Other parts of this series:
Robotic process automation (RPA) offers a promise of dramatic cost-saving efficiencies that also can help financial services institutions (FSIs) and insurers comply more readily with increasingly stricter regulatory demands. But management should anticipate the uncertainty that RPA has the potential to create for some talent and develop a plan to help them understand its benefits for them as well as the organization.
FSI and insurer workforces are accustomed to participating in change programs, but automation often has a more fundamental impact on workers’ roles and responsibilities. Operations and front-office teams probably will view RPA favorably, because the efficiencies it promises to deliver.
But without the proper perspective, back-office personnel likely will consider those same efficiencies—the elimination of their manual activities—problematic, and they likely will feel a sense of uncertainty. Their acceptance of RPA will depend on management properly articulating the promise of RPA for them: It enables the flexible workforces that are essential in a digital marketplace. No longer bound to the time-consuming repetitive tasks that robotics will now perform, back-office staff can be redeployed to the front office, where their new value-adding roles will be driving new business. Moreover, the cost savings that result from RPA will help fund the emerging digital technologies that will be critical in supporting the personalized, responsive customer relationships that employees will be expected to cultivate.
Workforces likely will be even more accepting of RPA if those initiatives are accompanied by programs that retrain workers for their new roles
Large companies already have centralized many repetitive, rules-based tasks offshore with third-party providers, so RPA’s impact on back-office teams should be tempered. Plus, in taking a strategic approach to implementing these initiatives, as I discussed in my last blog post, companies will be able to identify well ahead of time which jobs will be affected. They then can take steps to build buy-in within these areas of the business.
For example, at a company where an automation program freed up 35 percent of capacity in one operation, management made the effort to understand the impact on workers. It invested in making RPA integral to the overall business culture, even giving names to its robots. Workers accepted the new technology as colleagues that helped them create greater business value than ever before.