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Top 6 Tips for Successfully Implementing RPA in the Workforce

by | Jan 15, 2021

Robotic process automation (RPA) has garnered global popularity over the last few years, and according to a Deloitte survey, 72% of businesses have adopted it. This technology enables organizations to increase output by automating repetitive and tedious tasks and ultimately reducing employee turnover by increasing job satisfaction.

Automation also facilitates business growth by effectively utilizing your talent and creating simplified and effective workflows. This leads to the production of high-quality products and great customer satisfaction. 

Here are six tips you should use when implementing RPA in your organization.

1. Start small and make incremental changes.

The process of automation is expensive and time-consuming, and many of its advantages have yet to be realized. Without proper implementation, RPA also has the added risk of receiving employee backlash or reducing motivation among the workforce.

This is why, as you adopt the technology, you should start with low-risk, simple tasks that have minimal employee involvement. This will give you an opportunity to gauge the viability of the process while also showcasing its benefits to your organization.

Starting small also ensures that your implementation team is able to learn the company’s complex processes, increasing the chances of the project’s overall success.

2. Think long-term.

The success (or failure) of the project as a whole should be measured by its long-term impact.

However, this doesn’t mean that the implementation won’t have short-term benefits. The system change will increase employee motivation and improve process accuracy and efficiency almost immediately.

Measurable effects of these changes will only show in the organization’s profitability and productivity in the future. A long-term perception of the RPA also ensures that you implement a flexible system that can grow with your organization and adapt to future changes.

Having short-term expectations will only result in the view that automation is just a fantasy that holds no functionality in the company. 

3. Manage expectations.

Cautious optimism is important when setting expectations for RPA technology, especially to the executives and the board of directors. This process is often expensive, which is why most people end up exaggerating its benefits to get approval. Overselling may, however, cause the management to pull funding before the finalization of the project, affecting its functionality.

Common areas to manage expectations include:

  • Cost of the project
  • Implementation period
  • System benefits
  • Money to be saved upon implementation

A complete analysis of the project should be done before estimations are made. You should also consult essential personnel in the process, like the implementation team and department heads, when setting deadlines and budgets.

4. Run a broad and comprehensive cost-benefit analysis.

The economic viability of the project depends on the processes you choose to automate. 

First, conduct an analysis for every operation in the organization to determine which ones need to be automated before introducing RPA. For a process to qualify, the benefits should outway the cost of implementation.

Key players in departments, including the managers, should be intensively involved at this stage to ensure that you don’t overlook important human aspects when adopting the solution.

5. Have SMART objectives.

Your RPA project objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). 

  • Specific — There is no room for ambiguity in the implementation of RPA. The goals of the system and the strategies to implement it should be specific and easy to understand. This ensures that all the parts of the business are working towards the same objective.
  • Measurable — The milestones to be achieved by the system change should be documented in a way that its success or failure can be evaluated against set standards after a specified duration. By doing this, you are able to tell when the process is not working with enough time to adjust the strategies accordingly.
  • Attainable — While setting high standards can be beneficial to the project, a balance on goals’ attainability should be set. Having unachievable objectives demotivates the workforce and the implementation team. 
  • Relevance — The objectives of RPA implementation should be aligned to the company’s overall vision and missions.
  • Time-Bound — Each objective should have a set timeframe within which it should be achieved. This creates a sense of urgency for the team, ensuring fast completion of projects.

You should also ensure that the goals are met within the set parameters by constantly monitoring the progress and communicating with the implementation team and the workforce.

6. Get your employees on board.

For the successful implementation of RPA, your employees need to buy into the process. Your team plays a huge role in the process, from giving insights into the segments being automated to working with the new systems.

While the adoption of RPA is beneficial to the workforce in the long-term, it’s sometimes seen as a threat to their jobs, causing employee interference in the process. Here are some tactics you can successfully employ:

Be truthful.

Explain to your employees the benefits of the system to the organization. They need to understand that the main goal of the RPA is to allow them to concentrate on more valuable tasks by eliminating mundane jobs and tasks. 

Being forthright and truthful to them from the get-go will ensure their cooperation.

Train the employees.

One of the main reasons employees resist RPA is the concern that they don’t have the right skills to effectively use the technology. Organizing training on the automated system ensures this does not happen.

Communicate continuously.

Always keep your employees in the loop. Lack of an effective channel of communication during the project can lead to mistrust between the individual contributors and management, increasing the chances of resistance.

Provide the right tools.

Providing the right workflow tools to the employees makes their work less repetitive and tedious, making it easier to sell the idea to them.

How to successfully implement RPA in the workforce.

Implementing RPA can be hugely beneficial to your organization because, in addition to making your employee’s job easier, it also improves the quality of your processes and product.

However, adopting the system sometimes means facing certain challenges, including employee backlash, uncooperative management, unrealistic expectations, etc. The above tips will help you successfully introduce RPA to your workforce.