Do your Teams know that the RPA robots are coming?
Only three of four years ago automation (RPA) exploratory meetings were held behind closed doors. Blinds down, so only those invited are aware of the meeting, discretion was essential. Business leaders wanted to learn about robots (robotic process automation) as they know, incorporating them facilitates a more efficient way of working but keen not to scare their team.
Concern around people leaving in droves if they found out the company was looking at automation/RPA were real. Stories of staff resigning on the premise their jobs are no longer required, trying to be ahead of the game. Putting COVID-19 to one side, in the last few years, we have seen that slowly, blinds are starting to be left open. Wearing our company badges became acceptable, and volume for the presentations could finally be increased!
Reality of change
Slowly people are becoming used to the reality of change and familiar with the various names: Robotic Process Automation, Intelligent Automation, Hyper Automation & AI. Still, there is a concern; we hear teams saying “maybe it will not be that bad for us”, “nothing is changing today” although when they told their work will become more interesting with automation support there’s still scepticism. Many push the concern down and continue with repetitive jobs (which bizarrely they often wonder if there is a better way to execute their workflows), process invoices, applications, checks, reporting, on/off-boarding Etc. The uncertainty is troubling.
In the world of IT, things are different; masses are training in RPA & AI, making sure their knowledge is up to date, ensuring their skills are needed. From a leadership perspective, like IT, they want to learn quickly, pushing to identify use cases and lower cost to deliver using automation is now a priority. Blending IT & Operations is achievable through automation, and the results can be astounding.
Where are we now?
Things have moved on exponentially in this space; almost every strategic conversation with management, IT and Operations process automation (RPA) or AI will come up. Strategic leaders are actively increasing knowledge around use case potential, capability, cost, and implementation/support strategy. Identifying new areas to deliver cost savings, improve resilience/scalability/free teams to support other business functions and standardisation is top of the agenda, a healthy business that can compete is essential.
Potential market growth for this new Technology is astounding; the projected global spend (according to Gartner is 2.4 Billion by 2022). It is almost impossible to quantify the exact figure of cost-saving, process improvement, additional capacity this will deliver. Ballpark could be ten times that, i.e. for every pound spent on automation, you get ten back. With a predicted spend of 2.4 billion in 2022, that is something you must not miss out.
An empowered workforce
What happened to the people whose jobs are changing because of the bots? Who is talking to them as it seems more often than not, our people are forgotten, which is odd because three years ago, this is where the concern was. Whenever a process is automated or redesigned, there will be a positive or negative impact on our staff’s daily workload. Increased resilience, using fewer people to do the same job, freeing people from repetitive or mundane work, allowing them to focus on more complex people-orientated work and for some, unfortunately, redundancy.
With all the fear and concern, the final point “redundancy” is not common. Most organisations struggle to recruit, train, retain their staff, and it is an additional expense. It makes more sense to redeploy, allocate different work, find new roles to make the best of their “human workforce”.
Time and time again were implementing/supporting RPA or building an RPA COE for our clients and come against bad will. A supposed lack of interest from the teams we need to replicate. Coming from a people a background we know these are not un-cooperative or “bad” employees, they are scared. No one has explained in detail how implementing robotic process automation (RPA) will affect them.
How to prepare your team
Using a proven framework is paramount from a technology and people management perspective. Software automation is unlike anything we have used before; by its nature robots work with us. We share our work with them across the front/middle and back office. Deliverables must be met through people and bots, each with their role, and this had to be clearly defined. Development is the smallest piece so focussing purely on that offers little long-term value. Strategy to integrate automation across all teams to work in tandem with our people is complicated.
Assurances have not been provided for job security, and short/medium/long term strategy is not shared, so they do not understand. Stress and mental health can be affected. Quality of work deteriorates, and some quit. From a project implementation perspective, support is not at the standard it should be, so mistakes are made. Go-Live is delayed, and the ROI takes longer to attain, all avoidable.
People can be dubious by nature (especially when it comes to how they earn their living), so one or no meeting to quickly say were using RPA soon and not to worry is not enough. People do not like change and not knowing what is happening. It is essential to communicate and make assurances. Individual & team meetings, having an open door at the beginning will make a difference. Long term your teams will be happier, projects delivered better, and ROI on your automation investment appreciated sooner. A win for everyone.
JifJaff is an RPA vendor-agnostic implementation and certified Nine Pillar automation / RPA COE training and consultancy. People change management, Process identification, business case creation, validation matrix, support, team structure and governance, access to new Technology, and reviews are essential to ensure a successful long-term automation programme.
JifJaff will either build/implement process automation for you or if having the internal capability is the preference, entry to the Nine Pillar family ensures you will quickly become experts. Our RPA COE framework ensures you speed through the learning phase. Drive efficiencies quicker and realise your ROI with our support. Invest in implementing multiple automation(s) yourself at a fraction of the cost. Avoid issues, rebuild, the mistakes in approach & delivery you would only be aware of after having delivered hundreds of automation(s).
Make sure both your people and robots are appropriately managed. Automation is more complicated than you may have been led to believe. Do it right the first time and keep everyone happy.