How to Automate Without Losing Employees

New studies show that many workers in the United States are not afraid of being replaced by robot.

A recent study on the issue and found that three-quarters of the participants embraced automation in the workplace, and 30 percent of the participants believe that it will make their job easier.

However, there is a big piece of the public discourse that is concerned about how automation will affect their job, or how it can make it more difficult.

Job security is important, because you don’t want your best employees thinking that they need to find a new job. The staff needs to know that these processes are designed to make their jobs easier.

They need to know that automation is designed to do menial and tedious tasks, and that their time is better served on task that require a bit more brain power. Linda Galipeau, the CEO of Randstad North America, stated that businesses need to ensure that their employee’s skills complement the automation that is being integrated into their business.

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The implementation of innovative automation technology will work to make employees more efficient, eliminate or lessen the occurrence of errors, and allow employees to work on tasks that require higher level skills. It doesn’t bog the staff down doing tasks that require little to no skills.

This allows your employees to perform tasks that challenge them, and increases the efficiency of the work being completed. Here are some ways to automate work without increasing stress levels within your organization:

Being Mindful of the Past

The first step when deciding on what automation processes to implement and beginning the process of automation is to think about the way that things have been done for centuries before. Machines have been slowly replacing tasks that human workers have been performing for two centuries.

There have been predictions that machines will replace human workers throughout this time as well. However, the total replacement has yet to come, but this doesn’t mean that many jobs were not lost to automated systems in the past.

Textile workers, during the Industrial Revolution, protested that the steam engines would replace them and affect their livelihood. In the 1960’s, President Kennedy expressed how it would be hard to maintain full employment with machines replacing men in the workplace.

In the 1980’s, there were some concerns that the computer would eliminate more jobs. But throughout history, automation has not caused the loss of employment, but rather it has changed the jobs that are available to them.

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This is something that should be kept in mind when automating tasks in the workplace. The perception by some in the workplace is that it will cause them to lose their job. Therefore, it is important for the worker to understand that the automated tasks are designed to handle the tedious and low-skill jobs that the employee likely doesn’t like to do anyways.

They need to know that the idea is to allow them to spend their time doing strategic tasks that machines are unable to do and ones that require a higher level of skills. This means that businesses should continually develop the skills of their employees alongside automation systems and artificial intelligence.

Communicate Your Needs

Many business owners fail to communicate their expectations to their employees and then become upset when the employees perform below expectations. Not every employee understands exactly what is expected of them.

That is why it’s important for the employees to understand their place in the automated workplace. They need to understand that they will still be needed and the automated system is designed to make the tasks they do, easier. Understanding the various components of communication and how to effectively communicate value to the employees during an automation transition is ideal.

When computers first entered the business world, there was a similar pattern in many industries, that found that instead of them destroying jobs, they redefined them. An analysis of the American workforce from 1982 to 2012 showed that occupations grew faster in industries that used computers and that automation increased the speed of one task to allow them to do the other parts more efficiently.

Computers reallocated jobs, instead of replacing them.

By communicating to employees how they will work with the automated systems to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness of processes within an organization, they will understand how they work with the automated systems, instead of these systems taking over their jobs.

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For example, an accounts payable automation system will work with the accounts payable clerk to minimize tedious tasks and improve on the overall efficiency, by eliminating errors. This will allow the AP clerk to concentrate on higher skill level tasks. Automation is rampant in marketing, too. But that doesn’t mean that marketers are becoming extinct. It just changed the industry entirely, and freed up marketers to think more creatively about their work.

These are just a few examples, but that’s how it works in most industries. Automation allows workers time to think more creatively about their jobs, and work on strategy rather than minutiae.

When preparing to improve your processes with automation, it is important to understand how the implementation of these systems may affect your staff and how best to communicate how your staff will work alongside the automated services.

They should know that the systems are in place to support them, instead of replace them.


  About

Susan Ranford is an expert on career coaching, business advice, and workplace rights at avidxchange.com . She has written for New York Jobs, IAmWire, and ZipJob. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.
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