How to tame Robotic Process Automation (RPA) anxiety

How to tame Robotic Process Automation (RPA) anxiety

Robotic Process Automation should be a positive – a chance to reduce drudge work. But when some people hear RPA, they think job loss: Here are 5 ways leaders can manage fears

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4. Record the journey and create RPA evangelists

Chris Huff, chief strategy officer at Kofax, notes that long-term RPA success depends not just on calming anxieties but proactively winning them over. He’s seen good results in the past by essentially partnering with skeptics.

We enlisted the help of the very employees being impacted by automation and told the story  of their RPA journey through a video.

“Winning over vested participants increases the likelihood of adoption and inevitably accelerates scale by supporting a federated approach whereby the business becomes willing and proficient in designing, developing, and implementing automation,” Huff says. “One way I’ve helped executives win over large, diverse stakeholder groups is through a grassroots effort whereby we enlisted the help of the very employees being impacted by automation.“

What this entailed was working side-by-side with impacted employees throughout the design, build, and production deployment process while doing video-recorded interviews at key milestones along the way. Once the program is up and running in production, the team creates a two- to three-minute timelapse video from the interviews to highlight the journey. Huff found that most often the change is positive, and the folks who were once your biggest skeptics become your biggest evangelists.

“[We captured] the transformation from ‘my work is unique and I don’t see how RPA would be able to help me’ to ‘Why didn’t we implement this a long time ago, because now I’m doing more purposeful work and getting home on time to sit down with my family over dinner,’” Huff says. “Making the transformation connect on a human level is the key to getting stakeholders bought into the real value automation offers an organization.”

5. Name your bots (Really)

Working alongside a bunch of “bots” might sound a little ominous to some people. But they’ll seem less so if they have names like, say, “Fred.”

So here’s a particularly original idea for taming RPA anxiety: Let your team humanize your digital workers by giving them names and other real-world characteristics. Better still, let people on your team do the naming.

“One of our customers has even encouraged employees to name their RPA bots, added them to their org chart, and hung pictures of them on the wall,” says Gomez from Bizagi.

[ How can automation free up more staff time for innovation? Get the free eBook: Managing IT with Automation. ] 

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