A hybrid workforce emerges

The contrarian approach improving employee experience that is about to hit the mainstream

There is little doubt people and technology will be working ever more closely together in the years to come.

As we discussed in our previous blog post, the scope and scale of automation is growing. That means it will take on more of the tasks your employees currently do, changing their roles, we think, for the better.

In the third of our series exploring the key automation trends that will shape your business in the near future, we look at why a hybrid workforce is an opportunity and not a threat.

 

What’s happening across organisations like yours

Automation does not always get the best press. Headlines about robots replacing the workforce have understandably created apprehension about its impact. But 2021 is the year this changes, and a more human-centred narrative emerges.

As automation becomes embedded in organisations, the conversation is shifting from whether bots will create mass unemployment to how they will successfully work together with humans.

Leading enterprises are now beginning to ask, how can they organise a blended workforce of humans and bots to play to the strengths each offers? How can they use automation to enable humans to make the most of their abilities, rather than replace them?

Of course, transitioning to this kind of hybrid workforce will still come with challenges. Those that do it successfully will focus on the soft skills that encourage adoption as much as the hard tech that will enable it.

 

Why this matters to you

Customer experience often takes the limelight, they are the ones paying everyone’s wages after all. But employee experience is equally important. People are the heart of any organisation and when they are happy, motivated, and more efficient, customers benefit.

Automation reduces many of the laborious or mundane tasks that your team have to do, and gives them opportunities to develop their skills, focus on the parts of their job they enjoy and grow their careers.

But people still need convincing. Not just in terms of the impact automation will have on their working lives, but also the ability of their organisations to smoothly transition to a hybrid workforce. In fact, just 15% of workers believe their organisation is capable of managing it successfully[i].

That stark statistic tells you there is lots of work to be done and points to the truth you need to be mindful of – your people strategy should not be an afterthought during a tech transformation. It should be a top priority because it has real business implications.

Get it wrong and you could do more harm than good. Your investment will be wasted, and you will have unsettled your workforce. Get it right and the benefits could define the future of your business.

[i] Empowering people in a hybrid workforce | Capita

 

How you can take advantage of it

You will need to cover every angle to really bring people with you. That means introducing change both top-down and bottom-up, putting people first at all times.

Here is how you can do it:

Top-down – There is more to this than bold CEO statements about embracing the future. To get your entire company onside you need a clear vision that everyone will buy-in to. Start by stepping back and looking at all the work your business carries out before planning how it could be done better by a hybrid workforce. Ask what problems and opportunities your people face day-to-day and develop automation that can support them, rather than identifying a process and simply replacing it with an automated version.

Bottom-up – Once you have settled on a solution don’t just drop it in place and run. Build a structure around it to bridge the gap between the tech and your workforce. That means providing training to build their digital skills, showing them new career paths that may have opened up, and demonstrating how they’ll have more power to shape their futures.

By doing this your employees will see that there is nothing to fear and a lot to gain.

 

What’s next?

Working alongside technology gives employees the chance to both develop new skills and focus on the high-value activities that they are passionate about. Using the technology available to help them solve their more repetitive day-to-day challenges.

That is one reason why our next blog, Citizen developers arise, focusses on the increasing ability of employees to design their own automation tools using ‘low code’ platforms.

If you can’t wait to read about the potential that citizen developers could have for your organisation, download our full Automation Trends 2021 eBook.

Tags: Process Automation, RPA