3 tips for a more human-centric approach of process automation

In the latest episode of the New Process Podcast I talked with Nico Blitzer from “Bots & People” about Process Automation. In light of a 2023 McKinsey study suggesting that up to 70% of all jobs could be automated, there’s a need to address the potential tension between job cuts and the human-centric approach. That’s why I asked Nico how we can keep the human aspect in BPM even when automation takes center stage.

1. Starting with the pioneers

  • Start by working with folks who are excited about process automation. Instead of trying to win over the doubters, team up with those who are ready to dive in.
  • In big companies, it’s important to keep moving forward and avoid getting stuck in old ways of thinking.

2. Talk clearly and keep it real

  • Be clear about why we’re using process automation and what’s in it for everyone.
  • Remember, automation isn’t just about saving money or cutting jobs. It’s about helping the business do better, whether that’s making customers happy or making work more enjoyable for the team.
  • Share stories about how automation can help reach these goals and why it matters to people.

3. Share the power and get everyone involved

  • Let everyone know what’s going on with process automation, the benefits, and the challenges.
  • Be open about how automation and things like AI work, and what they mean for the business and for jobs.
  • Let people try things out for themselves. Show them how these tools can help, not replace them.

While a significant portion of tasks in most jobs can be automated, it doesn’t mean that entire jobs will be replaced by automation. For instance, while many tasks of an accountant can be automated, not everything they do can be taken over by machines. Instead of replacing jobs, automation will require professionals to adapt and evolve. This might involve upskilling (enhancing current skills to meet the demands of the digital era) rather than re-skilling (completely changing one’s profession). The goal of automation is to make tasks more efficient and not necessarily to eliminate jobs.

And I really like the point that automation gives the chance to make work more fun by automating tedious tasks.

But you have to be careful about automating processes: A shitty process does not get better through automation. You have to know your processes first. And you have to get people excited first!


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