Many firms already have automation on their strategic roadmaps, but the last few years has speeded the process. Automation can help IT leaders retain talent, which is a welcome benefit in an industry where qualified workers are often in short supply.
The truth is that the pandemic forced businesses to speed digital pivots and automate their operations. Chatbots, unattended airline check-in kiosks, and self-service checkout lines have displaced even people-centric processes that were once hailed as customer-experience differentiators.
From help desks to infrastructure operations to software testing and security, IT is simultaneously launching company-wide initiatives and experiencing its own internal automation transformation: various jobs and processes that once required manual effort are now or will soon be automated.
Here’s how companies can alleviate job insecurity and other automation-related concerns before they become a problem.
Assume that silence will be interpreted negatively
Businesses should not expect everyone to “get it” and jump on board when they embark on a major automation program or any substantial change for that matter. Businesses that remain silent encourage people to guess rather than provide them with reliable information.
Anxiety and panic are caused by a lack of information. Businesses don’t want people to make assumptions about how automation will affect their jobs and careers. Those assumptions are almost certainly incorrect, negative, or both. When it comes to automation initiatives, IT leaders should keep employee perception in mind.
People will fill in the gaps with their own assumptions if organizations do not communicate honestly and openly with them. If left unaddressed, teams’ tendency to expect the worst can have a negative influence on their ability to drive change.
Create a large picture of “now” and “later” that is clear and concise
Sharing a clear vision, not only for the short term but over the next two to five years, is one of the most effective ways to achieve this substantively. It’s much better if businesses can involve their employees in the formulation of this goal.
Businesses should assist their team in comprehending where they see themselves headed, as well as the technological stack and skill sets required to make this vision a reality. They are assisting their staff in understanding how technology initiatives, such as automation, fit into the IT and company strategy by giving their perspective on where the business is heading.
Doing so in a meaningful way automatically addresses many of the issues that result from information gaps.
Address concerns about the job in a frank and holistic manner
The link between automation and employment loss is neither irrational nor illogical. This is because automation has the potential to make employment obsolete or have significant implications for duties and responsibilities. That’s a big matter because these are people’s livelihoods on the line and seasoned IT professionals have either witnessed or experienced it firsthand.
When it comes to expressing job impacts, honesty, integrity, and clarity are all musts. Businesses should ensure that their employees understand the vision and the strategy for achieving it.
CIOs should work with HR business partners to co-create a roadmap for how the company will support employees in taking on new roles as a result of automation. Organizations could create in-house initiatives to retrain and up skill their employees or allocate funds to individuals and teams to attend training at local colleges or online.