Process automation inevitably raises concerns among some employees about their own job security. However, using software robots for worker augmentation – rather than worker replacement – has emerged as a much more common automation scenario within nearly every organization.
In fact, it has become increasingly clear that virtually every employ who uses a computer or a smart phone is a candidate for some level of automation assistance. Regardless of their department or position, most employees perform a number of repetitive tasks throughout their workdays. By automating these frequent and repeated processes, organizations can improve both employee productivity and satisfaction while also reducing errors and driving other benefits.
Modern robotic process automation (RPA) platforms and tools, combined with company-wide education and engagement programs, are making it possible to deliver this type of granular task automation across an organization. Interestingly, a recent study by IDC suggests the majority of employees are open to this type of personalized assistance, while many of the managers who could enable it remain uncertain about doing so.
In a survey of more than 430 respondents – both decision-makers and staff workers – at organizations with at least 250 employees, IDC found that nearly three-quarters of the staff workers were open to having software bot assistants help them conduct their everyday tasks. By contrast, 58% of the decision makers surveyed disagreed with the proposition that there would be benefits to using bots across their workforces, with just 42% thinking it would be beneficial.
IDC attributes this employee/decision-maker disparity in part to the fact that the employees are in better positions to recognize the many nuanced ways in which elements of their daily jobs could be automated. Also at play: the tendency of decision-makers to look at automation primarily with a “process-first” mindset that focuses on automating high-level tasks that span many departments and/or employees.
A more promising approach, IDC argues, is one that adopts a “people-first” mindset when it comes to identifying and implementing large numbers of more personalized automations. The most successful RPA initiatives will encompass both process-first and people-first elements.
Inherently, any efforts to democratize automations throughout an organization’s workforce will require active participation and support among the employees themselves. As noted, they are best positioned to understand which aspects of their daily routines might benefit from robotic assistance. Furthermore, many non-IT employees can even create their own automations – as discussed in an earlier post – thanks to the availability of low-code/no-code RPA tools.
Getting employee buy-in and support, however, requires a well thought-out strategy and execution plan. Organizations must educate workers about the benefits RPA can deliver to them and encourage their active participation in the push to identify and automate potentially thousands of manual processes. This type of employee outreach and engagement is one of the key capabilities that a well-designed automation center of excellence can, and should, deliver.
UiPath is a leading proponent of enabling every knowledge worker with robotic software assistants and has developed its RPA platform with that objective in mind. To learn more about this topic, see IDC’s study “A Robot for Every Worker: Are We Ready for a People-First Mindset?”