Making AI work for your employees

Brigette McInnis-Day Profile picture for user Brigette McInnis-Day March 14, 2024
Summary:
Employees stuck in a cycle of repetitive assignments need stimulation before frustration leads to burnout. Brigette McInnis-Day of UiPath shares how AI-enabled automations have been used to reduce painpoints and increase satisfaction at work.

Employee experience of using AI at work © Blue Planet Studio
(© Blue Planet Studio)

Despite many efforts to alleviate workplace stress, burnout continues to be one of the major challenges plaguing the workforce. 77% of U.S. workers are experiencing work-related stress, according to the American Psychological Association's 2023 Work in America Survey. Further, more than half (57%) of the employees surveyed suffer from the negative impacts of work-related stress typically associated with workplace burnout, such as emotional exhaustion, low motivation, and a desire to quit.

Often, the mundane, monotonous work that employees do every day is a contributor to stress and burnout. For example, daily repetitive assignments involving data entry, report generation, email management, scheduling, and more can all contribute to a diminished sense of purpose.These repetitive tasks leave employees feeling frustrated because they stifle growth and limit intellectual stimulation and opportunities to innovate and contribute fresh perspectives to projects or strategies that add greater business value. 

So, what can be done?

To solve these issues, many organizations are turning to automation, using AI-enabled digital assistants to tackle routine work. In fact, according to a recent UiPath report, 58% of global employees believe that AI-powered automation is the key to addressing burnout and enhancing job fulfillment. 

AI-powered automation is a powerful catalyst in liberating employees from the monotony of routine tasks, thereby cultivating a work environment that is not only supportive but also inherently rewarding. Driven by sophisticated algorithms and machine learning, these AI companions empower employees to work within a wide variety of systems, documents, and teams to tackle their daily task list. With pre-built capabilities provided by AI-powered automation, employees can address day-to-day challenges by developing their own automations without coding expertise, enabling them to not only advance their day-to-day work but also make improvements that help drive operational excellence across their organization.  

Here’s how business leaders can implement AI-powered automation to offset burnout and improve workplace satisfaction. 

Supercharge productivity 

AI-powered automation is a proven force for driving incredible productivity and efficiency gains. At UiPath, we benefit from using our own platform across HR, finance, IT, and other functions. Our People Team uses AI-powered automation to reduce time-consuming tasks such as scheduling interviews, onboarding new hires, answering employee questions, building human capital management (HCM) reports, matching mentors and mentees, processing various employee contracts and documents, and much more. As a result, we gave 1.12 million cumulative hours back to our employees in 2023.

With the technology executing routine assignments, companies and employees experience streamlined workflows and reduced errors. Wilhelmsen, a Norwegian global shipping merchant, is also experiencing the benefits of this transformation. When it discovered a backlog of transactions that would take three years for a full-time staff member to clear, the company deployed UiPath AI-powered automation within its Global Business Services department to improve workflows and reduce error rates. By automating just 15 processes, Wilhelmsen has already saved its employees over 11,000 hours — about $300,000 a year — and has the potential to save over $1 million by deploying more AI-powered automation in different business units. Implementing AI-powered automation across the entire business will mean incredible new business outcomes — a testament to what this technology can do for business transformation.

Empowered employees = better engagement and satisfaction 

Beyond driving efficiency, the impact of AI-powered automation extends to the core of employee satisfaction and engagement. With automation handling routine responsibilities, employees can concentrate on upskilling or reskilling, such as on AI capabilities that equip them for the changing technology environment. Employees are at the forefront of these routine tasks and therefore empowering them to actively contribute to strategic decision-making fosters a culture of growth within the organization.

As a result of these benefits, employees are looking for ways to embrace this technology in their day-to-day jobs. According to the same UiPath study, 44% of global workers want to actively contribute to developing AI-powered automations within their workplace. To enable employees to help scale this technology, an open line of communication is foundational for creating a work environment that embraces AI as a facilitator of a new way of working. With employee feedback and involvement, more processes can be improved and enhanced, saving workers more time, and unlocking new ways to accelerate human achievement through increased time for reskilling, training, and creative pursuits.

Investment in AI-powered automation benefits employers, too; 57% of the global workers UiPath surveyed say that employers utilizing AI-powered automation for employee support and operational modernization are viewed more favorably than those without. By embracing AI-driven automation, companies optimize their workforces and enable a culture in which innovation, speed, and accuracy can coalesce to define success.

Preparing employees to work alongside AI 

Implementing AI-powered automation requires a structured approach encompassing task assessment, employee engagement, and continuous evaluation. Through a comprehensive analysis, organizations can gauge the potential impact on employees and the dynamics of existing workflows. This deep understanding is the foundation for identifying opportunities where AI-powered automation can bring the most significant benefits. The next phase entails researching and selecting platforms aligned with organizational needs. When evaluating vendors, companies should prioritize key factors such as scalability, ease of integration, and alignment with strategic business goals. Some vendors also offer comprehensive training programs to empower employees with the skills needed to work alongside AI-powered automation.

An iterative approach to introducing AI-powered automation ensures that the platform integration remains dynamic, responsive, and aligned with the evolving needs of the workforce and the organization. Through this ongoing process, organizations can fine-tune their strategy, ensuring employees are central to AI implementations.

AI-powered automation offers a path to reduce workplace burnout, unlock new possibilities for employees to explore their creativity and innovation, and accelerate human achievement. As organizations navigate the evolving landscape of work in the AI era, the strategic adoption of automation heralds a more fulfilling and sustainable future for the global workforce.

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