How Businesses Can Address the Automation Skills Gap With a Team-First Approach
There is a significant skills gap with automation, one that must be confronted head-on to address deficiencies that could threaten your digital transformation. According to Forbes, “63 percent of business leaders believe the pressure to reduce costs will require their organizations to use AI in the next five years,” which means the clock is ticking on businesses that have yet to start to their automation journey. Don’t worry. This article is the perfect jumping-off point, answering essential questions like:
- What is the automation skills gap?
- Why is it important to open up a dialogue about automation?
- Which tasks can be automated to benefit your team?
- Why does automation give leaders the perfect chance to retrain and upskill their workers?
What Is the Automation Skills Gap?
Any competitor in an industry with a growing skills gap is in danger of losing their market share if they cannot find a way to address their deficiencies. In many cases, these skills gaps are the result of generational shifts in the types of occupations being pursued. For instance, the skills gap in the construction industry is the result of a lack of millennial construction workers. To attract new talent, contractors are investing in technology and software to help bridge the gap between the needs of the industry and the talents of the new generations. That said, generational shifts in the interest toward certain professions aren’t the only catalyst for skills gaps.
In regards to automation, the skills gap is related to technology. Digital Transformation is sweeping the globe, and those who fail to adapt will find themselves fighting an uphill battle against their competitors who have equipped themselves with the tools to work faster and more efficiently. McKinsey surveyed 1,500 executives across a broad range of industries and found that “addressing potential skills gaps related to automation/digitization” was a Top 10 priority for 66 percent of respondents. Furthermore, it was a Top 5 priority for 30 percent of respondents.
Industry 4.0 is here, and businesses are being forced to evolve. It is this evolution that has revealed an opportunity for the next generation to capitalize on the need for talented, automation-savvy workers that possess the soft and technical skills necessary to help businesses thrive in an automated world.
Remember, automation isn’t a substitute for your valued workers; it’s a complementary asset that improves work for everyone. It’s time to transform. For business leaders, that means not only consulting with automation experts to plot your Digital Transformation but also meeting with your team to retool your enterprise for a more profitable future.
Open Up a Dialogue About Automation
If you are already in the process of exploring your options to automate your company, it’s important to take note of three things before you commit to a purchase:
- Automation can be implemented to take over tasks, but it’s less effective at taking over jobs.
- Automation works best as a complement to your existing team.
- Automation can ameliorate working conditions to improve company culture and worker retention.
With these facts in mind, it’s time to open up a dialogue with your team so they are aware of your intentions to automate the company. Whether you’re looking to implement automation in Accounts Payable, Sales Orders, Human Resources, Customer Service, or another department entirely, you want to quell any concerns about automation and help your team understand why automation is important and how it will positively affect your company. You might be surprised to find that they not only take the news well but embrace it and support you. The automation buzz continues to build year-over-year, but not for the reason you might expect.
Adobe Digital Insights analyzed 3 million social mentions related to “future of work” and found that sentiment towards the role of automation in the workplace was overwhelmingly positive. People are more interested in learning about how automation can make their jobs more enjoyable as opposed to how automation could affect employment negatively.
Target the Menial, Time-Consuming Tasks Your Team Loathes
Now, it’s time to address the skills gap preventing you from taking the next step on your automation journey. The skills gap with automation refers to the soft and technical skills required to help employees thrive in a workplace that has incorporated automation in some form or another (i.e., AP Automation, Data Entry Automation, etc.). However, before you can address these skills gaps, you must identify them by mapping out business processes for automation. It is recommended that you undergo an in-person or virtual whiteboarding session with an experienced automation expert so you can target the menial, time-consuming tasks your team loathes — those that are the best fit for automation and tend to be error-prone, such as:
- Data entry
- PO/Non-PO invoice processing
- GL coding
- Document routing
Once you have identified the processes suitable for automation, you will have a better understanding of the tasks that can only be completed by your valued team members. During this time, it’s highly recommended that you take a step back to focus on how you can retrain and upskill your workers to create a more resilient and self-sufficient workforce.
Focus on Retraining and Upskilling
Automation helps your business optimize processes that are commonly viewed as tedious and repetitive, but it’s not a panacea for all of your operational woes. As the emerging leader in workflow automation for the enterprise, we speak from firsthand experience when we say that your business will get significantly faster and more efficient, but there’s still work to be done if you want to gain a leg up on your competition. This is where your most important asset, your employees, get a chance to truly shine.
Did you know that 82 percent of executives at companies with annual revenues exceeding $100 million believe retraining and upskilling are the primary solutions to addressing the automation skills gap? It’s time to get to work! Job roles are changing and being redefined, yet 42 percent of US businesses lack a solid understanding of how automation will affect their future hiring processes in relation to specific job skills. Retraining and upskilling workers already under your employ are viewed as urgent matters by most business leaders. When you automate your company, you are presented with the perfect opportunity to assess areas of your business that can be improved and retrain your workers accordingly.
This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but many companies have found success by offering free e-learning content for employees or supporting re-training at institutions of learning. Arguably the best approach, and most hands-on approach, are retraining and upskilling opportunities that occur within the company itself. This approach helps you dial in on specific areas that need to be addressed, ensuring that your employees pick up the skills that will help them flourish at the company for years to come.
Closing the Automation Skills Gap for Good
Learning and development programs and training are highly effective measures if you’re looking to close the automation skills gap and embark on your automation journey. There’s no substitute for the real thing. Your workers have the knowledge, empathy, and unbridled freedom to do things automation could never, which makes liberating them from tedious tasks that much more important.
Are you ready to automate your company? IntelliChief, the emerging leader in Enterprise Automation, makes it easy to transition from manual processes to a fully automated workplace. We even train your team to get the most out of your system so you don’t miss a step during your Digital Transformation.
To learn more about how Enterprise Automation can take your business to the next level, contact IntelliChief today.