Let us paint a picture.

Jane is an official in charge of the loans. She gets into work, grabs a cup of coffee, sits down, and opens her work queue for the day. Loan paperwork that have been scanned, digitized and uploaded to the loan processing system, along with key data fields populated from the CRM system, credit offices, and other third-party data sources, are presented to her.

Previously, these are all tasks that she would have performed at the start of each application, but her pre-work processes were automated by a software robot (RPA unattended automation) to perform all of those tasks.

Jane pulls up the first application and checks the signature, and reviews the collected data. The robot has flagged a discrepancy between data sources in its data-gathering process. Jane's Process Assistant (attended automation) suggests a course of action based on the lending context.

Jane agrees with the suggestion, telling the robot to proceed. Jane can then move ahead in the queue with the next application. When the task is completed by her Process Assistant, the application returns to Jane's work queue, categorized and prioritized based on the goal of their turnaround service.

Human in the loop automation, the combination of unattended, attended RPA and human works, increases the speed and accuracy of data collection and filling tasks, and frees Jane to handle the more complex applications and assists Jane as needed through the process steps.

Human in the loop automation helped to increase Jane's capacity and job satisfaction as many of the tedious tasks were offloaded to RPA. And, the real-time, contextual process support gives Jane more confidence in the decisions she makes.

RPA And Employee Job Satisfaction Come Hand In Hand

This example is indicative of a very common scenario with RPA implementations.  Forbes surveyed 302 senior managers involved in implementing Intelligent Automation (IA) and Robotic Process Automation worldwide and discovered that as a result of these initiatives, 92 per cent indicated an improvement in employee satisfaction. Additionally, after implementing RPA, 52 per cent said employee satisfaction increased by 15 per cent or more.

The reason so many employees are happier after RPA implementation is because they take away from their hands manual, repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Most organizations then redeploy these workers to higher-value, more interesting and rewarding activities, such as improving customer experience or helping a customer find the right solution to their needs. And once they realize that they can spend more time on strategic work that engages them and benefits the organization, they start losing their apprehension.

One of the most immediate advantages is that they get more time in their day. Most employees already feel as though they cram 11 hours of work in just eight hours. But with transactional low-level work taking off their plate, they spend less time in the office and more time with their families.

Moving from Fear to Acceptance Through Satisfaction

At first blush, it may not seem an easy task to gain employee buy-in for smart automation. As with any initiative to manage change, the key is to involve employees from the beginning and take into account their emotions and concerns. According to HfS, management needs to communicate the "why IA" vision

to staff and its surrounding requirements. HfS suggests a top-down and bottom-up approach, "really a programmatic approach to IA." Managers often start change conversations by pointing out organizational advantages. In the Forbes survey, respondents said automation increases efficiency (the second most enhanced post-implementation metric), increases customer satisfaction (the third most enhanced metric) decreases costs, increases market share and revenue, and increases operating margins. Although impressive, these results will not be sufficient to reduce the factor of fear for employees. Instead, organisations, while addressing their fears head-on, need to help employees understand what's in it for them.

"We shouldn't call them robots [cognitive AI agents]," Tackie states. "We should call them co-bots, because what they actually do is collaborate with people. Without human input and participation, they can not do anything." Ultimately, it's a process of selling the benefits. As employees gain an understanding of how RPA works, they will start to understand the opportunities for operational improvement and how RPA helps them on a personal level. And once they begin to see what's in it for them, they'll be more likely to embrace it and start working today as tomorrow.

Justice is a senior social marketing and content aggregator for Impact Tactics. Justice writes about artificial intelligence and the role RPA plays to improve business operations.