According to Forrester, the right leadership for employee experience is almost as vital as the tech itself for automation success.
Almost half of all work in an office can be automated, saving countless hours of time, reducing common human errors, and empowering better communication and streamlined operations across the company.
More and more businesses have adopted automation into their processes, after seeing through the false stigma that automation only serves to replace jobs—when in fact it often creates them—or is too expensive or complex compared to the ROI it delivers.
But one of the keys to successfully implementing and scaling automation is more than simply hiring a tech vendor to deploy it, according to Forrester. Rather, your organization needs to foster a culture of support and structure to initiate, follow through on, and maximize your automation experience.
Forrester urges companies to understand their automation readiness, or robotics quotient (RQ), which the research firm refers to as “the ability of individuals and organizations to learn from, adapt to, collaborate with, trust, and generate business results from automated entities, including software like RPA, AI, physical robotics, and related systems.”
In short, just as automation creates efficiencies and a better workspace for its employees, the organization needs company-wide buy-in and support to ensure automation can be optimized and used meaningfully.
In order to up your RQ game, Forrester suggests focusing on the automation framework centering around people, leadership, organization and trust (PLOT).
“What engages employees most isn’t recognition or performance-based pay as most managers believe,” according to Forrester. “Instead, psychological research shows that being able to make daily progress toward important work is what best builds engagement.”
The employees within your organization are your most important resource, and it’s vital to communicate to them the importance of automation to your company’s success, as well as the importance of their value to automation success. One is not replacing the other; rather, a symbiotic relationship between the two creates better processes for your company, and a better, more empowered experience for your people.
Employee support and skills training represents a huge part of that. For people who will be on the front lines of your automation initiatives, provide them the necessary education to improve digital and automation literacy, through training, classes, webinars, and other initiatives to ensure they feel comfortable managing the digital process that will replace the status quo.
From corporate strategy and financial goals, to culture and employee satisfaction, every company’s success level is a direct reflection of top-down decision-making. The decisions made at the leadership level will trickle down and impact employees company-wide. Deploying AI and automation is no exception.
Not only is it vital to spearhead automation efforts for your company’s operations with a clear strategic vision, offer additional skills training and support employee education initiatives as mentioned above, but it’s most important to stay nimble as new information becomes available. A huge benefit of automation technology—specifically AI and machine learning—is that it provides deeper insights into your company’s operations as you input more data.
Once those insights become available, the company’s leadership team should carve out and move forward with a more flexible strategy to best implement and act on the available intelligence.
As you implement automation into your business, your organization needs to adapt. As Forrester puts it, “to institutionalize changes in people and leaders, organizational structures need to evolve, too,” bringing “new roles and skills to support their automation operating models.”
For your business, this may require creating automation-specific departments, whether that means evolving your current IT department to focus more heavily on automation, forming a new automation-focused team like a center for excellence, or simply empowering leaders across your organization to deploy your company’s automations within their specific projects and processes.
A more complete organizational buy-in will set a cultural standard of what automation will be used for, how it will benefit employees, and how it will benefit the company overall as you adapt to evolving market needs.
In fact, companies with engaged employees maintain 81% higher customer satisfaction and 103% reduction in employee turnover.
According to Forrester, as many as 65% of global information workers fear that many people will lose their jobs to automation in the next 10 years, indicating a common theme between automation and job loss. And one of the strongest predictors of employee engagement is their organization’s ability to live its values.
This represents an opportunity for companies to show the symbiotic relationship between its people and digital workers, and how each one can help the other thrive.
An important indicator of employee engagement is “believing that their organization lives its values,” and that employees’ “work serves a higher meaning and purpose, so automation must not behave in a way that is counter to these constructs,” the report states.
Clearly communicate how humans and digital workers can work together, and how automation can actually improve your employees’ experience and impact, especially when coupled with appropriate skill development. Your organization and your employees can become allies in your quest to use automation to deliver on customer needs and develop a sharper competitive edge.
Implementing automation and AI into your business should be just as much a cultural and organizational evolution as it is a technical one. Empowering your people, leadership and organization in terms of skills, attitude, adaptability and workflow puts you on a path that supports time savings and revenue growth.