Alongside business processes powered by machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), tools enabling automation pave the way towards a very high degree of efficiency. The acceptance of these technologies in workplaces, from SMBs to the biggest corporate players, grows every month. For the C-suite level, these changes produce quantifiable bottom-line impacts providing a clear justification for automating as much as possible across the workplace.
What do these business decisions mean for employees further down the chain? For staff members from managers to part-time employees, the implementation of new AI-adjacent processes could have positive and negative influences on staff morale and corporate culture.
Let’s consider why companies choose to automate, and how successful automation efforts will affect the average worker.
The Advantages of Automation Start Immediately
There are many reasons to invest in AI, and those reasons differ dramatically from industry to industry. However, a few of the fundamental benefits remain the same. These AI tools allow companies to:
- Free up employees for more valuable tasks. Major projects requiring an all-hands-on-deck approach are easier to execute when a business can shift teams away from simple tasks and towards new ideas and more thoughtful creative problem-solving.
- Reduce error rates and bottlenecks. By removing some of the human element from processes such as data entry and document digitization, businesses can ensure a more consistent outcome. Walgreens, for instance, has invested heavily in robotic software to achieve more productivity as the pandemic has pushed the company’s human resources to the limit.
- Save money, from the cost reductions in eliminating wasted time on inefficient processes to surprising opportunities for savings. Artificial intelligence helps to make businesses leaner and more profitable: IBM says its investments in AI has saved the company over $1 billion.The Day-to-Day Effects of Automation in the Workplace
The big-picture advantages of automation are clear from an executive standpoint, but what are the potential effects on employees? Thoughtfully implemented automation could play a role in improving employee satisfaction and overall staff morale. While the Wall Street Journal reports 67 percent of respondents in technology and 44 percent of those in all other industries have fears about automation, smart deployment can allay those fears.
Consider the impact of PDF software for Windows on employee satisfaction. With less time spent on tedious and menial tasks, the average knowledge worker has a greater opportunity to engage in meaningful work rather than administrative labor. Projects become easier to manage, information flows more freely, and staff members have the room to innovate and improve with help from new tools.
How Will Automation Impact Company Culture?
Although morale is a vital part of corporate culture, culture refers more broadly to the set of attitudes and approaches within a business. Automation could impact overall business culture too—whether it has a positive or negative impact depends on governance and oversight.
Security is one example. When document-related workflows undergo automation and offices shift towards a paperless approach, complacency regarding security and privacy could creep into related procedures. Artificial intelligence can play a role in addressing such lapses through the automatic classification and encryption of documents, but management should reinforce best practices for knowledge workers too.
It’s crucial to foster a culture assigning automation co-equal importance with human workers—collaboration with new tools instead of a rote reliance on their features.
Making Automation Welcome in the Workplace
Artificial intelligence automation can wipe out common frustrations, streamline tedious processes, and deliver benefits for a business from the bottom to the top. Making employees an active force in the evolution of a business contributes to technological acceptance and smooths AI’s integration into corporate culture.
Although the elimination of some positions due to advanced automation is likely, the capacity for more stimulating work and enhanced productivity could create opportunities for new jobs as well. As organizations look to adopt advanced solutions, active thinking about its influence on employee morale will lead to better outcomes.