Workplace automation: Are we ready?
Workplace automation is something that is going to be the need with organizations across sectors and companies will have an obligation to realize this fact sooner than later. The challenge will be mostly faced by mid and small-scale businesses who are growing and scaling at a fast pace but are not aware of what support they would need in order to manage people and processes.
There is a perception among companies and people that such automation will result in eliminating jobs. However, this is most likely to result in change of job description of a role rather in the role itself. It would mean that job roles will evolve from just being an execution profile to a value-add profile. Of course, it would still need human supervision, but what it would also mean that there will be time in hand to think and drive business strategies.
In mid and small scale companies, HR is working towards meeting individual expectations through day-to-day operational work. Though it keeps them floating somehow, but once the business expands, the realization of the lack of a long-term HR strategy which could help achieve organizational excellence sinks in. And the unpreparedness to such a situation, doesn’t help managing the chaos either. On the contrary, such a situation, leads to an increase of costs and churn rates in companies.
There are primarily three focused areas that help organizations become employers of choice. How does one attract talent, develop talent and retain talent, sums up everything an HR & talent strategy should include. And automation that helps cover and support all the three areas, leads to creating a culture wherein people concentrate more on tasks that need human intervention and value-add. A centralized repository for all things HR and creating a center of excellence for its smooth functioning will grow on to become the focus area for organizations. It would not only help employees access information on what they need, but will also reduce dependency where they have to reach out to their HR and wait till they hear back.
In my opinion, process automation could be backed with the following agenda in companies and it is imperative to understand that it would ultimately result in a better support for business growth.
Process digitization & automation: Robust HRMS and automated routine workflows shall lead to bandwidth preservation of the HR team to focus on value addition.
Setting up an HR COE to drive cross-vertical agenda helps evaluating factors which are key to business success - HR analytics, process improvement, design & rollout of organizational programs (T&D, R&R), process audit, reporting, and management dashboards.
Corporate Communications: Such automation helps in creating a much better communication channel which is a major concern in its current state with companies. The lack of proper information tends to create an environment of confusion which is not a healthy situation to be in.
The important aspect to keep in mind though is that all this has to tie into the business. HR managers need to look at workplace automation as a tool to enhance productivity resulting in business growth. Hence, the automation needs to be in line with what the business needs now and what it might need in the future. It is imperative, that they do what it needs to meet the short-term goals keeping in mind the long-term vision and objectives. Workplace automation will redefine the job roles but in a way that will enhance business output and the business leaders will need to look at it from this perspective.