In the age of the Great Resignation, keeping your employees happy is essential. With 44% of American workers actively seeking other job opportunities, companies have to work harder than ever to retain top talent. Not only do they need to keep an eye on employee satisfaction, but they must proactively seek ways to improve it. What role might automation play in supporting a happier, more fulfilled workforce?
In a way, caring for the well-being of your organization is a lot like taking care of your personal health. On the one hand, you want to reduce your risk of developing negative conditions. At the same time, you want to increase your healthy habits. From an organizational standpoint, you do the first by reducing the risk of employee burnout, and you do the second by promoting employee engagement. Robotic process automation (RPA) can help you do both, if you take a human-centered approach.
Read on to learn more about how automation can improve employee satisfaction.
Prevent Employee Burnout
Employee burnout often results from an unmanageable workload, according to a Gallup report. Employees swimming in dozens of tasks every day can quickly face overwhelming stress.
Fortunately, a solution exists: automation. RPA reduces the burden on employees, particularly by simplifying repetitive tasks which eat up large chunks of the workday. This enables employees to focus on more rewarding projects—projects that call on them to use creativity and critical thinking. When employees don’t spend hours each day on rote tasks, they can use that time to develop new skills or provide support on other projects.
When employees feel more engaged in their work, they don’t just produce greater value for your organization: they also get the chance to exercise their unique skills and capabilities. Best of all, they feel like they’re making a difference, and that’s essential to reducing the aimlessness that fuels turnover. A McKinsey report found that employees working in an environment that allows them to cultivate their skills experienced higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction and lower levels of burnout and resignation.
Promote Employee Engagement
Research shows that employee engagement rests on three pillars: a need for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Employees who dedicate huge chunks of their workday to repetitive tasks face deficiencies in all three areas. Let’s tackle each in turn:
- Competence refers to feelings of control and mastery. When an employee spends all day performing tasks that a computer might be better suited to handle—and correcting errors that a computer wouldn’t have made—they suffer from the nagging sense that their work doesn’t allow them to play to their strengths.
- Autonomy describes a sense of freedom: the ability to choose how an employee spends their time. This, too, suffers as employees often feel saddled by business-critical tasks that don’t interest or engage them. Here, the benefits of RPA are obvious. When machines handle the simplest but most time-consuming tasks, employees can turn their attention to more high-value work that also matches their interests.
- Relatedness, the last pillar, is the most mysterious—and yet the most essential. Employees need to feel like part of a team in order to perform at the highest level. RPA can help here, too. Siloed into mechanistic, unengaging tasks, employees interact less with their fellow staff and miss out on chances for collaboration and teamwork. The tasks that RPA enables employees to take part in, by contrast, make collaboration possible: employees can put their heads together on projects that will drive the company forward. Employee engagement improves—and so does employee satisfaction.
But even before RPA transforms the work they do on a normal day, the process of implementing automation can engage employees. Feel comfortable getting your employees involved in finding processes to automate. After all, they’re boots-on-the-ground, performing those processes manually day after day. Nurture their inventiveness and encourage them to look beyond the way things have always been done. The best automation design is human-centered, and achieving that requires employees to take an active role in deciding which processes you choose to automate.
Having employees involved from the get-go also helps them feel invested in the success of RPA implementation. That’s a crucial factor. It also encourages them to continually look for places where RPA can play a role in improving company workflow.
The Role of Automation in Employee Satisfaction
Done right, automation helps employees better use the skills that only humans have—innovation, lateral thinking, and critical analysis—and makes their daily work more manageable and enjoyable. You can make RPA an essential and engaging part of the employee experience from day one. But to do that, you need to keep your employees in mind, and focus on human-centered design. Once you’ve done that, you get the best of both worlds: more efficient workflow, and happier people on your team.
When you’re ready to take the next step, get in touch with us.