Automation benefits businesses. That’s a fact. Lots of attention has been paid to the fact that employee productivity goes up, errors and costs decline, and employees have time to do work of higher value to the organization.
This is all good—for the company. But what about the employees themselves? What do they think of automation in general and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in particular?
Get rid of the mundane stuff
According to the Future of Work Survey 2020, more than two-thirds of Americans (67%) think positively of automation, agreeing with the statement, “I believe it could assist me with tasks and make my job more efficient.” In a 2019 Forbes Insights study, 92% of companies saw an improvement in employee satisfaction after RPA was deployed. And, it wasn’t just a little bit improved: more than half (52%) said employee satisfaction increased by 15 percent or more.”
When asked in the Future of Work survey what tasks they would like assistance with, the participants most commonly answered:
- Answering phone calls
- Making confirmation phone calls
- Sending follow-up emails
- Completing spreadsheets
- Organizing and filing
- Keeping track of incoming data
- Filling out the same papers over and over again
- Sending reminder notices for payment
- Tracking payments and completed job orders
All of these things could be poster children for RPA and intelligent automation.
Ability to use more human qualities
Evidence is piling up that although companies may think well of the proverbial “higher-value work” that RPA frees employees up to do, the workers themselves have a different take on it.
The Harvard Business Review states key to making RPA work from an organizational culture point of view comes down to creating a business model in which software robots (“bots”) and humans workers complement each other. Machines do repetitive tasks. They will always be better at those, will never tire, and can perform at speeds that humans are (mostly) incapable of achieving.
Humans, on the other hand, have gifts of creativity, caring, empathy, intuition, and are able to perform leaps of logic that programmed algorithms cannot. Such skills cannot be “botsourced,” says the Harvard Business Review.
Almost a third (27%) of workers surveyed for the Future of Work study said automation would allow them to be more creative, and an equal number said it would allow them to focus on more long-term strategic planning. These are arguably more compelling arguments from a worker’s point of view as to the advantages of bots.
As a kicker, more than two-thirds of American workers say they would be more likely to apply to work for a company investing in new automation technologies than those that weren’t.
Lifelong learning—a goal of millennials in particular
One of the best ways to add value to an employee’s work life is by investing in career development through reskilling. Millennials, in particular, value picking up new skills.
As a first step, you need to make sure your employees learn how to work with your bots. This alone will help them evolve their skills. As they grow more confident, they can use Automation Anywhere Robotic Interface (AARI) to build their own digital assistants to help them with their jobs. They may even become citizen developers to create bots for others in their department or even the company as a whole. This not only drives your company forward on its digital transformation journey but takes your employees along with you.
Today’s jobs mostly require four-year college degrees. Graduates of such programs don’t want to do the kind of jobs that bots can do. Many employees spend hours of their days on work well below their education and skill levels. This is why, according to the 2019 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, only 40% of millennial workers are “highly satisfied” in their jobs. To satisfy and retain workers, companies are rethinking employment.
In a recent Deloitte survey, 61% of executives said they were actively redesigning jobs around artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. They’re making up completely new job types that don’t exist today. Indeed, a landmark study by the World Economic Forum in 2016 found that 65% of children entering primary school today will be hired into jobs that don’t yet exist.
RPA can help you get ahead of the curve—and increase employee satisfaction—by thinking about what these new jobs will be today.
What’s good for the employee is good for the company, too
According to Gartner, worldwide Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software revenue will be nearly $1.9 billion in 2021, an increase of 19.5% from 2020. And even despite the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, Gartner still expects that the RPA market will increase at double-digit rates through 2024.
At these growth rates, you may want to use RPA in two ways: Do good for your company, sure—increase productivity, eliminate errors, cut costs, the works. But think of your employees, too. How can you use RPA to enhance their satisfaction? You’ll do yourself, as well as them, a huge favor.