A perception of threat and an atmosphere of impending doom is not exactly what organizations want RPA to herald. It is a positive step in creating leaner, efficient and productive business processes.

3 Cs of Communicating Change in RPA Context

Nidhi Mahesh | Communication Consultant

 

Robotics Process Automation, or RPA in short, is a game changer. With almost 9 billion dollars’ worth of market by 2024, the technology has attracted businesses from all verticals, and BFSI seems to be leading the pack. One of the key reasons enterprises are opting for RPA is its ease of adoption and quick turnaround time. A virtual workforce capable of delivering outcomes fast, accurately and with flexibility to ramp up or down, is definitely a boon, especially when it comes at almost one third of the cost of maintaining a human workforce for the similar roles. However, the process is perceived negatively in many organizations, primarily because of apprehensions of layoffs. But this may not be true in most cases. With the requirement of skilled workforce on the rise, there is every possibility of the robots elevating their human predecessors to better and more rewarding roles. Most organizations re-skill/up-skill their employees and boost productivity by letting the bots do the menial, repetitive jobs. Even when the bots are powered with AI and machine learning to deliver advanced level outcomes, humans can still be a pace ahead!

A perception of threat and an atmosphere of impending doom is not exactly what organizations want RPA to herald. It is a positive step in creating leaner, efficient and productive business processes. But how do we ensure that the employees understand, appreciate and even welcome this change? Communication is the key. And here are the 3 Cs that drive this Change Communication: Clarity, Credibility and Continuity.

 

Clarity- Clarity of thought and action is core to any communication concerning a change in organization. A very well thought and clearly defined vision supported by a thorough plan of action, communicated in unambiguous terms, is a must. Employees need to know - What is happening? Why the change and why now? What do we gain and what is at stake? These need to be as clearly established as possible. Avoid jargon, keep the messages simple, bite sized and relatable. What is a must is to explain the cost of not seizing the opportunity now, and what is it that they, the employees stand to gain (in terms of up-skill/ career opportunities etc). The clarity will help dispel any unnecessary fears and help to build an atmosphere of anticipation and even excitement.

Credibility - There cannot be space for any doubt when communicating change, more so while dealing with the robotic process automation. Information must come from credible sources. Remember, grapevine has a nature of spreading far and wide in the vacuum left behind by poor communication. Do not let the rumor machine take over. Preempt the possible information needs and have a ready reckoner of sorts for most of the queries. Leadership buy-in and demonstrated action is core to drive faith. Employees need one version of truth and it must come from the respective authority.

Continuity - Communication by nature is a continuous process, it cannot be a quick fix. Be prepared with a continuous information and engagement plan, validate it at every stage and keep it responsive to the organization's need. The changes that RPA brings along are far reaching and its positive impact must be reinforced at every opportunity. Information needs to be followed through and updated at every stage. Engaging the stakeholders - directly impacted teams, indirectly impacted employees and the respective leadership need not only to be continuously fed with the right information but kept involved and invested. There is no overdoing when it comes to communication, but one needs to pick the messages and channels wisely, and more importantly do the right mapping.

It may be a cliché but change is the only constant. We have the option of embracing it or letting it run us over. A little preparation and a lot of planned communication is sure to give change a positive hue.

 


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