The concept of automation has long struck fear into the hearts and minds of hard working IT professionals. Bring on the robots…and while you’re at it, hand over our jobs. Thankfully, the reality of IT automation isn’t nearly this grim. Will it impact the day to day job duties of some? Inevitably, yes. But if deployed properly, IT automation should net a positive return, not just for the organization implementing it, but for the workers in the trenches as well.
That being said, if automation is on your list of priorities for the coming year, it’s wise to anticipate some of the fear and anxiety your employees may experience. Getting in front of the problem will ensure a much smoother, more successful rollout. If you are, indeed, planning to leverage IT automation as a tool to complement and augment your human workforce, here are a few ways you can quell their worries.
Educate the masses.
One of the biggest drivers of fear is uncertainty. If your team has no idea what IT automation is and, more importantly, how it can actually improve their lives, there is a greater chance of resistance to change. By educating them on what IT automation is all about, what it’s capable of and how you plan to use it, you’ll ease some of that tension and remove much of the doubt that your employees may be struggling with.
Bring people into the process.
Don’t unilaterally adopt IT automation and then explain it to your end-users. Taking this kind of approach can breed mistrust. Instead, bring employees and other stakeholders into the automation planning process early and keep them involved. Invite feedback and suggestions – especially from the workers who will be most closely impacted. They know better than anyone what tasks and processes would be ripe for automation. Moreover, being involved and engaged will eliminate any anxiety that may be lingering.
Don’t just tell. Show.
It’s one thing to verbally tout the advantages of IT automation to the masses, but it’s immensely more compelling when you actually show people how it will benefit them. In addition to demonstrating the specific ways artificial intelligence can improve their jobs, you should also identify avenues for exciting new opportunities. In other words, show front line employees that when they automate monotonous tasks, not only do they save time, but they are freed up to reskill, upskill and ultimately progress in their careers.
Identify IT automation evangelists.
Long-term success with IT automation requires more than just calming anxieties. It depends on proactively winning over the hearts and minds of users. This improves the likelihood of adoption and accelerates scale. Wherever possible, enlist the help of employees who are personally being impacted by automation. Work alongside them, record their journey and let them tell their story. Making the connection on a human level is the key to getting widespread buy-in and support.
Give your IT automation a name.
The thought of robots working behind the scenes can be nerve-wracking. What if, instead, it was simply a colleague named Mark? It may sound rather silly, but naming your IT automation tool can humanize it, making it less intimidating. The reality is, the successful workplace of the future will be one in which people and machines work side-by-side. Why not get a jump on this desired collaboration? Better yet, why not involve the entire team in the naming process?
At the end of the day, while change may be frightening, it is something that is pivotal to growth. By implementing the five strategies above to show your employees that IT automation isn’t something to be feared, you’ll proactively address their uneasiness and make the experience a much more positive one for everyone involved.