Some argue that humans are not built for the internet age, that we are built for a Stone Age society that long ago became irrelevant. There may be something to that, especially when you consider phenomena like burnout and the growing interest in yoga and mindfulness, which may be symptoms of not really keeping up with today's fast pace. So is the solution to ditch digitalisation because it's too complex for people? No, that would be totally backwards and we would miss out on lots of opportunities!
Instead, we can use digitalisation as a way to motivate our people and become even better at harnessing the things that humans can still do better than robots, such as creative thinking, collaboration and empathy. According to Daniel Pink, author of the book "Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us", there are three things that drive people. Clue: none of them are monetary rewards or the threat of punishment. No, the things Pink has in mind are autonomy, self-learning and purpose. Being in control of your own work, at least to some extent. To feel that you are learning and developing from what you do. And that what you do feels meaningful.
When these three are met, people tick over and can't tear themselves away from what they are doing. It's easier to get into a state of so-called flow - you know, that state when you get so engrossed in a task that challenges you, but isn't impossible, that you forget about time and space because what you're doing is so interesting. The flow state can be experienced both at work and at play, and research shows that people who are deprived of the opportunity to experience flow quickly become unhappy and even ill.
One way to take our employees' daily lives a step closer to autonomy, self-learning and purpose is to take a good look at which processes can be automated. While they can certainly lead to a trance-like state, routine tasks that require little or no thought are not what people tend to find stimulating. The good news is that many of these tasks can be automated with the tools available today. If your business has an order flow, an onboarding flow for new hires, case management, task assignment or similar, chances are that all or part of that flow can be automated, freeing up human time and commitment for other more fulfilling and value-adding tasks. A side benefit is that it reduces human error and provides transparent statistics on how well the process is flowing and where any bottlenecks exist. The prerequisite is that the flow follows a reasonably standardised process that is defined and possibly optimised before it is automated.
Are you curious about the automation potential in your organisation? At a digital journey management workshop with AddPro, we'll look at digital opportunities from different perspectives and identify the actions that are best suited to your business. One such perspective is streamlining and automation, with the aim of saving time, money and human engagement. In addition to the obvious savings opportunities, it's also interesting to think about what value your employees could create if they could spend less time on routine administration and more time on making your customers happier and your business better?
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