CX Spotlight by Fifth Quadrant

New book tackles why Australian businesses are getting workforce management wrong

Sydney, 2 May 2018 – As industries journey through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, most organisations in Australia don’t understand nor execute workforce management effectively, and, in fact, are woefully unaware of how technology has an impact on staff and their business. A recent global survey found that almost 95 per cent of organisations worldwide don’t know how to manage their workforce effectively.

The First Industrial Revolution saw the combination of man and machine to mass-produce items. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will see the combination of people and robots to mass produce items even more efficiently and just like the labour issues of the first revolution, if industry doesn’t manage the human and digital workforces properly they will see pain not profit. 

Jarrod McGrathThese are some of the insights explored in the new book The Digital Workforce by Jarrod McGrath, workforce management leader, founder and Chief Executive Officer of strategic workforce management consultancy, Smart WFM.

“I couldn’t believe how high this figure was,” said McGrath. “Despite the widely-acknowledged fact that happy, engaged employees are the main contributor to a successful business, leaders and HR professionals across Australia are getting it wrong. Businesses don’t understand digital workforce management and how their employees and customers can benefit, and least of all the role new technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) can play.” 

The book, published through Major Street Publishing, explores the impact technology has on the worker and what employers need to do to embrace this and create a smart workforce management strategy. McGrath sees a shift in workforce attitudes linked to the technology-led Fourth Industrial Revolution and explains how businesses are unprepared to leverage the tools of this to effectively manage today’s workforce. 

“We’re in the midst of this still relatively new industrial revolution, with the Internet of Things (IoT), workforce robots and blockchain technology playing a part in how workforces are managed. But much like policy makers, business leaders have not been able to keep up with these advancements and are failing to leverage technology in areas such as human resources, payroll and workforce management.

“This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that newer generations entering the workforce expect technology to play a positive role in how their work is structured. Businesses are failing to enact policies around flexible working, for example, frustrating employees who need this flexibility to, say, participate in the gig or sharing economies in addition to their day-to-day jobs.”

The Digital Workforce highlights AI as a key aspect to developing the right workforce management strategy. 

“AI sparks a number of fears, from a ‘Terminator-style’ apocalypse to the threat it poses against jobs,” said McGrath.

“It will put certain roles to the sword, but it can also free up workers from laborious and repetitive tasks. If applied correctly, it could mean employees at all levels could make a more significant impact on the business and leave grunt work to the robots. Getting it right means approaching it from a human capital perspective, rather than a capitalistic perspective.”

The book outlines a five-step methodology to help organisations understand and enact smarter workforce management, under the headings; Align, Prepare, Implement, Track and Measure. Retail, health and service businesses have the most to learn, but also the most to gain from better workforce management, according to McGrath.

The Digital Workforce features interviews and analysis from experts in the areas of workforce management and human resources, including Georgegina Poulos, Global Director People, T2 Tea; Aron Ain, CEO, Kronos; and global AI futurist Matt Michalewicz. All proceeds from the book launch and a percentage of book sales will be donated to the Cathy Freeman Foundation as part of Pledge 1%. 

“Underpinning improved team member experience is the redeployment of administrative hours through automation,” said Georgegina Poulos, Global Director People, T2 Tea.“Not only does this benefit team members, but it can also provide fantastic customer experiences and result in improved business outcomes.”

“The world around us is changing at an epic rate and if we end up in a position of status quo, we are going backwards,” said Dominic Price, panellist at the book and Head of R&D and Work Futurist, Atlassian. “Businesses that fail to extend their digital strategy to how they manage their people will suffer as the pace of this change accelerates”

The book is available now from online booksellers and through or as an eBook from most eBook sellers. 

About the Author

Jarrod McGrath articulates the strategic value of workforce management within a business, from the senior management level through to the operational coal face. He is author of The Digital Workforce and founder and Chief Executive Officer of Smart WFM.


FQ Editor

Written by FQ Editor

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Topics: press release

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