People get ready

The future of work is human

humans in the workplace

When I walked into the office last Monday, signs of celebration were everywhere. There were welcome banners, balloons in the lobby and a line of smiling faces heading toward new-employee orientation. What was I missing?

Oh yes! I remember—approximately 120 interns started work last week and will be with us at ServiceNow in Santa Clara this summer. I was happy to see how welcomed we made them feel, because that feeling of being included, of belonging in the workplace, is so important.

People make the difference within a company. Strategy, business plans and financial results are key components, of course, but when a company fosters a culture that helps its employees reach their full potential, I believe this unlocks their superpowers.

It may seem counterintuitive with so much being written about technology taking over our jobs. Do people still matter? Or will we lose out to robots and their speed, accuracy and ability to work 24/7?

Tech in service of people

At ServiceNow, I see first-hand the ways technology is making the way we work, work better. For example, our customers in the healthcare industry are certainly focused on growing revenue and managing expenses. But for many of them, their larger aspiration is to help people stay healthy.

In Australia, the Prince of Wales Hospital is integrating digital technologies into their “analog” hospital services to truly transform patient care. The hospital uses DeloitteASSIST, an app built on the ServiceNow Platform, that lets patients request assistance without having to lift a finger. A patient simply speaks her request and nurses are alerted to her need, with AI prioritizing requests to the right resource to meet the patient’s needs.

Doctors and nurses in hospitals that use this feature have said the technology not only makes them more productive but truly helps people in their care. That is technology-powered purpose at work. I am encouraged by the curiosity that enables this innovation.

Like the example above, I believe the future of work is technology-enabled—and people-centric. Research shows that in the future, automation technologies will impact a percentage of all jobs; there are admittedly some tasks that are better off done digitally.

But it’s also true that people will continue to perform the more fulfilling, creative, critical-thinking roles that we have for centuries. We don’t live to serve technology; technology exists in service to us. For me, technology has helped me in my career and personal life being dyslexic—I don’t know what I would do without spell-check! And what about voice-enabled texting? Another way for me to communicate with ease and not worry about spelling!

Unlocking human purpose

With that mindset, the impact of technology isn’t scary. It can actually make us better, help us be more productive and unlock opportunities for us to focus on what’s meaningful in our work. These benefits are not limited to the current workforce; they extend to employees who are early in their careers.

Millennials and Gen Z, for example, expect their employers to have a bigger purpose than merely profit. By implementing technologies that enable all employees to get their jobs done in simpler, easier and more intuitive ways, companies free people up to learn, develop, grow and contribute.

Interns who started at ServiceNow last week received MacBooks, an email account, and Slack and Workplace profiles. Those are table stakes. But what will make a difference for them here is the quality of work they can look forward to this summer.

There’s a reason we welcomed 120 individuals, not a class of robots, to ServiceNow. We need their creativity, diverse perspectives and unique experiences. We’ll give them the technology, tools and resources to handle their day-to-day tasks, so they can focus their time and energy on writing awesome code for our next platform release and developing powerful features that our customers can use.

There’s no doubt technology is changing the way we work. But rather than take over for us, technology will ultimately serve to enrich our experience at work—making us happier and more fulfilled as employees along the way.