In any change programme, you need to clearly communicate a vision of what you want to achieve and the rationale behind this – the case for change.
People may find change uncomfortable, but they will accept it (or at least be more willing to accept it) if they if they can see the logic behind it. This can be greatly enhanced if you can point out how their own lives may directly improve as a result. Automation brings lots of benefits that individuals may not necessarily expect, such as improved job satisfaction. Once the load of manual, repetitive tasks is lifted, individuals can focus on other improvements they have probably been wanting to make for a long time. Where change may not bring direct improvements to individuals, clearly explaining why the change is necessary, what the future will look like after the change has been made, and what support will be available to those employees impacted by the change is key.
Successful change needs visible leaders who are out there amongst their teams, leading from the front. Leaders need to make sure they are being absolutely consistent in the way they deliver the messages – if they’re not, differences will be unpicked which will create uncertainty and feed the rumour mill.
Face to face communication is essential to build relationships, to build trust, to inspire, to show empathy and above all to demonstrate genuine leadership. As discussed earlier, concerns about job losses due to automation have so far been mostly exaggerated. This may change however as businesses scale up their capabilities. Either way, it is in the interests of any business to take this seriously. They risk losing talent if concerns are not addressed and a clear path isn’t communicated. Organisations should couple automation roll out with a talent plan that looks to utilise skills in new ways within the organisation.