3 ways eliminating repetitive work can boost business performance
CB Insights data shows that investment in artificial intelligence (AI) jumped from US$282 million in 2011 to US$2.4 billion in 2015. In fact, in just the first half of 2016, nearly US$1.5 billion was collectively raised by more than 200 AI-focused companies. This level of investment is driving rapid advances in automation that may soon eliminate repetitive work in our roles, according to The Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workplace report from the ADP Research Institute®. While some may just view this as the possibility of being ‘replaced’ by a machine, 55% of respondents said the trend towards automation is positive. Eliminating repetitive, laborious processes from our roles frees us up to undertake more high-level tasks that challenge us and boost our performance. In fact a new MIT Technology Review shares that competitive Asia Pacific businesses are poised to benefit greatly from the rise of AI and robotics technologies.
The use of industrial robots in manufacturing for example, raised the annual growth of labour productivity by 0.36 percentage points in 17 countries between 1993 and 2007, according to a 2015 report from London’s Centre for Economic Research. That represents a 16% growth in labour productivity during that period. Accenture research also revealed that AI is projected to boost labour productivity by up to 40% and double annual economic growth rates by 2035 by changing the nature of work and spawning a new relationship between man and machine.
Understanding how automation increases productivity can help employers make the best use of machines and capitalise on the skills of their employees. Here are three ways in which eliminating repetitive work can boost employee and business performance:
1. Reduce dependency on manual processes
According to a new report from ServiceNow, “70% of managers say manual processes leave them less time for strategic initiatives,” and “more than one third of managers say they use mostly manual processes in the workplace.”
Automation tools such as mobile applications, customised portals and project management tools reduce the time spent checking and responding to emails and updating spreadsheets to reflect work progress – substantially increasing employee performance. With automated tools, managers and their teams can post progress or project information on an integrated mobile app, and all team members are kept in the loop and freed up to complete other tasks.
2. Decrease mistakes and injuries
The possibility of human errors, which take more time to correct, is virtually eliminated when tasks are automated, boosting employee performance and morale. In addition, repetitive tasks such as lifting, loading and typing can lead to overuse injuries, which in turn results in missed workdays and decreased productivity. Leaving those tasks to machines reduces the chance of injuries and allows workers to keep working on more strategic tasks.
3. Free employees’ time for strategic contribution
The previously cited study from the London Centre for Economic Research did not link an increased use of robotics to job loss, but it did show that higher-level employees became more in-demand than lower-skilled employees.
Presumably, many of the employees who spend their time undertaking repetitive tasks could actually be better utilised on more complex, performance-boosting tasks. For instance, when an organisation implements a cloud-based, time and attendance or leave application program, the HR specialist who once spent most of her working hours inputting and verifying information is now free to facilitate training or to help recruit new staff. Chatbots have already been used to answer routine employee questions, improve talent acquisition and as teaching assistants – empowering their human colleagues to add far greater value in their roles.
The trend toward automation is growing and savvy businesses are already enabling their employees to capitalise on the performance benefits – with 43% of those surveyed for the Evolution of Work report saying automation is already replacing people for repetitive work and 51% expecting it to occur in the future. It’s time to start maximising the automation capabilities of your workplace and unlock the employee productivity gains.
Read a short infographic and explore other insightful resources on this topic to learn more.
Written by: Connect@ADP Team