitalisation demands. This skillset is not only required as an employee wellbeing initiative, but also to create emotional connections with customers. With the rise of the ‘gig’ economy, it’s also important to look beyond the resume and focus on the person.  Businesses who want to remain competitive and enhance the customer experience need to recruit from non-traditional pools.


To future-proof for Industry 4.0, understand the Emotional Fitness profile of your existing high performers and use these metrics to attract more people like them. Ensure you have the right front line talent who can engage rather than ‘transact’ with customers.