Automation – the best way to fill the work gaps
The global labor shortage is becoming an increasingly important issue for leaders in today’s economy. While lack of access to skilled labor has been a problem for some time, in the post-pandemic era, it’s grown into a new problem.
In 2021, 4 million people quit their jobs in the United States, and the “Great Resignation” seems to be an ongoing trend in various parts of the world. Fortunately, companies may have a solution: Automation tools.
For years, workers have feared that access to automation capabilities in areas such as customer service and data processing would lead to a shortage of jobs for human workers. However, studies suggest automation could actually be the best way to fill the labor gaps that human beings simply aren’t leveraging.
Here’s how automation could help us overcome the global labor shortage.
What the Studies Say: The Power of Automation
To assess the potential of automation to address the current skills shortage, the UiPath team recently surveyed 500 U.S. senior and C-level executives at companies with more than 1,000 employees. The responses revealed some interesting results.
Some 62% of executives surveyed said the current labor shortage is a major problem for them, and 69% have recently lost key employees to major layoffs. In addition, some 78% of executives said they plan to invest more in automation and artificial intelligence to address some of the negative effects of rapid turnover.
Already, 83% of executives surveyed said their company is already using various forms of AI automation. Not surprisingly, these companies are now looking for new ways to address workforce issues with the same technology.
Executives also already believe in the benefits of automation: 71% said they believe these tools save their company’s users time, and 63% see improved productivity. The question is how companies will ensure they’re getting the most out of the benefits of automation.
Step 1: Align Automation with Long-Term Goals
Automation holds significant potential for the modern workplace if used correctly. The right agile technology can increase team efficiency and speed, reduce errors, and improve the customer experience. The key to unlocking all of these benefits is to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve with automation from the start.
For example, one of the best ways to use automation to improve your workforce is to use tools that give skilled employees more time to focus on critical and creative tasks. Automating repetitive tasks that would otherwise take up important time for human workers means they can take on more meaningful, satisfying tasks.
By reducing the number of less attractive tasks in the standard job description through automation, companies can even make their roles more attractive to employees who might not otherwise be interested in positions that require a lot of data entry or repetitive information processing.
Step 2: Use Automation to Appeal to Younger Generations
For many companies, the youngest generation represents a great opportunity to tap into new talent. The pandemic and the “Great Resignation” aren’t the only factors contributing to the labor shortage. Millions of people around the world have retired and chosen to leave the workforce for good during the pandemic period. In most sectors, there aren’t enough new employees to replace these lost skilled workers.
If companies want to adapt and transform at a competitive pace, they need to ensure that their work environment is attractive to Generation Z and younger employees. Using automation tools can help identify a company as a forward-thinking, technology-savvy brand that’s more likely to appeal to professionals who’ve grown up in a digital environment.
You can also use automation to increase the focus on “meaningful work” for new employees. Studies show that contributing to society and doing meaningful work is among the top priorities of today’s employees. You can use automation to identify processes that are ripe for automation and help make the world a better place, reduce energy consumption, and even minimize waste in your organization.
Step 3: Use Automation in the Hiring Process
Managers can even use automation technologies to assist in the hiring process. In the UI study mentioned above, 58% of executives said that higher rates of onboarding and offboarding have become a major challenge in a market with a scarce workforce. The consequences of these challenges are often disrupted workflows and unhappy employees.
However, automation tools can help support HR workflows and keep such processes as streamlined as possible. Automation can speed up processes such as hiring new team members and sorting through applicants to find the best possible people for each job.
When hiring new team members, automation can help ensure that team members are properly prepared for their roles. Teaching employees how to use certain automation tools in their daily tasks can even reduce risks for employees in otherwise hazardous environments. Team members can use automated robotics and other tools to complete tasks remotely and expose themselves to less hazardous environments.
Step 4: Leverage Automation for Employee Attraction and Retention
As mentioned earlier, automation can help companies target younger generations, but it can also be a great tool for attracting all types of employees of different ages. About 85% of today’s team leaders believe automation will help them retain employees and hire new talent faster when the big resignation hits.
The aforementioned study by UI Path found that employers can set themselves apart by offering training on how to use automation tools, as well as the unique support that automation systems can provide. Currently, 1 in 3 executives says that lack of access to skills training is one of the most common reasons employees leave their jobs. In addition, most executives (60%) believe that job performance and retention can be improved if employees are offered the opportunity to learn new skills on the job.
These findings also confirm the results of a previous study, in which 91% of respondents said they believe their employers should invest more in digital and technology training opportunities to ensure their employees can succeed in their future work.
Currently, only 51% of companies offer automation training, and only 63% offer on-the-job training that takes place during work hours. The companies that offer the best training opportunities for automation and similar technology tools could have an advantage as workers look for ways to improve their digital skills.
Step 5: Use Automation for Business Insights
Finally, it is worth mentioning that automation can also help improve the work situation in today’s world by giving teams access to more useful information. Automated technology and artificial intelligence can make it possible to gather all kinds of useful information about the hiring process, employee satisfaction, and retention.
For example, an automated system can automatically collect information about employee engagement with a company. If an individual’s engagement falls below a certain benchmark, a message can be sent to the company manager or supervisor requesting further action.
Similarly, automated systems can track things like the reasons employees give for taking time off or the types of issues employees report when they decide to leave the company permanently in search of a new job.
Reducing Labor Shortages with Automation
There is no simple one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming labor shortages around the world today. People are dropping out of the workforce for a wide variety of reasons, and automation can only solve part of the problems facing businesses today.
However, studies increasingly show that automation could be an important first step for companies trying to overcome labor shortages once and for all. To learn how automation can help you combat the labor shortage, contact Bulb Tech today.