November 3, 2020

3 Examples of How Businesses Can Empower Employees Through Automation

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Supporting staff to grow and adapt to challenging and changing business needs is important to overall business growth and innovation. By empowering employees to work through challenges and make tough decisions you can drive better business results.

Finding ways to do this can be difficult but utilizing automation can offer a solution. Access to new technologies and innovations can help business owners to empower their staff leading to better work environments and more successful employees.

Empowering employees to grow and change not only has a positive impact on staff, but also on overall business.

According to the State of Automation in Customer Service Survey by NICE “31% of managers in the UK believe that automation enhances overall sales or saves the company money.” Strengthening an employee's individual performance within the organization can contribute to the success of the overall business and even other employees.

Automating repetitive or mundane tasks is one way to help employees feel empowered to do more and this applies to any industry, from universities to restaurants. Automation can be anything from robotic arms in hospitals that help perform surgeries to intelligent cleaning equipment that can track its own productivity, or apps for virtual check-ins at hotels and airports.

Autonomous solutions like these free up staff to focus on clients resulting in better service to guests. This not only empowers staff but is an overall better business strategy as it gives even more opportunity for better customer service.

A good example of this is already happening in some airports. To elevate levels of service, repetitive processes like check-in and baggage check are automated and made self-service. Travelers can print their own boarding passes, weigh their luggage and place it into the baggage system by themselves. By automating these actions, airport staff are freed up to focus on providing customer service. This way passengers can be given a better experience, which is the priority of managers and supervisors.

As a business, it is important to consider automation in order to keep up with new demands and changes and to prevent falling behind. Incorporating automation into the daily working process can be useful for both employees and employers. Employees will be able to optimize their workday and productivity with the creative use of automatic systems and equipment.

How Automation Helps with Employee Empowerment

As a business owner, it is important to acknowledge that the success of your employees directly means the success of you as a manager of your business. By empowering staff, you can increase efficiency and ensure that workers can grow and improve in their job, which provides satisfaction for both the employee and their supervisor. In an article for the International Journal of Applied Economics and Finance, H. Ongori states that “it is emphasized that employee empowerment will lead to improved productivity, performance, job satisfaction and reduce employee turnover in organizations.”

According to statistics, replacing an employee costs a company roughly 20% of an average hires salary in hiring, onboarding and recruiting costs. Employee turnover is very costly to businesses, which is why it is important that staff is satisfied with the work they are doing. Automation can help in this process to achieve the full potential of staff and improve business.

1) Automation empowers employees to focus on high-value tasks

Employers need to think of ways to turn repetitive, but still essential parts of specific tasks, into automated processes to get the most out of an employee's workday. For example, mundane cleaning tasks can be taken over by Cobots, autonomous cleaning robots. Cobots, can take on the repetitive task of vacuuming soft floor surfaces, freeing staff to focus on high-value tasks like cleaning high touch point surfaces and added disinfecting and sanitizing.

Adopting automation solutions can free up employees to spend more time on value-driven responsibilities that require human judgement. Looking at customer service providers for example, automation tools can take over repetitive tasks such as data processing and collecting. Subsequently, staff will be able to focus on tasks that need human critical thinking like problem-solving, interacting with customers, and creating new revenue opportunities.

In another example, at Toyota employees have automated different operations that are either mundane or involve safety risks. This way they have freed up their time to perform visual inspections and double-check for any flaws or weaknesses and improve the quality of their products. With the help of automation, safety measures can be improved, and a higher level of quality control can be established, since staff will now have more time to focus on these utterly important tasks.

Through this, the use of automation in the workplace will not only help employers to optimize the work of their employees but it can also help a business focus on safety and well-being of their customers and the quality of their products. Hence, businesses can push themselves to grow in many ways, which benefits both employees and employers.

2) Employees can reach their full potential through automation

According to Forbes, one of the most important ways to empower your employees is by giving them the space and opportunities to grow. When you fail to do so as a business, “you will force them to either leave your business or grow stagnant.” Automation can contribute to the growth of staff members by providing new challenges and opportunities.

Especially in an age where the amount of data is exploding, businesses are in need of an efficient way to manage this and obtain a compact overview. Fleet tracking platforms like i-Synergy can offer a solution for this in the cleaning business. This system offers managers reports that track run time, and user and square footage cleaned by the machine. This cloud-based software keeps track of the results of staff, which consequently will enable BSC’s and site managers to optimize processes and find the best way for staff to reach their full potential.

Beyond that, software, like people, is able to learn and develop, which makes it more adaptable. As automation improves and draws on more sources, more contextual information will become available to aid human decision-making. Kriti Sharma, Vice President of Bots and AI at accounting and payroll software company Sage states that “Machine learning, then, will serve as a supplement (perhaps even an enhancement) to human knowledge.”

Over time, automation will not only help employees to adapt to changing and challenging business needs, it will also help them grow and enhance their own skills. As Sharma puts it, “we'll see human beings move to their highest and best use."

3) Automation improves employee productivity

Often the initial fear is that automation is used to replace humans, however this is not the case as robots and autonomous solutions almost always need humans to monitor and manage the work. Typically, autonomous equipment will need to learn routes or develop patterns as it works through its interface, this must be managed by people in order to effectively accomplish goals.

Autonomous equipment is designed to support staff with mundane and repetitive tasks, freeing them to focus on higher-level, specialized tasks. Ultimately this allows them to focus on work that is often missed or skipped due to lack of time and gives them new skills through learning to operate and work with automation. Will James, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Kentucky states, “Machines are good for repetitive things, but they can’t improve their own efficiency or the quality of their work. Only people can.”

More than half of the respondents of the State of Automation in Customer Service survey by NICE said they spend over 50 percent of their working day on repetitive tasks. These duties are usually a source of frustration and displeasure for a lot of employees. When staff is given the opportunity and responsibility to automate these tasks and affect their own workday this way, their satisfaction and productivity will increase.

By providing cleaning teams with autonomous equipment to take on repetitive tasks, staff is able to accomplish more from their cleaning lists leaving them feeling more productive. Increasing staff efficiency and productivity contributes to the overall health of a business.

ICE Cobotics is an industry leading floor cleaning equipment provider. We provide autonomous and intelligent cleaning solutions through a subscription model that includes fleet management software at no extra cost. For more information on how ICE Cobotics can help please reach out to our Client Care Team.

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