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What Is Workforce Automation And Why Should You Care?
Episode 48th February 2022 • Survive & Thrive • Jennifer Ayres
00:00:00 00:10:50

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On this week’s episode of the Survive & Thrive podcast, host Jennifer Ayres takes a closer look at workforce automation as a part of our ongoing series about the future of work. 

When people think of the word “automation,” robots and heavy machinery come to mind. But it might surprise you just how many daily workforce tasks can be aided or simplified by automation. With rapid advancements in recent years and a global pandemic putting new technology and processes at the forefront of our minds, workforce automation is something you need to be thinking about.

Jennifer explores how workforce automation has evolved in recent years, the hopes and fears both organizations and employees are facing, and what it all means moving forward. This is a great peak at the emerging technologies fueling the continued transformation that is the future of work.

Links mentioned:

Concinnity - Website

McKinsey & Company - What 800 executives envision for the postpandemic workforce

Zapier - The 2021 state of business automation

Gartner - Gartner identifies three most common AI uses cases in HR and recruiting

Salesforce - IT leaders fueling productivity with process automation

PWC - Workforce of the future


As a recap, last season we focused on change management and helping our listeners understand

how to positively influence the change they want to see in their organization, how to minimize

disruption, and even normalize the concept that change is usual.

In this season, our fourth season, we hope to focus on some of the important aspects facing many

organizations today regarding the subject of the future of work. How can organizations create a

sense of belonging, navigate leadership in a hybrid workplace, proactively foster diversity,

consider things like personalized employment and really help employees connect to purpose in

their work.

We plan to do this by exploring central topics around creating healthy culture and how that can

make the future of work even more impactful. We’ll talk to various leaders and provide our own

perspectives on what’s happening out there, what are companies doing, how are we helping our

people in general embrace what they want to do, and like I say, unleash the magic of the


For today's episode, I'd like to speak to you all about a type of technology that has seen rapid advancements in the past few years, especially with regards to workforce software. That's right, today we're going to dive into the world of workforce automation and discover how the industry is changing and how these tools can serve you and your organization.

With the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, the workforce naturally saw many changes, especially when it came to technology. As more industries began to take on remote and hybrid work structures, people began to ask more of their workforce software and programs.

And thus, an increase in automated features seemed like a logical next step.

With a history of people associating the word "automation" with high-tech robotics, it may surprise you just how many everyday workforce tasks can be aided or simplified by automation. According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, 67% of surveyed executives have accelerated automation and artificial intelligence during the pandemic.

However, many people feel hesitation toward this growing trend, as they fear that the use of automation in work processes could negatively affect the workforce with regards to job loss and other challenges.

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Workforce automation provides many benefits for companies and organizations by taking care of menial and repetitive tasks and saving time and effort for workers.

According to Zapier's:

It makes sense that automating repetitive, mindless tasks can improve your employees' production. Some data additionally suggests that using this technology could positively influence their well-being, especially regarding HR practices.

A Garter report states that 57% of companies that use AI in HR also improve the employee experience.

As we have discussed in previous episodes, the emotional well-being of your team and a positive employee experience can be beneficial for your organization's overall success.

So, workforce management software automates tasks for workers using artificial intelligence, saving them time and effort. Got it. But while this technology saves your staff time, it can also save your organization money.

According to Gartner, 51% of companies use AI automated processes to save costs. This means that your staff members can focus on what's important, and you'll get more bang for your buck for their efforts.

Workforce automation can help speed up output, onboarding processes, and HR tasks. Programmed reminders can allow for streamlined communication and time management. Mechanical calculations help to increase efficiency and reduce error. And behavior-driven emails and service bots help with customer satisfaction.

I could go on and on about these types of automated tasks, especially considering 47% of IT leaders say that the greatest ROI from automation occurs within operations, according to a report by Salesforce. But I can't fail to mention how automation is helping organizations step up their game through data usage.

Automated technology can help companies collect and analyze data on their business processes, gain critical insight, and make educated decisions. With the use of automation in enterprise tools and work processes gaining momentum, if you're not aboard the workforce automation train, you might just get left behind.

However, not everyone is excited about this new trend.

A lot of the resistance to workforce automation has to do with its potential impact on the future of work as a whole, especially when it comes to the job market. A common fear is that with so many jobs and tasks being automated, this could cause a decline in the amount of jobs available.

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Additionally, with more technology comes more cybersecurity risks. By using more automation, organizations would have to share their data with more software systems. This puts them at risk of cyber security breaches if they are not careful.

While workforce displacement and security are both genuine concerns, others worry about the difficulty of incorporating workforce automation into one's team. As organizational leaders, I'm sure you're aware that making changes in the workforce through new protocol and technology use isn't always the most straightforward task. Hence, why we created an entire season on this topic!

In a report by Deloitte Insights, it was found that almost half of respondents said their automation requires process change, such as eliminating, simplifying, or standardizing. The challenge of navigating these adjustments has made some leaders apprehensive about the workforce automation trend.

So when it comes to automation, do the benefits really outweigh the challenges?

The workforce has had to apply changes throughout history and will continue to do so as the future progresses. With its benefits regarding productivity, quality, employee experience, and more, it is likely that using automation for workforce processes will become a necessity in the upcoming years.

So what about people’s concerns with workforce displacement, implementation challenges, and cybersecurity risks? Well, if you ask me, it really boils down to what you're willing to do as a leader to offset these potential risks.

For example, while you can't possibly influence the employment trends across your entire industry, you can use the costs saved by automation to invest in new personnel for your organization. This can not only help facilitate the employment rates, but lead to new and exciting opportunities for your business to grow.

Yes, cyber security threats can be scary. But with the right cyber security tools set in place and proper training, you and your team can practice responsibility and safety – and reduce the likelihood of experiencing security breaches.

And while taking on anything new in the workforce can be a complicated process, you should treat it as just that - a process. By making a plan to introduce your organization's teams to new technology slowly, providing them with proper training, and reminding them of the benefits of automation on their own tasks, you will have an easier time with incorporating this into your workforce. Remember, starting slow and maintaining good communication with your staff is key to making long-lasting, positive changes in your organization.

With risk comes reward, and I personally believe that workforce automation is one trend that isn't going to die out any time soon. Therefore implementing automated processes in your workforce can help your team and business to not only survive among the competition but thrive beyond it.

Thank you everyone for listening and joining our episode of our Survive and Thrive podcast.

Remember, at Concinnity, we empower the conscious leaders to realize positive and sustainable change. Until next time, Survive and Thrive. Take care.