Guy Kirkwood is chief evangelist at UiPath.
The introduction and adoption of a truly transformative technology, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), is like a wave. It’s fast, powerful, and for some, terrifying.
There are several ways to respond to a wave. You can duck and hope its impact misses you. You can float along with it, passively hoping that it carries you somewhere in the end. Or you can take control and ride the wave to shore.
When it comes to automation, the wave is here. In a new study commissioned by UiPath, Forrester Consulting states that “for 66% of companies in this study, RPA software spend is going to increase by at least 5% over the next 12 months.” There is no question that RPA and automation are having an incredible impact on the world of work. The question that remains is how you and your organization handle that impact.
Handling fear of automation
There has been a lot of concern over the impact of automation from individual employees, and not without reason. While for some workers automation is a chance to move on from menial tasks, increasing engagement and overall job satisfaction, for others it means learning entirely new skillsets.
Forrester Consulting “found that 41% of respondents believe their employees are concerned that their existing digital skills may not match what their job will require in the future, and more than half (53%) said employees are concerned or feel threatened by the growing complexity of tasks they face and will face in the future.”
This fear can do one of two things: It can either galvanize workers into pushing themselves professionally and learning what they need to be ready for an automated workplace, or it can paralyze them, and workers who are unable to move forward for fear they will be automated out of a job aren’t good for today’s bottom line or tomorrow’s automation prospects.
That’s why it is critical to prepare your employees for the future of work. By considering the employee experience, acknowledging the changes that automation will bring, and educating your workforce, you can address the impending digital skills gap and achieve maximum benefit from automation.
Planning for the future of work
As Forrester Consulting states in the study, “Automation impacts employees differently.” Some jobs will be cannibalized, others will be created or transformed. It’s important to plan for as many of these scenarios as possible, which is why Forrester grouped more than 800 jobs from the National Bureau of Labor Statistics into 12 automation personas for the study.
To succeed in the future of work, Forrester advises planning for change at the persona level, tracking employee anxiety, and using education to bridge the gap between robots and humans.
“To help employees deal with the inevitable skills gap, organizations see workplace certifications as a way to improve digital knowledge and reskill employees,” the study states. “Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they will provide workplace certifications that are transferable. It’s a way to keep up with automation to stay relevant, skilled, and digitally aware.”
The full study The Future of Work is Still Being Written, But Who Is Holding the Pen? is your roadmap to addressing and resolving fear of automation with your employees and preparing your business to get the maximum benefit from RPA. Download your copy today and avoid being crushed by the automation wave.