The early 2020s have seen a rise in knowledge workers and office employees expressing dissatisfaction with their work and employers. Vocally, this discontent has played out through the “Great
Resignation,” where we’ve seen employees quit en masse, proactively looking for new jobs or staying for shorter tenures. Non-vocally, these feelings of unrest have led to “Quiet Quitting,” with many doing the bare minimum needed to “keep” a job.
The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting are just two examples of employees demanding more fulfilling work experiences. For companies, no good can come from ignoring these movements. If left unaddressed, we’ll continue experiencing a disengaged workforce
that achieves less for end consumers and negatively impacts profitability. But how can we improve working environments so employees don’t feel compelled to actively disengage?
Let’s start by looking at the reasons employees disengage. Often, employee frustrations fall into one of three areas: (1) The Job To Be Done; (2) The Reward Given; and (3) The Work Environment.
The Job To Be Done
While it may feel easy for a short period, mundane work eventually becomes mind-numbing. Tedious, repetitive work will never satiate employees’ desires for development, creativity, recognition or growth—all requirements in the upper levels of
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If you provide someone a role in society that only fulfills their basic needs, you should expect a basic level of effort in return.
Today, back-office work can often be done by software, specifically by artificial intelligence (AI). Implementing AI allows organizations to elevate employees to higher impact roles, improving motivation and allowing time to focus on rewarding tasks. Technology
can also help employees manage overflowing workloads. Employees shouldn’t be put in situations where they leave work each day knowing they’ll return to an insurmountable workload.
Organizations must move beyond the approach offered by legacy automation solutions and reinvest in tools such as Intelligent Document Processing (IDP). Embracing digital acceleration and offering employees a better tech stack eliminates mundane work and
better supports employees, especially when a human-centered approach to technology adoption is achieved. It’s critical to welcome technology, such as IDP, to bolster employees during unexpected increases in workload and eliminate inefficient processes that
monopolize employees’ time.
The Reward Given
A more efficient organization supports happier customers and, ultimately, greater profits. Today’s leaders should find a path forward that results in a win-win-win for the employees, shareholders and end customers. Employees must be trained to tackle high-value
tasks. These trainings can serve as a reward, teaching new skills, advancing careers and eventually moving employees into a higher compensation bracket.
The Work Environment
If a company wants to get the most from its employees, it needs to create a culture that rewards and supports those who go above and beyond or risk employees continuing to do more than the bare minimum.
Increasingly, employees are striving to untangle their identities from their professional careers, and reports of employees disengaging and feeling “emotionally
detached” are growing. Employers must make way for digital acceleration to curb this trend and engage teams effectively. It’s no longer possible to ignore the strain legacy processes and technology place on organizational outcomes and employees’ well-being
at work. Now is a perfect time to embrace human-centered automation and capitalize on technology like IDP that reduces monotonous tasks and increases fulfillment at work.
Three Ways to Support Employees Through Digital Acceleration
Many leaders are unaware that they are in a position to rewrite the quiet quitting narrative. By leaning into the strengths of technology, we can better support individuals’ workloads and reduce stress, improving the employee and customer experience simultaneously.
- Eliminate Busy Work: Capable of reading even the most imperfect documents, automation can reduce the time spent on paper-heavy tasks. The extra layer of flexibility and support helps employees get through mountains of paperwork, navigate
their workloads and excel at their jobs.
- Provide Opportunities to Focus on More Meaningful Work: By decreasing the time employees spend on repetitive tasks such as manual data entry, organizations can provide more freedom to focus on meaningful work that invites creativity and
human connection. This could be realized through more time spent on meaningful work like customer-facing interactions.
- Increase Accuracy and Speed: Manual processes are error-prone activities that can drastically slow operations and increase employee workloads. Welcoming digital acceleration and placing certain tasks in the hands of machines and humans
are two of the most effective ways to ensure employees aren’t pushed beyond their work limits and customers are served quickly and accurately.
Though many leaders have been alarmed by quiet quitting, we cannot ignore the call for a more sustainable work-life balance.
Championing digital acceleration and utilizing automation to eradicate operational silos will counter the worst effects of quiet quitting so employees don’t feel compelled to actively disengage from work. Increasingly, IDP and other advanced, modern-day
automation will be celebrated for their ability to decrease busy work, enhance employees’ skills and empower workers to focus on more purposeful tasks. Leaders must improve today’s work environments and utilize the talents that differentiate us from machines:
the ability to create human connections and our natural creativity. By complementing human abilities with digital acceleration and technological advancements, the workplace of tomorrow will be one where employees remain engaged and technology provides relief
from the mundane.
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