Monday 17 December 2018 8:55 am

How automation can improve the millennial working experience

Automation is set to surge in impact over the next few years, nowhere more so than in the world of work.

While this represents a huge opportunity for economic growth, some employers are concerned that certain jobs may be at risk of being replaced by bots. At the same time, employers are managing the challenges of a multi-generational workforce. Millennials now make up more than a third of employees, bringing with them a whole new set of working styles for management to consider.

Millennials typically display low retention rates and are key protagonists of the job-hopping culture; on average, they stay in each role for a maximum of three years. This costs employers dearly in recruitment and retraining fees. But as the first digitally-native generation to enter the workforce, millennials may be better equipped to embrace the growing automation trend, rather than fear its impact.

Digital-first generation

Growing up with apps, on-demand content and social networking in their pockets, millennials are accustomed to using technology for every working process. They are also comfortable with using ‘Siri-like’ technology that points them to the best course of action, which helps make processes more effective.

By adopting this type of automation, employees are offered new ways to complete tasks depending on their preferences and the business context, motivating and encouraging them to stay in their posts for longer. Millennials want to have a genuine impact on transformation initiatives and harnessing automation in this way to help with decisions, makes them an active participant in the solution rather than replacing them. All the while, this offers the dual benefit of helping their employers embrace the digital transformation they need.

Engaging and energising the workforce

Research has found that millennials are twice as likely to be bored at work as Baby Boomers, especially at entry-level, where they are tasked with menial jobs. This can lead to lower staff retention rates, as demotivated workers are twice as likely to leave. With more than half of millennials thinking about their next job at any given time, companies must find a way to ensure that their next generation of employees are consistently motivated.

By automating repetitive, administrative roles, workers can focus on delivering more premium services, concentrating on strategy, creative innovation and problem solving, which could lead to greater job satisfaction. Employers will see operational costs reduced as both a result of automating processes and higher staff retention and engagement rates.

New work perks

Most people are familiar with the image of a ‘millennial workplace’, filled with gimmicks like ping pong tables and beer on tap. But is this effective in attracting and retaining younger staff? In reality, millennials are less interested in eye-catching novelty perks and look for technologies that enable efficiency and collaboration across the workplace. So, put away the ping pong paddles and dismantle the office slide: instead, employers should embrace technology to enable their staff. This is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’, but a vital requirement for keeping up with an evolving workforce.

But as the saying goes, by failing to prepare, one is preparing to fail. Before automating the workplace, businesses must first understand the ins and outs of their processes. Intelligent technologies, such as process mining, can help businesses dissect their operations in detail and recommend areas that would benefit most from automation.

When it comes to managing millennials, employers are concerned about how to best engage their workforce and reduce turnover rates. However, by understanding why, how and where automation can be applied most effectively, they can simultaneously eliminate tasks that stifle creativity, increase efficiency across the business and improve employee wellbeing.

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