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Using automation to empower your team

Despite the potential of new technologies to take over a variety of jobs, here’s a few reasons why automation won’t replace your employees

We’re beginning to hear more about how automation will affect various industries, and often the conversation carries a degree of negativity. People point to everything from self-checkout options at grocery stores to smarter manufacturing in factories as evidence that more automation may mean fewer jobs. Over in the States, a presidential candidate (entrepreneur Andrew Yang) is even basing his case for election on plans to drastically alter the U.S. economy to cope with automation-fuelled job displacement.

There’s some logic to some of these concerns and negative feelings, and certainly there are a few early examples of automation replacing employment opportunities. On the other hand, many argue that fear of machines replacing the workforce is overstated, and a broader perspective on the near future of automation largely backs up this more positive outlook. In fact, we would make the argument that more automation, rather than replacing staff, may simply help them to do their jobs more effectively.


Anticipating Consumer Needs


With so much focus on how automation could potentially be deployed to satisfy customer needs, it’s easy to forget that in many cases it may play a bigger role in anticipating those needs. A previous piece at Ibby exploring how to power lead nurturing with automations dug into this idea. It described the process of using automation to develop relationships with potential customers, taking their needs into account and adjusting communications and outreach to lead them toward the point at which they’re ready to make purchases.

The piece then noted, however, that successfully automated lead nurturing of this sort doesn’t replace the key functions of employees, in the end. Rather, it states that the process “means your team doesn’t have to waste time” on what can be a tedious aspect of any sales job.

This is a perfect example of how automation can be used to make things easier and more efficient for a company’s workforce, as opposed to replacing it altogether.


Improving Internal Organisation


While automation can be used to complete some tedious tasks, as pointed out above, it can also be a powerful tool for improving employees’ day-to-day situations by streamlining organisation. In an article exploring the benefits of automation, marketer Simon Austin-Beckett points out how automation can be used to schedule alerts, generate reminders relating to equipment maintenance, and even schedule performance and progress reports. Austin-Beckett’s piece is written with specific regard to businesses with shipping fleets to manage, but these general perks of automation can be applied to various kinds of businesses.

With these kinds of automatic alerts, reminders, and reports in place, a business can cut down on wasted time and resources, improve general efficiency, and ultimately foster a more organised environment. This can help employees to feel more relaxed and prepared for their own day-to-day efforts, which should ultimately enhance productivity.


Better Employee Feedback


In addition to anticipating consumer needs and improving internal organisation, automation can also be used to drastically improve workplace feedback systems. Right now, feedback in many businesses is limited to the occasional remark from an employer or authority figure, or at most a regular performance review. These tend to be mere formalities, however, and their effectiveness is dubious. Automated feedback systems, on the other hand, can be more thorough, timely, and effective.

According to SaaS content analyst, Hitendra Rathore, automated employee management systems can now “facilitate mutual goal-setting, track progress milestones and give timely feedback to workers through multiple channels.” He also notes that back-end machine learning devices can tailor training programs to specific employees based on feedback, and also points out that automated performance management is inherently fair – thus providing employees with the best possible information they need to do their jobs well.

Ultimately, not all industries will implement automation in the same way, and the specific effects will vary. The information and examples above, however, clearly demonstrate that in many cases, automation won’t replace your employees so much as it will enhance their performance.


This is a guest post by J. Birch, freelance writer and blog contributor. Her work revolves primarily around technology, current events, and occasionally finance and gaming.


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