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How to Motivate Employees in the Age of Automation

By Fahad Khan
The theory of three needs—for competence, relatedness, and autonomy—has been used to explain how employees work optimally and productively.

The University of Oxford conducted a study in 2013 on large numbers of employment losses. The study was a prediction of sorts. Fast-forward to 2022; the world saw something similar – The Great Resignation.

The only difference was that the latter is a voluntary resignation while the former predicted loss of employment owing to automation and robots. While the study has been critiqued numerous times for possible loopholes, one thing is sure – the age of automation is here.

And misinformation is so rampant that employees resist meeting the changing demands of different industries. Thankfully, the AI revolution is not here to steal people's jobs but to assist them in performing better. In light of this optimistic view, it is vital to motivate employees.

But how can companies do that in an age of agility and automation? The team of Growth Jockey has some insights to share. Keep reading.

A More Rewarding Work Environment and Experience?

To start off, Growth Jockey believes that one of the key motivators for employees should be the work environment, which is expected to become more rewarding and streamlined. We consider this a key motivator because most people spend a good portion of their waking lives working, and the future will scarcely look any different.

But how exactly will the work environment be employee-friendly amidst robotic arms and Artificial Intelligence? Let's delve into this deeper –

1. Stripping away from the Dangerous and Dull

One silver lining to automation that is visible even today is how technology will strip away dull and dangerous jobs. In truth, only a few jobs can be fully automated. This should eliminate fears surrounding job loss.

Moreover, automation is mainly employed for repetitive and dull tasks such as data entry, bookkeeping, predictable physical work, and the like. Growth Jockey believes employees should find this exciting.

When the rote and routine are done away with, they are left to focus on the engaging and heuristic – tasks that require human creativity over machine performance. Workers get to free up their time and focus on making more meaningful and fulfilling contributions.

2. Development of More Agile Working Methodologies

As automation is steadily gaining steam, companies focus on developing more agile working methods that allow humans to work harmoniously alongside machines. Hierarchal lines are blurring, and workspaces are undergoing a complete overhaul for more collaborative working culture.

The agile working conditions are also making employees autonomous. They have greater control over their day and can make impactful contributions to the team. This should be a key motivator to embrace the age of AI.

Even in previously physical working environments, such as the manufacturing sector, automation enables workers to bypass dangerous and boringly time-consuming tasks. This should motivate manufacturing companies' employees to learn the new technologies' ins and outs.

3. Increasing Need for Emotional and Social Skills

Until the age of automation crept in, work (in all industries) was mechanical. Growth Jockey compares the bygone eras to be days when humans were expected to act like machines. They were assigned specific roles and expected to fulfil those, with little room for the human element.

However, the truth is that every industry is essentially a people's business. So, how can organisations expect to drive growth without meeting clients at the human level? We believe automation takes most of the mechanical work off the plate, leaving humans to add their emotional and social touch.

The demand for skills such as empathy, creativity, negotiation, adaptability, advanced communication, etc., is expected to rise. These act as solid motivators for embracing automation. Motivated employees, in turn, can showcase such skills to their fullness.

That's a win-win for every party involved.

Helping Teams Embrace Automation

It is one thing to know that employees will benefit much from automation. But the trickier part is to get them to see this and embrace the change. Growth Jockey believes the following tips should help –

1. Clear Communication

Enterprises need first to communicate what they know about automation to their employees precisely as it is. Since AI and ML are here to assist staff and not usurp their roles, what better way to motivate the team than to establish clear lines of communication?

Companies must ensure every employee is kept in the loop of how automation is progressing in the firm, whether any potential disruptions are expected, and what the timeline will be. This can be done through email reviews or newsletters.

Everyone on the same page makes it easier to run implementations smoothly. Plus, this makes the team feel valued and engaged in the process.

2. Highlight the Pros

Only the many cons of automation have been circulating until now. Every company will find employee resistance, though to varying degrees. Growth Jockey recommends highlighting the benefits of machines as clearly as possible.

Some pros include greater efficiency, increased productivity, higher profitability, and better resource management. The higher management should take the time to explain each benefit in a detailed and worker-friendly manner.

For instance – if an automated process can replace the manual process because of efficiency, companies should highlight the benefits employees could expect. These could include more meaningful contributions, reduced stress, lower workload, and better job satisfaction.

3. Offer Consistent Reassurances

The uncertainty that a change brings can be overwhelming in itself. However, matters only get worse when employees do not feel supported. The higher management must take special care to offer consistent reassurances, especially during and after implementation.

Many issues will arise during these stages; some workers may take longer than others to feel confident and secure, and additional help may be required. Line managers and automation companies must be responsible for employees motivation in these stages.

They should conduct one-on-one meetings to share queries, issues, and experiences and discuss automation in general. Even group sessions are essential to create a sense of mutual support.

4. Provide Formal learning Continuously

Growth Jockey's experts understand the importance of adequate training. Workers gain little from the mere implementation of automation technologies. Motivated employees are a product of rigorous and continuous training.

Even before the training process, employees must be made aware of the novel processes as well as the impact of these processes on their daily workflow. Only then can they become ready to learn about new technologies.

Knowledge is power - continuous learning opportunities through implementation teach employees to wield this power appropriately.

5. Pay Close Attention to Feedback

Anything new is vulnerable to criticism and reviews. Employees will have their personal opinions about the new automated processes. We believe this is an excellent opportunity for companies to listen closely.

A valuable team will also have valuable feedback to share. While positive reviews are always welcome, it is through constructive criticism that positive changes are made. Subsequent successful automation implementation depends upon gathering feedback and making changes accordingly.

This will also motivate employees to be interested in the new processes and learn more about them.

The Bottom Line

Finally, a pro tip for motivating employees in an age of automation is to follow the self-determination theory. Growth Jockey supports this mainly because every organisation wants its employees to function at their best with little intervention and monitoring.

This theory believes that employees work optimally and productively when the following three needs are fulfilled – need for competence, relatedness, and autonomy. Organisations need to monitor closely whether these needs are being fulfilled.

This will ensure higher productivity, proper work-life balance, and a better sense of well-being. What's more, is that every employee will be ready to embrace automation.

At Growth Jockey, we are committed to delivering tailored marketing automation solutions that effectively address the critical challenges faced by our clients across various industries. Regardless of the scale of your business, whether you're a small-scale enterprise or a large corporation, you can now harness the benefits of advanced automation technology.

Take a proactive approach to unlock the next level of growth for your brand by reaching out to us today!

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10th Floor, Tower A, Signature Towers, Opposite Hotel Crowne Plaza, South City I, Sector 30, Gurugram, Haryana 122001
Ward No. 06, Prevejabad, Sonpur Nitar Chand Wari, Sonpur, Saran, Bihar, 841101
Shreeji Tower, 3rd Floor, Guwahati, Assam, 781005
25/23, Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil St, Kandhanchanvadi Perungudi, Kancheepuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, 600096
19 Graham Street, Irvine, CA - 92617, US