The Great Resignation is a recent phenomenon sparked by the pandemic in which employees who no longer receive meaning or purpose in their careers are actively flocking to find alternatives. In fact, in 2021, an average or more than 3.98 million workers quit their job each month, breaking the 2019 record-holding monthly average of 3.5 million.
Employees throughout many sectors and across the world have entered a profound state of self-assessment, asking themselves questions about the significance and purpose of their lives and professions. Many workers have arrived at the painful conclusion that their job is meaningless. Others are concerned that, as robots become more sophisticated, these automata will be able to perform tasks faster and cheaper than people can.
Combining a decrease in job satisfaction with a fear of being outperformed by robots, many people are clearly seeking alternative options for their work. For example, according to a report by McKinsey, many companies are now offering remote options and flexible work schedules to meet this demand. E-commerce has also grown as people opt for digital channels in almost all facets of daily life. The pandemic has created new options for these employees who are no longer bound by physical proximity to a job, worsening resignations.
It’s estimated that more than 40 percent of the workforce worldwide is flirting with quitting their jobs this year, according to a recent report from Microsoft. This, in turn, has companies struggling to manage this mass exodus. Although it’s true it may be difficult to influence the desires of employees — especially when many of them are working remotely — there is a solution here. It’s as simple as removing the dissatisfying aspects of a job: the boring, redundant, unchallenging work. The question is: can this be done in a way that not only benefits the employees, but the business as well?
8 Benefits of a Smarter Approach to Automation
- Increased employee satisfaction and retention.
- Reduced worker fatigue.
- Better work-life balance.
- Enhanced collaboration among cross-functional teams.
- Improved productivity.
- Reduced costs.
- Improved customer experience.
- Better business decisions.
Automation to the Rescue
The answer is “yes.” Surprisingly, the solution is something many organizations have already been using: automation.
The solution lies not in just automating business processes but shifting the way people view automation throughout the workplace. To do so, turn automation strategies that have been applied to improve processes and customer experience inward to support employees. This new outlook can not only transform workflows but turn the workplace into a more rewarding environment for both employers and employees, creating intelligent teams of digital and human workers collaborating in harmony.
Freed from the task of mundane, meaningless work, employees are able to focus on more important tasks. Organizations looking to attract and retain top talent can use automation to create an improved employee experience and couple it with higher wages and flexible schedules to transform the Great Resignation into the Great Upgrade. Better yet, companies can improve business workflows in the process, reducing costs and improving productivity.
It’s Time for ‘The Great Resignation’ to Resign
Automation is a no-brainer solution for removing some of the drudgeries that cause workers to be weary and dissatisfied. According to the Kofax 2022 Intelligent Automation Benchmark Study, 82 percent of CEOs are in favor of this strategy, citing increased employee productivity and/or happiness as a key motivating factor. In fact, 92 percent of respondents to a survey indicated improvements in employee satisfaction as a result of their automation initiatives.
Many organizations, on the other hand, are unsure where to begin. After all, this process isn’t as simple as just experimenting with automation. Inclusion of forward-thinking, people-centric methods — not exclusively technology-focused ones — into their implementation is vital. For example, automating data entry from invoices or contracts into the relevant databases saves employees from having to perform this monotonous, repetitive work.
The 2022 benchmark study discovered business leaders have a significant degree of interest in eight high-value customer, operational and financial workflows, with a specific emphasis on automating routine transactions:
- Accounts payable automation
- Transaction processing
- Bank statement processing
- Document security management
- Invoice automation
- Digital mailrooms
- Claims processing
By digitally transforming these highly valuable processes, 72 percent of executives anticipate assisting employees to do more with less, and more than 70 percent expect to eliminate monotonous, routine work employees don't enjoy.
Real-world results support these expectations. During the pandemic, staff at a hospital was overwhelmed with the exceptional amount of manual work required in their daily routine. The hospital leveraged robotic process automation (RPA), saving the equivalent of five full-time employees in the process. Staff were able to redirect this time towards clinical work necessary for the hospital’s vaccination program.
A whopping 94 percent of executives said manual processes — being unable to organize and manage the human and digital workforce at scale — was one of the most common problems they encountered on their digital transformation journeys. Fortunately, an intelligent automation platform can assist organizations in figuring where to begin. A platform provides a comprehensive range of automation technologies like document intelligence and process orchestration so organizations can start automating without replacing all existing systems. They can then move towards more advanced technologies when ready.
AI-driven automation can evaluate the day-to-day, manual tasks and functions employees perform and identify task opportunities that could be automated. Companies can also prioritize where to remove the menial work by focusing on automating key workflows that’ll have the highest impact on the business, so they’re not wasting time and resources on completing redundant tasks.
Organizations can accelerate the automation process across the enterprise and replace redundant tasks with AI-powered bots to create successful teams of digital and human workers that are more powerful than their automated counterparts. A low-code platform that’s easy to use lets citizen-developers contribute to automation initiatives, so scaling automation across the enterprise becomes a reality. Teams can collaborate more effectively while robots become a friend, taking over the tedious tasks people find mind-numbing.
The feeling of not having to complete frustrating and mundane tasks makes employees want to come to work. When they do, the only thing handing in its letter of resignation is the Great Resignation itself.
8 Benefits of a Smarter Approach to Automation
1. Increased employee satisfaction and retention
Boredom, monotony and menial activities like processing invoices and manual data entry all contribute to the Great Resignation. When you automate processes, employees can engage in more high-touch customer interactions like answering incoming questions that require strategic thinking and personalized service.
2. Reduced worker fatigue
Nothing can put an employee to sleep faster than dull, repetitive work. Automation puts a stop to interminable and often arduous processes, allowing employees to work on what they like without feeling overwhelmed. For example, a logistics company automated the optimization of client orders, enabling the company to shift five skilled employees from the night shift to the day shift. They can now work on new, more challenging work and no longer have to work overnight.
3. Better work-life balance
Automation is kind of like a time machine. You can speed up processes, which has become essential as many organizations are facing staffing shortages. Rather than force employees to work overtime, automation makes it possible to get more done with fewer human resources. Employees can still clock out on time so they’re less likely to become dissatisfied.
4. Enhanced collaboration among cross-functional teams
Automation unites formerly separate business activities with linked systems, making it easier to get things done and exchange information. Even something as simple as an advanced PDF editor, for example, allows employees to edit, share and e-sign PDF documents from any location, making it simple for project leaders, team members, and even entire divisions to work together more efficiently.
5. Improved productivity
AI-powered document management software saves time by automating processes. The information is immediately transferred to the required business systems. Employees have immediate access to updated and relevant information, allowing them to complete their tasks more quickly and effectively.
For instance, a mortgage lender implemented a business process management (BPM) platform that included automation technologies like cognitive capture and optical character recognition to automate loan origination workflows and saved 16 person-hours per day. Now they can respond to inbound customer requests 50 percent faster than before.
6. Reduced costs
Manual activities like invoice processing, onboarding, and claim processing are completed faster and more correctly — and at a lower cost to the business — when workflows are digitized. This leads to savings because of improved compliance, fewer late payment penalties and early payment discounts.
7. Improved customer experience
Employees who are appreciated and engaged are more likely to stay focused, perform well and have a good attitude when interacting with clients, suppliers and partners. A large majority (85 percent) of respondents to an IDC survey agree that an improved employee experience and higher employee engagement translate to a better customer experience and higher customer satisfaction.
8. Better business decisions
Top executives and managers can benefit from analytics by gaining greater insight into business operations and performance. Modern intelligent automation platforms are equipped with process intelligence that allows organizations to deploy browser-based analytics on data across multiple sources. By linking data and metrics to steps in business processes, management and executives gain insight into bottlenecks and overall operations, so they can make smart decisions to enhance company procedures and performance.
Get Smart and Automate
From finance to marketing to HR, automation helps employees complete their work more efficiently and effectively, allowing them to focus on higher-value tasks. If your company is experiencing signs of a brain drain or you want greater insight into how to improve business operations and performance, explore how you can benefit from intelligent automation and make your employees happier.