“Automation” is a word that can have two distinct and very different connotations. On one hand, automation can lead to streamlined processes, greater productivity and higher profitability. In fact, according to Information Services Group, the implementation of robotic automation has allowed companies to move processes 5 to 10 times faster using 37 percent fewer resources. On the other hand, automation is often associated with layoffs and human obsolescence.
The reality of automation’s impact lies somewhere in the middle. While it is true, that automation has, can and will continue to improve efficiency, robots are not driving all humans into obsolescence. If you can see beyond both the hype and the hysteria, you can learn how to embrace the potential of robots.
The Case Of the ATMs
You may be old enough to remember the advent of the Automated Teller Machine. As ATMs gained in popularity, “experts” everywhere were certain they would replace bank tellers. Yet, here we are in the 21st Century and community banks still exist and they all employ tellers. Yes, ATMs are a quick way to take cash out or deposit a check, but bank tellers do more than cash and deposit checks, and ATMs are unable to do the entire job of a bank teller.
This example can be applied to nearly every business area where automation is deployed. Automation is typically utilized to make specific tasks more efficient, but as of yet, robots simply cannot replace humans. In fact, technology has been very effective at offloading mundane, repetitive tasks that humans would gladly avoid, freeing them up to focus on more strategic tasks.
Robots Can Create New Job Opportunities
In fact, automation can actually lead to the creation of new roles. In the IT world, for example, automation can be used to write scripts, monitor infrastructure and applications and even provide desktop support. As those tasks are offloaded to robots, you see an increase in workload in terms of configuring and maintaining the automated systems themselves. There is also an increased need to monitor and manage service strategy and change controls.
Manufacturing is a classic example of robots shifting the face of the technological workforce. There are fewer people on factory floors today and more machinery, but those machines require people to build them, people to maintain them and people to operate them; jobs that simply did not exist 20 years ago.
Embracing The Potential of Robots
Companies that want to adopt automation on a larger scale should be ready to think in the long-term. It is best to deploy automation slowly, so that the impact of automation can be reasonably measured and strategies can be developed to help manage both the technology and the shift in workflow.
Furthermore, companies should communicate the potential of automation to their teams early and often, so there is not panic among the group and a mass exodus before new tech is even deployed. Savvy companies even offer job training or tuition reimbursement to train employees on the new roles that could be created thanks to automation, strategies that can actually boost retention and employee satisfaction in the wake of a deployment.
If your company is adopting automation and you are finding that your IT and technical staffing needs are shifting as a result, work with the recruiting professionals at Talon. Our team can help you plan for the changing workforce and connect you with the talent you need to get the most out of robotic automation. Contact us today to learn more.