Is employee satisfaction the holy grail of any successful business? Everywhere we look, there are studies focused entirely on the topic, surveys and services that measure it, anonymous websites where you rate it, and a whole host of people (like me) telling you why you need it. But how is it achieved?
It’s pretty obvious that to enable cost-effective scale, you need consistent and repeatable processes. You can throw more resource at the issue – cash, people, focus – but that only dilutes and profitability, security, resilience, and morale all suffer detrimentally. Think of it this way; big contract win, need to scale, add a lot of resource to cope, quickly become cumbersome and hierarchy driven, increased cost, increased stress, high financial risk if contract is lost or delayed, low morale, errors, more stress, high employee churn. The reality is, even in this whimsical example, little focus is ever given to an overhaul of processes, either because it’s too late (you’re in the fight already), it’s not valued sufficiently high enough, or you just don’t know where to start.
What your greatest employees really value is their own time… build an environment where they can access that without stress, guilt or fear of retribution.
The truth is, today’s business moves very fast. Chances are, if you are not innovating, you’re going backwards, probably slowly to start with, but one day you wake up and your competitive advantage is all but gone in a heartbeat and you never even saw it coming. You probably did, but you didn’t do anything about it. Pick any industry or sector and I bet you can name at least five challengers who are changing the way these services are consumed. There’s even a mega-funded dog-walking app
now. Nothing is safe. Change is the new norm.
It comes back to the fact that everything is at our fingertips. Accessing and consuming services and information is so easy; as a result, there is exponential proliferation of information; whether it’s driven via AI, collaboration, remote working, blockchain or even walking your dog, we access, consume, regurgitate and generate more information than we ever have before. So what?
Well, as businesses, we have to process this information, we have to protect it, govern its use, secure it, and as if that’s not enough, we look at it wondering what it’s not telling us.
Collaboration, security, legislation, governance, pace of change and opportunity aside, information is also about people. People have to process this stuff, and the more we create, the more we touch every day – spreadsheets get bigger, lists get longer, processes naturally slowdown.. Sure you can throw more resource at the problem as we said previously, but that doesn’t actually solve anything long-term. It’s a sticking plaster.
Work facilitates the other things in our lives; it funds our dreams, our adventures and helps create legacies.
Employee satisfaction is the big winner if you get this right. Sure, there will be a whole bunch of other stuff that positively benefits from automating your processes (more below) but the bit that really excites is the human side – that’s the bit you can see, hear and feel. There is huge choice for employees now, and people value space and time more than ever before – so give all the free things you want, but what your greatest employees really value is their own time; build an environment where they can access that without stress, guilt or fear of retribution. That means, enabling your employees to get their work done easily, from wherever they work best (note; that might not be in your office). Therefore, to attract, retain and motivate the very best people, you need to create an environment that is straightforward and enjoyable; doing anything that’s not your job is incredibly dull. That might be completing spreadsheets, struggling to easily find the information you need, or it might be something else. If we replace manual processes with automation and we make it easy to access, share and collaborate, then we give people something way more valuable than a free lunch, we give them time.
Carefully planned and implemented processes, where tech handles the automation, leaving people to be people leads to things getting done quickly, accurately and efficiently. It leads to high morale and a sense of contribution and responsibility that you just don’t get filling in spreadsheets or being micro-managed. Let’s be clear, work facilitates the other things in our lives; it funds our dreams, our adventures and helps create legacies. As businesses it’s our responsibility to support that because it helps make the World a better place. A culture of ideas and innovation is way better than one built on hierarchies and micro-management.
Benefits of process automation;
As alluded to above, nobody wants to spend their days on manual tasks that have nothing to do with their background or career goals and organisations with engaged employees have revenue increases of up to three-times greater than other organisations. You choose.
2. Better Customer Experience
Get it right first time and get it right every time. That’s it; as customers that’s all we want – manage our expectations, make us feel valued and.. boom! customer for life (provided you keep innovating of course…).
3. Improved Operational Efficiencies
This point could really be labelled ‘everything else’ – improved operational efficiencies rightly conjures images of time saved, reduced costs, better visibility, greater accuracy and consistency, and of course, governance where the reliability of workflow automation ensures processes essential for corporate governance are executed 100% of the time in accordance with legislation.
In summary then; technology is really all about people. Tech is inherently boring, but its what it does for us as humans that really sets pulses racing. Carefully planned and implemented automation will not threaten employees’ roles, quite the opposite; it enhances what we do, it creates greater accuracy and scalability and frees us, to whatever extent, from the daily grind. Earning a living is amazing, and it should reward outside of just financially; it should excite and engage and motivate and inspire. Technology affords us time and time is the most valuable commodity we will ever have.