There’s a tremendous amount of focus on the general concept of automation right now.
It’s something that’s discussed with excitement by many tech and business leaders, but employees have quite a bit more anxiety about the idea of workplace automation.
It’s natural employees would feel fear as they hear America’s business leaders discussing all of the capabilities automation and artificial intelligence are likely to take on in the coming years. No worker wants to feel like their replacement is coming in to take over, but automation isn’t avoidable.
However, automation that’s most likely to be happening in modern workplaces doesn’t mean that all of the human jobs are going to be eliminated. It tends to instead refer to software and other technology that can automate some things and improve efficiency and productivity for not just the entire workplace, but for employees at the individual level.
One example of a simple way many companies already incorporate automation is through their expense management software and the accompanying expense report app they use. Employees may not even think of these as forms of automation, but they are.
This is an example of automation that ultimately improves the work life of employees if they’re open to it.
It’s important for businesses to calm the automation fears of employees so that they can move forward and also put automation to best use in the workplace. The following are some ways to help employees in this area.
Frame Automation As Creating Value
Business leaders need employees that feel secure in their position, and to have that they need to reframe pre-existing ideas about automation.
Automation shouldn’t be perceived as something used to cut costs and in particular human capital costs.
Instead, it needs to be framed as something to create value for everyone in the organization.
Rethink Existing Job Roles
Just because a business relies on automation at some level, it doesn’t mean that human capital isn’t essential.
What it may mean, however, is that job roles change, grow and evolve.
Businesses should make sure they’re ahead of the game as they assess job roles, make the necessary changes and then ensure they’re training and preparing their employees to take on these new roles and the challenges that may come with them.
What a lot of employees find is that with thoughtfully implemented automation and changes in job roles, they’re more fulfilled and they find their job more rewarding.
Put A Premium On Uniquely Human Skills
Employers aren’t necessarily completely in the driver’s seat. Unemployment is low, and it shows that human capital is in demand, but sometimes in a different way.
For example, rather than certain technical skills, employers are now looking more toward filling positions based on soft skills or social skills. These are the things that can’t be achieved through automation and AI.
As an employer, make it known that this is something you value, and put a priority on developing the soft skills and the social skills of your employees so that they remain a valuable resource for your organization.
Finally, always have a strategy in place before implementing new technology or automation solutions. That strategy shouldn’t just address the technical elements of implementing new technology. It should also address the human element.
Have a plan for dealing with resistance, understand the fears of employees, and make it a top focus area to work with employees as you move through the inevitable growing pains of change that come with automation at any level.