As companies continue to make changes that allow them to be more efficient, Automation initiatives have grown dramatically. Software as a Service (SaaS) and the automation applications are becoming widely explored and practiced as they allow companies plentiful benefits:
- Advancing over their competitors in providing faster and better services
- Freeing up the time of their work staff to create opportunities to perform more value added tasks
- Saving a great deal of money thanks to diminished costs associated with time management and errors
With these noteworthy benefits comes one particular reoccurring concern from the employees of these companies that are deploying automation tools. “Sure—Automation will free up a lot of my time and allow much more efficiency for my company. But, doesn’t that create the potential that my company to eventually eliminate my job if my work is no longer necessary?”
“Automation Elevating Workers, Not Eliminating”
I recently read an article that gave sound reassurance for those employees who fear losing their jobs to automation. There was a particular point within the article that really stuck with me—”Automation drives a transformation of the workplace, not an elimination.” Rather than employees worrying about losing their jobs, they should consider the transformation that automation creates in the workplace. The article discusses two different types of work–routine work and knowledge work. Routine work is the work that automation is applied towards. As automation comes into play, the routine work completed by employees manually is lessened—ultimately achieving the main goal and purpose for automation tools.
The Transition to Knowledge Work
So where does that put those employees whose routine work is been diminished by automation? Instead of them carrying out their conventional work, these employees are given the opportunity to participate in more knowledge driven work. For example, instead of an employee needing to walk to and from the fax machine to retrieve an order or invoice, automation allows documents to be data-captured and inputted into your SAP or ERP system without manual work keying. With less time being required for the tedious efforts of routine work, employees can have more time to work on more value added tasks that can help to grown their professional growth and their company.
A More Enjoyable Work Environment
I think it goes without needing to be said that knowledge based work is far more professionally fulfilling and interesting than routine work. Knowledge based work allows for more professional expression, innovation and creativity. For example:
- Customer Service Employees can spend more time servicing customers and achieve higher productivity.
- Accounts Receivable Professionals can focus more on developing ways to assist their customers in making their payables processes easier.
- Accounts Payable Professionals can allow for quicker invoice approvals (with a touchless process) and more attention to be given to value added tasks rather than manual steps of invoice capture.
Automation is not an enemy. As the demand for routine work is lessened, the need for knowledge work will explode. This trend in the workplace will ultimately promote employe
e satisfaction and the need for employees in an automation driven world even more.