Communication key to allaying employee concerns about automation 0

Organisations need to strike a balance between capitalising on the benefits of automation and managing employee concerns, according to a study by Capita Resourcing. The research claims that whilst over half (54 percent) of UK organisations are already automating business processes once performed by people, employees are concerned about the social impact this will have on the workplace. The ‘Workplace More Human’ report claims that the majority of employees (67 percent) fear that the rise of robotics will make the workplace less sociable and friendly in the future. The biggest concerns around introducing more automation in the workplace were the loss of their job (36 percent), losing the social relationship with colleagues (27 percent) and having to reskill/train to do another job (23 percent).

The report suggests that employee concerns are not mirrored by businesses, a significant majority (91 percent) of whom consider automation to be an opportunity rather than a risk. However, over half (55 percent) describe the current relationship between workers and automation as ‘a learning curve with some struggles’.

Jo Matkin, Managing Director of Capita Resourcing, commented: “It is clear that whilst there are obvious benefits of automation to employers, employees are concerned not just about the impact on jobs, but also their workplace culture. HR, and organisations more broadly, need to strike a balance between capitalising on the benefits whilst also carefully managing employee concerns.”

Matkin continued: “It is vital that organisations clearly communicate what their automated business would look like with their employees. Including how it will impact their role, workplace and the possible benefits it presents in terms of, for example, upskilling, further training and freeing up employee time to focus on more creative, less menial activities. But, in order to have these conversations, organisations themselves need a clearer understanding of their automation strategy and its potential impact. Appointing a dedicated Chief Automation Officer (CAO) could be a solution and invaluable addition to driving your organisations competitive advantage in an increasingly automated world.”