Ironically, the employees who will ultimately use tech tools are often left out of the conversation.
IT leaders almost always either lead or influence the selection, testing and implementation of new technologies. Ironically, the employees who will ultimately use the tools are often left out of the conversation, only learning about new tech after it’s chosen.
When employee buy-in isn’t prioritized from the beginning, companies run the risk of creating impractical solutions, wreaking havoc on the organization’s ability to leverage digital innovation for business improvement. On the other hand, companies experience significantly higher success rates when employees provide input about what they need from the new technology products they’ll rely on to perform their work.
But a recent study from Globant found only a third of organizations believe that employees impacted by digital transformation initiatives should be aware of changes from day one, while 43% loop in employees only after a strategy is in place.
To create a more efficient workspace for employees, and ensure work automation tools are optimized and used consistently, organizations must prioritize company-wide buy-in and support. The success of your organization’s digital initiatives hinges on a number of factors, including employee involvement. There are plenty of opportunities for employees to engage with your company’s digital transformation agenda.
There are at least four reasons why employees need to be involved in automation efforts
For employees to feel confident in your leadership and maintain a positive outlook about automation, you’ll need to foster a culture of support and structure around digital transformation. While it’s important for major company changes to come from the top and for IT to govern automation, your employees are your most important resource. Cutting employees out of the communication loop can create resentment and a lack of employee engagement.
Communicate how important automation is to your company’s success, and how important your employees are to the success of automation. Employees should understand that the goal of automation isn’t to replace jobs. Instead, the goal is often to augment people by automating low-value tasks — by embracing a symbiotic relationship with technology, your company can build better processes, and your people will feel more empowered when they save time and are more productive.
- Understanding encourages buy-in. Buy-in sets a cultural standard for the use of automation, and how it benefits both the workforce and the company. You can help people on the frontline of automation initiatives feel comfortable and empowered managing new processes by providing opportunities for training, classes and webinars. Likewise, making sure employees understand the technology and the role they play in choosing it helps them appreciate technology’s role, increases trust in their job security, and incentivizes them to become cheerleaders for automation.
- Frontline workers know their processes best. For automation tools to be effective, they need to meet the needs of frontline workers — and no matter how well-intentioned they are, the C-suite isn’t as knowledgeable about those workflows. Company and IT leaders are removed from the day-to-day work of frontline employees, who have a much better understanding of the nuances of what’s happening on the ground. Inviting feedback from employees allows IT teams to build automation solutions that match workers’ dynamic needs.
- Collaborative implementation boosts efficiency. Many organizations tend to place the brunt of automation efforts on the IT team. Because IT already has dozens of requests and responsibilities, relying solely on IT can delay transformation initiatives. Modern process automation platforms are no-code and accessible for business users. Distributing automation efforts across departments and workers speeds the automation process and empowers employees as they build automations they’ll use. Additionally, it frees time for IT to provide oversight and guidance for projects, maintaining visibility and control without feeling overwhelmed by minute automations.
- Upskilling is a win-win for employers and employees. Involving employees in the process also gives them an opportunity to learn new skills. Expanding their skillset helps employees advance in their careers and adapt to shifting responsibilities as the role of automation in the workplace grows. It’s become an imperative for employees to readily change roles to prepare for a world in which half of our work can be automated. Workers who lack the tools to succeed will quickly fall behind in today’s work landscape; on the other hand, turning employees into evangelists helps make automation a priority and reality.
Make 2020 the year of the empowered employee
Employees need to be more than an afterthought in tech implementation, especially because you’re counting on them to use the new tools you select. Dropping a major process change on your workforce without proper education and involvement causes disillusionment and makes employees feel like they are losing control of their own work routines — which can cause IT teams to lose control of the automations they’ve implemented.
Employee engagement with automation isn’t just about boosting buy-in or retention (although engagement serves that function, too). It’s critical to make sure employees are part of the process because employee involvement benefits the entire company by guaranteeing a more successful, scalable digital transformation.