Reinventing Jobs · A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work · Book Review

Reinventing Jobs

In “Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work,” authors Ravin Jesuthasan and John W. Boudreau tackle the burgeoning issue of automation and its impact on the workforce. The book stands out for its actionable, methodical approach to what is often considered a complex and nebulous subject. It offers not just theoretical explanations but a comprehensive guide for how businesses can thoughtfully apply automation technologies without blindly eliminating jobs.

The authors break down their approach into four distinct steps: deconstruct, optimize, automate, and reconfigure. This structure demystifies the process of assessing work tasks and determining which can or should be automated. The deconstruction step, for instance, emphasizes the importance of dissecting jobs into tasks that can be analyzed independently. Each subsequent step is carefully outlined to guide decision-makers through the nuances of optimizing workflow, applying the appropriate type of automation, and finally, restructuring roles in a manner that enhances both efficiency and job satisfaction.

What makes “Reinventing Jobs” particularly noteworthy is its nuanced view on automation. While acknowledging the efficiencies that automation can bring, Jesuthasan and Boudreau stress that not all tasks are best suited for machines. They argue for a balanced approach that considers human-machine collaboration as a valuable model, which allows organizations to draw upon the strengths of both. The case studies included are informative, illustrating the book’s principles with real-world examples that range from manufacturing to healthcare.

However, one limitation of the book could be its somewhat clinical tone and the heavy use of business terminology, which may not appeal to every reader. The authors are speaking primarily to executives, strategists, and HR professionals, so those without a background in these fields might find some sections dense.

Overall, “Reinventing Jobs” is a valuable read for leaders seeking a structured approach to applying automation in their organizations. In a landscape rife with predictions about the end of work as we know it, this book provides a more balanced, practical, and optimistic path forward. It is an essential guide for those looking to harness the power of automation while also preserving and even enhancing the roles that humans play in the workplace.