Companies often treat automation with RPA merely as technology implementation. In reality, writing and maintaining code plays a secondary – albeit important – role in the process. Implementing a successful automation program depends more on a shift in culture than assembling the perfect technology stack.
When considering an RPA program, you must keep your people, and how they engage their work, at the forefront.
Managing Organizational Change
As with any significant organizational shift, introducing RPA requires careful analysis of how work is currently done (and why). Management teams must identify workflow inefficiencies and plan for how they could use automation to improve them.
Leaders must remember that it is important to view these decisions through the lens of their employees.
When you add “digital workers” to your team, workflows change for everyone involved. Process steps that have been followed for years may suddenly change or go away altogether. These types of sweeping process revisions can make some employees feel uncomfortable and resistant to change.
Thus, ongoing leadership support is critical to assuage employee fears and help team members understand the amazing benefits RPA can offer, like reducing inefficiency and enabling employees to be more creative and focus on the “deep” work that matters most to them.
Establishing an Automation Mindset
A successful RPA implementation obviously requires management buy-in, but it’s just as critical that everyone in the company, from frontline employees to senior executives, develop the proper mindset. Having an “automation mindset” means habitually considering how tasks, processes, or workflows can be streamlined or improved with RPA.
Examples of automation thinking include eliminating repetitive tasks, removing productivity bottlenecks, and reducing the number of handoffs in a single process. This type of creative thinking means employees must be willing to put all their work on the table and not dismiss new optimization ideas out of hand.
The more organizations can challenge their teams to be vigilant in finding inefficiencies, the easier it becomes to spot opportunities for automation.
Cultivating an Automation Culture
To promote RPA adoption in the workplace, managers need to recognize that employee involvement is crucial for success. Forcing workers to accept new workflows without ensuring they understand the “why” or excluding them during development won’t produce the positive outcomes you’re trying to achieve.
Focus on inclusion throughout the process and encourage teams to provide feedback on workflow changes based on their experience and needs. A few ways to promote this type of dialogue include:
- Focusing on Outcomes – Rather than simply automating an as-is process, work with your team to determine the optimum result. Use your automation mindset to decide the most effective way to achieve it.
- Embracing Automation – Instead of considering RPA a supplementary tool or side project, employees must see automation as the new way of doing business. The vocal support of the C-suite goes a long way towards bringing this vision to life.
- Establishing Support Systems – Organizations that incentivize employees to contribute to (and take ownership of) the process of streamlining work send a clear signal that automation is strategically important.
Measures like these help to foster an atmosphere where employees feel safe and valued in sharing their ideas about how to best leverage RPA, and as a result, companies enjoy greater success from their automation initiative.
Success With RPA Is a Team Effort
When implemented correctly, RPA automation can have a profound impact on your organization. Beyond merely changing the technology employees use, the right strategy can accelerate your teams’ work and elevate the types of projects on which they focus.
None of this is possible, however, without leadership buy-in and a solid commitment to engaging your people as you go. Team members must feel empowered to take ownership of the RPA transformation and remain active participants throughout its evolution. This cultural shift is paramount to success.