Without a doubt, automation makes our lives in a variety of work settings easier. From the use of an automated packaging system to robotic machinery, certain tasks are simplified by the process. But, is this really a good thing for companies that have employees who once performed those tasks? When an automated process or tool replaces functions that employees were skilled at performing, it will not take long for them to become less motivated. If the entire process is not properly managed, you will have a totally disengaged workforce.
From a business perspective, automated applications are appealing and cannot be ignored in today’s environment. These systems reduce incidents of human error, cut operational costs and simplifies complex and dangerous tasks.However, businesses should expand this perspective to include the impact automation can have on employees.
Ways Automation Changes Your Workforce Unfortunately, the people you hired have become dulled and less focused than they were before automated systems were introduced. Solving problems with production and efficiency creates new issues. When the motivation and engagement levels of your employees wane, they are more prone to make the errors you hope to eliminate. If retention does not become a problem, they will stay and be less effective in their daily responsibilities.
Before switching, it is critical that your senior management team think about how automation will impact employees who are used to manually completing tasks. Change is difficult under the best circumstances; it becomes harder when your employees believe change is taking their jobs.
What You Can Do for Employees While Automating TasksIt is clear that harnessing this new technology is good for your business. But, how will you keep your employees sharp and fully engaged while some tasks and responsibilities are replaced with an automated system?
First, talk to employees – before the automated system is installed. Clearly communicate the changes, including why the changes are necessary. Ask for your employees’ input on how they would like to see their jobs change. Doing this gives them a level of control over what happens.Changes to their daily routine does not need to have a negative effect on your employees. Pay close attention to signs of drops in effort and skill. Now that you are improving work processes, it is also the responsibility of management to help employees maintain their flow of productivity.
As with any new project or system you want to implement, thinking “people first” will help ensure that your employees do not put their work responsibilities in last place.