By | Dawn Castell
For years, headlines like “automation are stealing jobs” have scared some workers away from this innovative technology. When the subject is discussed, many workers become tense and concerned. Even something like CMMS, which will only improve productivity and well-being, can cause negative reactions. If you are interested in embracing automation and automation control in your workplace, there are a few things you need to know. Keep reading to learn how to make automation a reality in your workplace.
Highlight the Positive Aspects of Automation
There are countless metrics you can use to showcase the benefits offered by automation. For example, CMMS offers high ROIs and an increase in productivity. Also, CRMs can help to improve sales and boost customer retention. BPM can help you find inefficiencies in your workflow and improve your business’s bottom line.
Unfortunately, this may not be what your employees see. With CMMS, they may see a machine that is telling them how they should do their job. CRM may be another push to listening to demands from customers, even if the demands make things inefficient. They may wonder why they need to change what has been working for decades. It may even seem like a job replacement to administrative staff.
It is up to you to show employees how automation is a positive thing. For example, CMMS will help save a lot of time that may be spent logging maintenance and searching through maintenance logs, which is all tedious work that most employees are not interested in. Also, the money saved on purchasing may result in increased pay and more bonuses. A CRM system means there will be fewer angry customers taking up workers’ energy and time. BPM is going to make work easier and give individuals more time to focus on the things that they do well, rather than having to wade through all types of bureaucratic processes. Also, administrators will be able to focus on other things when they are not worried about double-checking everyone’s schedules. By highlighting all the positives of automation for employees, they will be more willing to accept this new technology.
Provide the Necessary Training
A huge fear related to automation is that the new technology will be difficult to use. By testing new technology yourself, you can help eliminate this concern before you introduce it to the workplace. You could even choose a few employees to test the technology with and get their feedback.
After you have found a solution that meets your needs and that is user-friendly, be sure to introduce it carefully and slowly. Be sure to provide plenty of time for training your workers and ensure that everyone feels comfortable with the technology before completing the transition. The more time that you put in the new technology upfront, the less time that it will require to fix any misunderstandings after the new processes are put in place.
It is also important to note that there are virtually always going to be hiccups of some type when you are moving to a new process. Make sure to remain patient and offer workers more training if needed. The results achieved are going to be worth the time and effort you put into it.
Be Sure to Automate the Right Processes
Some processes do not need to be automated. Quality automation is usually going to focus on repetitive tasks and tasks that are more likely to involve human error. For example, a rote calculation was and still is the basis for the modern computer. There are not very many financial professionals who will be upset that spreadsheets are now used rather than paper-and-pen bookkeeping methods.
The line between what you should and should not automate has been blurred a bit through the years. With advanced AI, new software has been created that can provide predictive analysis – like how CMMS can determine when machines require repair and the type of preventative maintenance that may be more affordable over time. With that in mind, there is still an element of subjective reasoning and intuition that cannot be fully automated. Having eyes on something can always be beneficial.
It is important to use caution when you automate client-facing processes. With in-house automation, you can train your employees for the amount of time necessary before a new process is rolled out – you do not have this luxury of time with your clients. You must understand what should and should not be automated when it comes to client processes. Many clients are skittish when it comes to new technology. If automation is too difficult or complex, they may not respond to it the way you hoped.
Offer Your Employees New Opportunities
The goal of automation is to help your employees save both time and energy. What are they going to do with the time and energy that is gained? You have taken steps to find your workers, hire them, provide training, and develop them into valuable members of your workforce. They should understand that automation is not the end of their jobs, and instead of that, it provides a new opportunity for expansion.
To do this, provide your employees with opportunities for job shadowing, retraining, and cross-training. You may even provide them with time to pursue their own projects, which Google offers to its employees. Encourage ongoing communication between departments to find new efficiencies. Take some time to have meetings, group discussions, and brainstorming sessions. Put, use the additional time you have to find new ways and opportunities for high-level discussions – these are the things that automation will never replace.
Take the Lead
When you begin to implement new processes, you must lead by example. Use the new technology that you are proposing yourself. Take time to automate some of the processes you use and speak honestly about your experience. When you automate your own work, you can show others in the organization that automation is something they should embrace, rather than something that they should be scared of.
Consider how much your current work has been automated. For example, emails that are sorted and stored into specific boxes to the efficiencies that are offered by BPM software – you probably have a lot of examples. Take time to share these stories and highlight how they have made your work more efficient and more interesting. You can also highlight how automation has eliminated a lot of the drudgework involved in the past.
As you begin implementing automation, make sure that you listen to any concerns that your employees have. Discuss the changes and maintain an open-door policy. When you implement automation, but you fail to answer the questions people have about it, your workers may become suspicious. By embracing automation and all the concerns related to it, you can show empathy and courage. This is something that results in superior levels of leadership, which are something that is invaluable.
By knowing what to do when implementing automation, you can enjoy all the benefits that it offers. Keep this in mind to make the most of this technology, and enjoy all that it has to offer your business and your team. Being informed is the best way to ensure that you make the most of automation and that your employees embrace it, rather than fight it.