How to Automate Without Losing Employees

Automation is something that we can’t avoid at this point in history. Technology is growing in its capabilities and ignoring that means that we fall behind - something that you don’t have room to do as a business.
company automation

However, the thought of automating and laying off employees because of it can seem cruel in the eyes of many CEOs and business owners. You don’t necessarily have to let them off, though. You can actually automate without losing employees and in this article, we are going to explain how.

Redesign Their Work

Machines need to be run by something and they can’t handle every task that we do. For example, we will look at a startup called Boxed.

This company automated its factory jobs entirely. For any factory worker, the initial reaction to that thought is probably panic. However, Boxed found a way to keep every factory worker on its payroll by simply retraining them to take care of new jobs.

For example, jobs such as servicing the conveyor belts became open to these workers. It also switched a lot of work from part-time to full-time and increased average pay by 13%. In this case, not only didn’t Boxed employees lose their jobs, they saw increased hours and pay to go along with it thanks to a simple redesign.

Redesign the Company

For this, we will use Amazon as a point of reference. They have automated a good portion of their jobs and then they seemingly devolved into brick-and-mortar stores. However, this is good in terms of their employees.

As they shift employees away from newly automated jobs, Amazon can put them to work in their bookstore.

As of right now, these bookstores are being described by CEOs as “test sites” that they are unsure that they will keep. However, the ideas that these stores are setting up as an idea of expansion is a fantastic idea for any company, even if Amazon doesn’t take it past the “testing” phase.

A Rise In the Need For Social Skills

Put your employees in the positions that robots can’t fill. A robot has no idea how to react to something with feeling because that is one thing that can’t really be programmed into them.

Jobs that require human interaction are on the rise so you can automate as much as you want and know that your employees are needed to be the literal, breathing face of your company.

Take a hotel for example. Could a robot check a guest in? Yes, probably. However, by not automating this part of your company, you provide your guests with a warm welcome when they walk in your door. Remember; you can’t automate humanity.

Use Automation to Help Existing Jobs Rather than Replace Them

Automating in small ways won’t threaten the jobs of your employees and it will their day to day work simpler as well. In fact, there are plenty of tools that can make their days easier to handle.

Accounts payable departments, for example, can automate invoicing with software. IT professionals can set up a DRaaS tool instead of having to build and manage their own off-site disaster recovery.

However, your business will have to train employees in using this new technology. You will probably find, though, that it cuts down on human error with menial jobs and helps you and your workers to depend on the accuracy of the results.

This follows a theory that IT will not take over our jobs just our tasks. This view means that we won’t have to worry about an IT takeover but rather just be ready to lose the pieces of our jobs that simply serve as busywork.

Remember, We’ve Been Here Before

Finally, remember that this isn’t the first time that we’ve been here. Yes, the technology is more advanced and more capable now, but we’ve been here. During the industrial age, we were concerned about the inventions coming about then.

However, everything turned out to be fine.

Don’t worry too much about losing your staff or losing your own job because humans are, by nature, innovative. This means that we will always be 2 steps ahead of technology and able to work efficiently above it. Just because new technology is being introduced doesn't mean you are being phased out. It just means that things might run slightly differently from then on.

We will continue to innovate

As each of these jobs becomes automated, you will have less of a need for for worry, in fact, you should see it as an opportunity. Not only will these automations lead to new jobs, they will lead to higher paying, more skill-based jobs.

Even if they don’t, there are many ways to keep your employees on-board as we have discussed here. Remember, automation doesn’t mean the end and it can even mean the beginning of much more.