Building a strong employee-machine relationship

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Intelligent automation can drive great benefits for business, namely a huge competitive advantage, but not without taking the steps needed to bring your most important asset – your people – along for the journey. When considering how automation can impact their organization, many leaders first think of technological expertise and speed. Not so fast. Teams must have the right mindset and ways of working in place to enable a true human-machine partnership and reach intelligent automation’s full potential.

Our survey report focused on the human-machine relationship and found that only 2% of respondents said their team had the right skills to benefit from automation and perceptions of automation often differ between the C-suite and the employees doing the work. 

So, how can you overcome some of the most pressing challenges organizations face when implementing intelligent automation?

  • Overcommunicate. Employees who don’t understand the purpose of automation in their organization may be wary of its impact on their jobs. Ensure employees understand how intelligent automation will streamline their workflows and decision making, reduce repetitive tasks, make work more enjoyable and ultimately enable success! For example, in some highly administrative customer service roles where automating repetitive manual tasks enables employees to interact more with customers, it’s critical to communicate that automation will make room for more fulfilling work rather than replace employees.

Communication with users is just as critical. Read this article from my colleague Joana Cerejo for tips on building trust in intelligent automation. 

  • Take a strategic approach to defining scope. To keep employees engaged and set your organization up for long-term success, kick off the automation implementation process by focusing on the use cases that are most impactful and relevant to your teams’ needs. Identifying these use cases that have both high potential for success and a major impact on teams’ workloads will ultimately build organizational confidence in the technology.

Download our Insights on intelligent automation of knowledge work thought paper to dig deeper into why success automation starts and ends with your use cases.

  • Align automation efforts with business objectives. Never automate just for the sake of automation. One of the most common pitfalls is attempting to do too much, too fast, and ultimately failing due to a poorly defined scope. Instead, consider your biggest business goals – like freeing up employee bandwidth, removing manual tasks, or increasing the speed of response to customers – and how automation might be able to support them. This ensures automation is implemented within the broader context of the business and that people have the visibility needed to compare, prioritize and prove the value of different automation opportunities. 

Check out this article from my colleague Andrew Husak for quick tips on prioritizing your business projects. 

  • Training, training, training. Well-trained employees can not only positively impact automation implementations, but can also champion its advantages to the rest of the organization because they understand its impact on the business and their own roles. Employees should be trained not only on the specific technology being used but also educated on its benefits to the organization and their own development process. Invest in educating employees so they can use automation solutions to their fullest potential.

My colleague Aldis Erglis has more on the importance of education in ensuring automation makes people more productive in this article.

Intelligent automation only works when employees feel invested, supported, and engaged in their organization’s implementations. Keep them at the forefront when planning and executing intelligent automation projects to see employees and automation projects alike reach their full potential.