We are already seeing how automation is transforming the business landscape and how we work. However, can automation help increase employee engagement? On the surface, this statement might seem odd. However, according to a report by Forrester, it can.

57 percent of companies surveyed indicated that automation has helped them to better engage their employees among other areas such as increased efficiency (86 percent), deeper insights into customers (67 percent), and improved customer service (57 percent).

Another reason as to why automation has increased employee engagement and experience for companies is due to how such automated processes allow employees to do away with mundane tasks completely. Highly repetitive jobs such as simple data entry or list updates can simply be let to the automated system, freeing up time for employees to focus on more meaningful and strategic tasks.

As a matter of fact, data shows that most companies often look to HR as the first part of the business to automate. Malina Platon, managing director of ASEAN at UiPath, believes that automation will allow HR professionals to move away from the repetitive processes such as onboarding, leave approval, and expense claims, to more strategic and decision-making roles.

“Many companies are starting to look at how to change and automate their HR functions. And HR is one of the easiest areas to be automated as a lot of its processes are repetitive and mundane. And that will free HR professionals to have more time to do more strategic and decision-making work,” she said.

“However, there is a skill gap in HR that automation will create by transforming the job. HR leaders will have to train and reskill their staff to do more complex, value-added work.

Currently, there remains a relatively huge skill gap between more developed nations such as Singapore, who is generally at the forefront of technology adoption in the SEA region, and developing countries like Cambodia, who are only in the initial stages of technology adoption. The rate at which new technologies are adopted will also affect the size of the skill gap.

But Platon believes the late adopters of automation can benefit from the experience and skills garnered over the years in the more developed markets.

“If we look globally there are a number of countries who are a step ahead in automation like Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and South Korea. And there are other countries who started late like Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos. But the countries who started late can benefit from all the experience accumulated in the industry for the last three to four years.

“They can see what kind of training is needed, what the customer journey looks like, and learn from the experience. So it’s not really a deficit that they start late. In fact, they can even move faster in terms of adoption and implementation,” she added.


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