It all started in the late 19th century when machines were introduced to produce goods. By 1870s, machines were producing millions of nails, to stitching thousands of shirts, to manufacturing thousands of shoes. This reduced labor costs and goods were sold at cheaper prices. Although mechanization did boost production, it changed the way people worked and perceive work. Since then, people are always at risk of losing their jobs since machines can easily replace them.
Fast forward today, that fear still exists because of the presence of automation. It is the creation and application of technology to monitor and control from production to delivery of services and products. It is preferred by many companies because it crosses and addresses various functions within an industry, including marketing and sales.
Does automation mean employees will be reduced or eliminated? Not really. In fact, employees could still play a vital role in the company given the right techniques in handling them.
Here’s how you can automate without losing your employees:
Inform Employees about Automation
According to CMO, 49 percent of the companies in America are using marketing automation. Still, this doesn’t mean you should automate your business overnight just because you want to.
The first step in automating without hurting employees’ moral is to make them aware of your plan to automate. Most employees will feel that they’ve been bulldozed if they are not made aware of the changes. Inform everyone, through company-wide meeting to team training sessions, about your desire to implement new technology such as REthink Comp database and explain the benefits of it and how it can help the company in terms of revenue and better customer experience. This will make it easier for employees to adjust and embrace the changes, which leads you to your next tip.
Make Employees Feel Valued
According to a report from ADP Research Institute, 24 percent of American workers are afraid that automated tasks will hinder their job security. Yes, automation is important, but this doesn’t mean employees are not equally important.
The key here is to make your employees feel that they are valued and needed even if they cannot produce thousands of shirts in one day like a single machine does. Here’s what you can do:
- Treat them with respect and humanity.
- Recognize them for a job well done and give the promotion they deserve.
- Reward those who deserve to be rewarded.
- Emphasize the importance of their roles despite introducing something new in the company.
- Remind them that although automation makes work easier and faster, it will not eliminate the need for humans because there is simply a shift in responsibilities.
In doing so, your employees will feel that they are not left behind.
Teach New Skills through Training
Automation can be challenging at first, especially if not everyone is knowledgeable about how it works. It also demands learning new skills, which is why it is imperative that training is included in the agenda.
Many companies think that employees can easily adapt to automation. If you really want them to embrace the changes you are implementing and reduce the risk of losing them, then make sure proper training is provided. Automation is something they will work with regularly and teaching them how it works will make it easier for everyone to adapt.
Tip: Instead of treating as a “training,” look into it as an opportunity for professional growth and development. Automation may affect the way your employees will work, but this could give them a new opportunity to re-evaluate their skills and put them in a better position that will make them more effective.
Apart from training, offering incentives will make it easier for employees to welcome automation with open arms. To do this, instruct the company supervisors to prepare “perks” or “prizes” for teams who are moving up in the company. For instance, employees who have better understanding of marketing automation and recorded an improved skilled set can be promoted, which means higher salaries and better job titles.
You can also provide more demanding tasks to challenge your employees’ newly acquired skills. Use it as a gauge to find out which employee deserves better opportunities in the workplace.
Provide Opportunities for Growth
Humans are important, but there are certain tasks that can be done by automation more effectively. For instance, managing the company’s books can be left under the care of automated programs for efficiency.
Where does your resident bookkeeper go now? Definitely not away from your company. Assign other equally important tasks that could test your bookkeeper’s skills. This could enable her to broaden her skill set and prove that the purpose of automation is not to replace or eliminate. You might even discover something useful from your bookkeeper, which could benefit the company more.
Keep in mind that automation is not just a decision made by one person only. It should involve every member of the company, regardless of small or big their role is. Keep your employees valued, don’t leave anyone behind, and you will surely enjoy the benefits of automation.