Hand in hand with robots – how people react to digital teammates?

As you can easily imagine, the decision to introduce robots that perform tasks handled by people can be a controversial topic for human employees. Our experience shows that even mere delivery of such news can stir the emotions and open up argumentative discussions. Both surprise and fear of the change itself and a potential loss of daily tasks can turn out to be a daunting blocker if not addressed in time.

Making employees accustomed to the subject and transparently presenting them what the planned changes are associated with is always a good start. Let’s not be afraid to say that robots will actually do some of our people’s work, but at the same time, we must not forget to emphasize that robots will handle the least liked tasks. Clear explanation of the fact that in the present reality we have much more work than resources to handle it is also a good argument because it’s our employees’ everyday reality and they can relate to.

A good introduction is one thing, but the best results in convincing people to robots stems from employees’ involvement in the very process of their development and the fastest possible launch of robots. These are the characteristics on which the Rent-a-Robot model offered by Digital Teammates is based. The most crucial here is the immediate transition from theory to practice what allows to convince our employees that robots are their allies, not their enemies. By handling the most repetitive and tedious tasks, they allow people to focus on a more creative side of their work and strongly emphasize the expert status of our human crew. Supervising the tasks carried out by the robot and at the same time necessity to handle most unique, complicated and complex cases by humans allows for the continuous progress of their specialist knowledge.

Reluctance related to employees’ anxiety of unknown and new technology is also easy to overcome by showing people that they are necessary for proper processing of tasks by the robots. The technological aspect and familiarizing people with the way that RPA works have an additional value, worth emphasizing in the conversation with our teams. Considering the dynamic growth of popularity of robotic solutions coupled with their relative novelty, first-hand experience gained by working side by side with robots, will be exceptional and almost exclusive for our employees. This is another aspect worth emphasizing.

In practice the introduction of robots can work wonders, especially in case of sudden spikes of volumes. Our employees noticed quickly that thanks to having digital teammates on board they are no longer asked to do overtime to handle additional volumes. The robots will take care of them gladly and without complaints and thanks to that our crew will be well-rested and much more effective.

Based on our experience, it can be noticed that despite the initial fears, anxiety of the unknown, and even resentment and controversy, robots can win the sympathy and favor of the employees. The combination of theory, elements of education and taming, and finally the launch of the first robots are enough for our teams to become convinced to RPA and to open them to accept the benefits of this solution.

To sum up the topic, I will quote the situation which happened few weeks ago – passing one of the employees in our office, instead of the usual “Hi!”, I’ve heard: “Magda, these robots are not so bad, after all. When will we get the next one? ” It seems that this short yet pithy point speaks for itself.

Magdalena Adamczewska
Head of Operations