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Considering Culture When Implementing Automation

Process automation is more than simply a business tool; it’s a resource for transformative change. From operations to sales to accounting, RPA and intelligent automation help businesses make big changes that positively impact the entire organization.

But with these big changes comes a variety of challenges, complexities and anxieties–factors that directly impact company culture. So how do you navigate the challenges? Or better yet preempt the problems to begin with? Today we discuss the dynamics of company culture in context of process automation.

Communication: Early, Often and After

People fear what they don’t understand, and they will form their own perceptions if they’re uninformed (or worse, misinformed). So, putting up a smoke-screen around automation, AI and RPA only serves to damage trust. Instead, businesses should clearly lay out their plans for process automation in a way that allows every employee to have a full understanding of how the technology will be used. (It’s worth mentioning that having these plans in place will also help ensure a smooth implementation and highest chances for ROI.) Give your teams a detailed explanation of which parts of work will be automated and why. Share the big picture ideas and logistical details whenever appropriate. Keep teams informed as plans evolve and keep them involved in the planning as much as practical.

Listen as Much as You Talk

While remaining honest and transparent about your automation plans is critically important, it is equally important to listen to your teams. Company culture is about the connections between people and their jobs, and how motivated and capable they feel in their performance. To best foster a healthy company culture, it is paramount to understand how people feel. Establish a culture in which questions are not just tolerated, but actually encouraged. Sometimes, the simple existence of Q&A sessions can be as important to the culture as the questions they address. It grants a sense of ownership to the people on the ground level, elevating your teams from individual employees to a unit of stakeholders.

Built-in Support for a New Paradigm

In addition to understanding sentiment, businesses should build support into their strategic plans. Create a pathway that will clearly show how workers will be transitioned with upskilling in their current roles, or how they will be re-skilled into new ones. If done right, this is a particularly good opportunity to build enthusiasm for the journey ahead. It is a promissory indicator to your teams that the organization is invested in their personal futures.

Embrace the Change

It might sound obvious, but in order to survive change, you have to first embrace it. Recognize that with the implementation of automation, people will be changing how they work. Remain empathetic to the disruption it will have on their daily lives. Take strides to quell fears by being an ambassador for the changes, reminding teams of the positive impacts large and small as you roll out plans. Dig deep to build excitement–and it shouldn’t be that hard. Technology is exciting! It’s transformative and representative of progress, which are themes most of us enjoy rooting for.

Just remember, all that energy will exist regardless of whether you take advantage of it. If you do nothing, fears can grow and negative sentiment will grow right alongside them. But, by taking the time to plan for your cultural shifts ahead of time, you gain the chance to shape the outcome of all that excitement, leveraging enthusiasm to drive positive change within the culture.

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