APAC Companies Work Hard to Sell RPA to Employees

Employees eye robotic process automation (RPA) with suspicion. They understand the productivity benefits, but many see their jobs being endangered.

But APAC employers, who are hard-pressed for talent, see RPA as a necessary tool for competition. They are also working hard to allay employees’ fears.

The conclusions from this report are based on a global study conducted by Protiviti, along with ESI ThoughtLab. The study, titled “Taking RPA to the Next Level,” found RPA is already a common technology in many APAC companies across multiple industries.

Of those surveyed, 95% use or are experimenting with RPA. Of those who have already adopted it, 61% expect to increase implementation in the next two years.

APAC companies are cognizant of employee concerns and their impact on RPA adoption. Of companies surveyed, 37% ranked 'making sure your staff is on board, and RPA responsibilities are defined’ as the most important lesson learned while implementing RPA, compared to 23% in the U.S. and 26% in Europe.

“When used correctly, RPA can deliver impressive results. However, reaping the full benefits of it requires a properly staged roadmap with critical steps to build momentum, create and deploy pilots, and monitor the effectiveness of bots. Along the way, companies should heed potential stumbling blocks and be prepared to surmount them. Executives also need to keep employees’ feelings and needs in view. Their support will be integral to deploying RPA effectively,” said Adam Johnston, managing director, Protiviti Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the 72% who stated their preparedness to manage employee fears of job displacement, was the most of any region.

“Employees fear the impact of RPA on their jobs and to allay those concerns, RPA leaders need to be open and transparent about their plans and actively retrain or repost employees whose jobs will be disrupted. To assuage employee fears, organizations are taking key steps by being transparent about their plans for RPA use, working closely with employees to understand and alleviate their concerns, and accentuating the positive relating to time saved on mundane, repetitive work," said Johnston.

“Many companies are already in front of the issue and aggressively managing the options. More than half of organizations are redeploying staff and providing training for new responsibilities as part of their RPA plans,” he added.