The irrational fear that robots will take over the world has found place in several popular references including films such as Metropolis and all-consuming Wall-E. More realistically, people fear that robots will replace them and take away their jobs. According to a survey by ISG, 33% of the respondent claimed that organizational resistance to change posed a challenge to RPA implementation. So, the next big question is how to adopt an automation-first mindset to make businesses future-ready?
It’s a known fact that many organizations, despite having a great tech stack, face several challenges, including manual and inefficient processes, lack of properly defined rules and roles, incoherent technologies, and financial constraints. Amid these realities is the wave of disruptive technologies, which makes it harder for organizations to remain focused on ways to be relevant and add value to their client in a highly competitive world. RPA is changing the future of the workplace as just about any job function such as IT, HR, Finance, Legal and Marketing are prospects for its adoption. The need of the hour, therefore, is a candid discussion with the HR and Organizational Development leadership. That’s not all, executives and managers from these business lines need to ask themselves important questions related to the idea of an ‘automation first’ mindset.
The best way to start adopting an automation-first mindset for RPA deployment is to identify processes that can be used as a practical model for the demonstration of RPA’s effect on the organization’s current work landscape. That’s why proof of concept is extremely important before embarking an enterprise-wide RPA journey. Without a doubt, several repetitive tasks will be automated, and job responsibilities will get changed, but is that all? Surely not. Robots will take away human’s repetitive work but will bestow them with more strategic tasks that will call for amending the roles and job constructs of employees.
3 Ways To Create An Automation-First Mindset
As RPA becomes the disruptor and enabler, organizations should prepare the deployment without causing discourse or panic. Do a pilot with one process and promote the benefits of RPA. For instance, tell your employees how RPA deployment will provide them a chance to upskill and open new career paths for them. While most business leaders know the benefits of RPA, they seldom communicate it with the rest of the workforce. This leads to confusion and anxiety among people. Employees not only need to be assured about the benefits of RPA but should also be consulted at every step of the implementation to create an automation-first mindset.
Humanize the Bots
Just like you onboard a new employee, it is essential to build a work relation when adopting a new bot. By blending the bot with your employees, you create a co-bot (like a co-worker), making people be at ease while working with it. It creates an environment where the staff sees the co-bot as just a teammate responsible for doing most of their manual work. Introduce your co-bot as you’d introduce any new employee and, if it’s not too crazy, throw a welcome party that gives employees a chance to interact with the bot. Not getting too carried away, but you may also humanize the bot by creating an official account of the co-bot and give it a human name. The next Alexa, Siri or Cortana could just be a click away from becoming your next employee. By humanizing the bot, you can scale the use of the bot and enhance efficiency without facing resistance from your staff.
Market Automation’s Success
Use your internal communications teams to market your automation success. That’s not all, get employees on board before and during the deployment of RPA. Create an automation-first mindset by including your staff in the initial stages and let them know the exact roles and responsibilities of the bot. When you achieve success with RPA, interview employees who worked with the bot and let them tell others how they felt during the entire process. Internal branding of this technology can go a long way to help people fully understand the benefits of RPA. In the long run, it will help you scale your RPA deployment since people will always be open to the idea of focusing on more valuable tasks.
The Final Verdict
It’s an exciting time for organizations and the winds of change will either make the business flourish in the future or fade out slowly. The key differentiator will be the automation-first mindset that sooner or later companies will have to adopt. It is the job of the leadership to review the future of the workplace and ensure that skills and competencies are upheld amid the tides of digital disruption. There will be new developments every passing day and technology will come and go, but one thing is for sure, humans are here to stay. Their job roles may change, but bots are not going to rule the planet anytime soon.