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  • Writer's pictureMichał Zaremba

How does robotic process automation affect employee productivity and engagement?




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More than half of employees report relatively low productivity at work.


Today we know that the last years of the pandemic have caused profound changes in the organization of work. Employers are struggling with the challenges brought by new work models, such as remote or hybrid, while looking for effective methods of assessing the effectiveness of their teams and examining their satisfaction with the work performed.  

 


In today's article, we will look at the latest research on employee satisfaction and engagement in terms of key factors influencing these areas.

We will also focus on how robotic process automation can respond to the needs of employees.


 

McKinsey research results indicate the existence of six different groups of employees, from the very dissatisfied and passive (about 10%) to the so-called "thriving stars" (approx. 4%), i.e. exceptionally committed and having a positive impact on others. Between these two poles there is a huge middle ground of employees who experience different levels of commitment and satisfaction that affect their performance and sense of well-being. well-being. The main challenge for organizations is to move as many employees as possible away from a highly dissatisfied group towards greater engagement.

Such a strategy would give employees the opportunity to develop their skills, reducing rates of dissatisfaction and fatigue, and bringing clear financial and organizational benefits in the long run.

  

 

 

What factors contribute to low commitment at work?

 

 

The study focused on 12 factors that influence employee satisfaction to varying degrees. It has been noted that six main factors significantly influence financial losses in a company, and most employees in companies experience at least one of these factors, which leads to their dissatisfaction and lack of commitment, and ultimately to lower productivity.



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Importantly, at the top of this pyramid there was a significant factor related to feeling satisfied with performing meaningful work. It means that the tasks performed are monotonous, do not pose a challenge, and do not contribute to the larger goals of the organization or the employee's personal aspirations. Employees may feel that their work is of little importance, they have no influence on the broader context or they do not develop their skills. This often leads to lower motivation, commitment and overall job satisfaction.

 


 

How can robotic process automation respond to these needs?

 

 

By taking over routine and repetitive tasks, automation allows employees to focus on more demanding and satisfying aspects of their work.

For example, a data analyst can focus on deeper analysis of trends and strategy development, instead of manually collecting and sorting data.

Additionally, automation can contribute to the development of new skills, such as project management or creative problem-solving. Employees have the opportunity to learn how to use new tools and technologies, which increases their value in the job market and their sense of personal development.


Finally, robotics can improve the quality of work by reducing human errors and increasing efficiency. This translates into better company results and employees' sense of pride in their contribution. It all adds up to a more satisfying and engaging work environment.

 

 



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For a deeper understanding of the topic,

we will present (based on McKinsey research)

six employee archetypes

and proposals for actions for leaders to direct employees towards greater job satisfaction.

 

 



1. Giving up - heading for the exit


Employees who are on the path to resignation are not always the least productive, but they often belong to the least satisfied and engaged group within the organization. Their dissatisfaction can negatively impact performance and lead to a decision to leave.

For employers, it is crucial to notice when valuable employees start feeling undervalued. In response, employers should try to re-engage these talents, especially those who previously achieved high results but now seem disappointed with the current situation.


Estimated percentage in each organization: 10%

 

 


 

 

2. Disruptors - disengaged and demotivating others

 

Among various groups of employees, the disengaged ones can have the most significant negative impact on an organization. Their attitude might be a result of how they're treated by the company and how their colleagues perceive them. Such individuals, by showing a lack of engagement, can lower the productivity of the entire team. Their behavior, which can be likened to 'energy vampirism,' weakens motivation among coworkers. Moreover, equal access to rewards for all employees, regardless of their engagement, can demotivate the most productive workers as they feel the unfairness. On the other hand, a culture of mutual accountability can improve overall performance in the company.


Leaders should focus on re-engaging these employees by offering career development and showing how their work aligns with the company's goals. It's important to manage expectations and reward high performance, as well as provide opportunities for advancement. If these measures are ineffective, considering changes in roles or work environment may help re-engage employees.


Estimated percentage in each organization: 11%

 

 


 

 

3.Minimalist - does the absolute minimum

 

Moderately disengaged employees are characterized by a medium level of engagement and performance, showing neither full satisfaction nor active dissatisfaction. They meet only the basic requirements of their positions without much enthusiasm or initiative, which reflects on their results and well-being. It is not advisable to expect from them excessive dedication to the company at the expense of their personal life.


Key to addressing this is allowing autonomy at work, meaning flexibility in the location and timing of work. By giving employees greater control and opportunities for development, while maintaining attractive compensation, employers can significantly increase their engagement. This can bring financial benefits to the company and improve team morale.


Estimated percentage in each organization: 32%

 

 


 

 

 

4.Multitaskers - different levels of involvement

 

Employees who often work remotely and hold two or more jobs can have varying impacts on their productivity. Some are engaged and productive, while others may negatively affect the organization's operations. Although these workers may be handling two or more positions, their reasons for doing so vary depending on where they fall on the satisfaction spectrum.


Companies should focus on the dissatisfied employees in this group, offering better pay and development opportunities to negate the need for juggling multiple jobs. Collaboration between managers and HR departments to map out career paths and clearly define roles can also help address this issue.


Estimated percentage in each organization: 5%

 



 

 

 

5. Champions of initiative - out of the box 

 

  This group of employees, situated at the positive end of the satisfaction spectrum, forms the organizational core, consisting of committed and reliable performers. They are willing to do more than required for their employers, often engaging in additional projects and supporting colleagues.


Companies can maximize their potential by providing meaningful work, flexibility, and a supportive work environment that promotes collaboration and eliminates toxicity. High compensation alone may not be motivating for this group, but fair treatment is key to their engagement.


Estimated percentage in each organization: 38%

 

 


 

 

6.Rising stars - they bring value and inspire others

 

These exceptional employees in an organization bring significant value through their talents, flexibility, and ability to balance professional and personal life. They have a substantial impact on efficiency and productivity. They are capable of achieving a high level of sustained satisfaction by finding meaning and purpose in their work. This group is at an elevated risk of occupational burnout due to heavier workloads, which is particularly perilous since it relates to performing creative tasks.


To prevent the risk of burnout, companies should protect these talents by limiting their workload and providing them with meaningful tasks. It's also important to care for their well-being and maintain a balance between productivity and good mental health.


Estimated percentage in each organization: 4%

 

 


 

 

To address employee dissatisfaction and low productivity, companies should focus on maintaining the satisfaction and engagement of their top-performing employees, while striving to create similar conditions for other employee groups. It's essential to identify those who will respond to interventions focused on career development, flexibility, and a sense of purpose.



The future is now...



As breakthrough technologies like AI and generative artificial intelligence evolve, they are changing the nature of work, with employees leaning towards more innovative tasks. The automation of business processes fits into this shift, allowing employees to devote themselves to tasks requiring greater creativity, collaboration, and advanced problem-solving. Automating routine and repetitive tasks through RPA robots enables employees to focus on more valuable activities, which in turn can lead to higher productivity, innovation, and according to recent studies - improved employee engagement and satisfaction.

 

 

 





Do you want to increase the productivity and commitment of your employees?


Order a free consultation and find out what potential robotization has in your company!




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