From Fear To Enthusiasm: Overcoming Employee Resistance To Automation Technologies

People are not generally resistant to technology for its own sake. In fact, most employees welcome the opportunity for something to make their job easier and more straightforward. So why the widespread resistance to automation and AI?

The reason isn’t that people are opposed to AI and robotic process automation itself, but that they fear it will make their role redundant, and that they will lose their livelihood. 

The Luddites And Their Legacy

It’s exactly the same motivation that prompted textile workers in the 19th century to take the hammer to the new-fangled framework knitting and textile machines – instigating the famous, if short-lived, ‘Luddite’ Movement. These workers feared they would lose their jobs, and that the time they had invested in learning the skills of their craft would go to waste overnight. 

Machines would replace their role in the textile industry.

It’s sensible for employers to recognise that their 21st-century employees will have the same anxieties whenever their employer decides to automate such and such process or invest in new AI-driven technology. ‘Will I lose my job?’ is a very visceral and natural fear.

However, the 19th-century textile workers didn’t lose their jobs. In reality, and with the benefit of hindsight, they became more productive and prosperous. Industrialisation and automation didn’t destroy livelihoods, they simply enabled higher efficiency and productivity.

The Tools For Change

AI and Robotic Process Automation won’t put people on the breadline either, but it will initiate profound changes in the way that people approach their roles and how they use technologies. Our textile worker predecessors did have to adapt and use new skills, and the same applies to 21st-century businesses – there isn’t anything to gain by resisting new technologies in a knee-jerk fashion, and everything to be gained by approaching automation from a perspective of curiosity and agility. 

Any investment into automation must take into account these deep-rooted suspicions and fears in order to encourage maximum adoption and buy-in from current employees, because robotic processes, on their own, are just tools. They won’t help you save costs, boost efficiency, or grow your business if your employees aren’t on board to use them properly. Trying to roll out an AI or RPA implementation over the heads of your employees, without full attention to change management and education, is unlikely to deliver the returns you hoped for.

Laying The Foundations For Success

A key part of automation adoption, therefore, is providing the right assurance and training to your employees so that they have the knowledge and skills they need to use these tools to enable better productivity and efficiency. 

At Cevitr, part of our implementation process is a programme of bespoke training that is not only functional in nature but also helps to discuss how automation should be adopted to be a productivity enabler. By increments, we help you explain the benefits of AI and RPA in each individual employee’s role and take them on a journey of progressing knowledge until they start seeing the benefits for themselves in their day-to-day lives.

Find Out More

To find out more about our tailored RPA solutions and to unlock the full potential of your team and your business model, please get in touch by giving us a call today at 01625 920846 or by clicking the link to book a live demo.

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