Dana McInnis
February 09, 2018

Process Automation & Misconceptions About How Employees Really Become Indispensable

Screenshot 2017-12-12 16.59.25.png

Is Process Automation going to take your job?

One of the best lines in any movie ever (which just happens to be from “Office Space”) is, “We don’t have a lot of time on this earth. We weren’t meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements.” It’s true: human beings are capable of so much more than manually managing mundane tasks.

Yet, in real life, I often hear from clients that if the manual processes they perform everyday were to be automated, even just a little, there may not be a need for their job. When you ask most employees, they may tell you that automating manual processes will take away their ability to truly control the process and maybe even make them less valuable as employees. Sometimes, there can be a sense of primal fear that surrounds moving any manual process to an automated way of doing things. When I hear this, I see opportunity on many levels.

First, the idea that employees are primarily valuable because they execute manual processes is a skewed perception. Employees are not valued because they can run a manual process. They are valued because of a commitment to excellence, their desire to help their teams and because they care about the company for which they work.

RPA & Artificial Intelligence: Are Intelligent Robots taking over Control of our Offices?

What is Robotic Process Automation?

Where can your value lie?

The employee performing manual tasks could be doing other things in the company to make things better enterprise-wide. Rather than execute the same manual process every day, they could be resolving the exceptions/errors that may occur in the automated process. They could learn a new skill and become the workplace “hero” in a different way, such as the administrator of a system that provides the automation.

Further, the concept of having control over a process only if you execute it yourself raises all kinds of red flags. There is something to be said for knowing how a process works. The idea that you lose control when a process is automated, however, is just not true. You can build all of the controls that you need into the automated process and perform spot-inspections whenever needed. Micro-managing a manual process is not what makes the employee valuable: again, it’s their dedication to the job that’s valued.

It’s a different way of thinking to want to remove the manual tasks from one’s job. Some people will never see the opportunity because they are too afraid of what the change could mean for them. Others who feel like hamsters on a wheel—performing the same mundane and manual tasks everyday—are desperate for help. They know there is a better way, they just don’t know where to begin. The first step to achieving an efficient and dynamic office environment and, ultimately, a better work culture is acknowledging the “insanity” and working with a partner to start examining how to work in a better way.

The right combination of process and technology can be a game changer to a company’s bottom line, and one’s career.


Looking for further reading? Check out this Process Automation White Paper:

The Value Switch for Digitalization and RPA - BPM report

About the Author

Dana McInnis is Principal at Trilix. Dana lives by Emily Dickinson's words, “I dwell in Possibility.” She is energized by the opportunities that exist in eliminating mediocre processes and helping business teams think differently. Dana has more than 20 years of experience as a business and systems analyst, technical writer and trainer, having worked in the application development space within the government, healthcare and financial sectors. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) and Six Sigma Greenbelt.

Dana is an artist at heart. She received an MFA in Creative Writing and as her final thesis authored a biography of America's most celebrated lighthouse keeper, Ida Lewis, who lived in Newport, Rhode Island.

Download the most comprehensive OpEx Resport in the Industry

The Largest Leadership-Level Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Event

The Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards

Welcome to BTOES Insights, the content portal for Business Transformation & Operational Excellence opinions, reports & news.



Full-length speaking sessions from the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit, accompanied by featured articles from the Speakers themselves.



Submit an Article

Become a Regular Contributor

AWARD 2019-1
Copy of Copy of btoes19
Subscribe to Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Insights Now
Copy of Copy of btoes19 (1)

Featured Content

  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Technology & Communications: IBM
  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities: Black & Veatch
  • Best Achievement in Cultural Transformation to deliver a high performing Operational Excellence culture: NextEra Energy
Operational Excellence Frameworks and Learning Resources, Customer Experience, Digital Transformation and more introductions
  • Intelligent BPM Systems: Impact & Opportunity
  • Surviving_the_IT_Talent_deficit.png
  • Six Sigma's Best Kept Secret: Motorola & The Malcolm Baldrige Awards
  • The Value-Switch for Digitalization Initiatives: Business Process Management
  • Process of Process Management: Strategy Execution in a Digital World

Popular Tags

Operational Excellence Business Transformation Business Improvement Process Management Business Excellence Continuous Improvement Process Optimization process excellence Leadership Process Improvement Premium Execution Excellence Change Management Enterprise Excellence Lean Enterprise Lean Lean Six Sigma Organizational Excellence BTOES18 Capability Excellence Culture Transformation Healthcare and Medical Devices Changing & Improving Company Culture Digital Transformation New Technologies Execution & Sustaining OpEx Projects end-to-end Business Transformation Agile Lack of/Need for Resources Adapting to Business Trends Changing Customer Demands Failure to Innovate Integrating CI Methodologies Lack of/Need for Skilled Workers Lack of/Need for Support from Employees Leadership Understanding & Buy-In Maintaining key Priorities Relationships Between Departments Culture BTOES HEALTH BTOES Video Presentations Customer Experience Exclusive Technology Process Automation Innovation Strategy Execution Manufacturing BPM Lean Manufacturing Report Agility Systems Engineering Process Design Awards BTOES Presentation Slides thought leaders Data Analytics Healthcare Insurance Robotic Process Automation Professional Services Banking and Capital Markets White Paper BTOES19 Consumer Products & Retail Customer Experience Excellence Operational Excellence Model Project Management value creation data management innovation execution Artificial Intelligence Automotive and Transportation digital operations Interview Operational Excellence Example Digital business expansion revenue growth Data Frameworks Learning organization Primary Measure of succes Workplace Analytics transformation journey BTOES17 Business Growth Communication Human Centered Design Kaizen Lean Culture NPS Net Promoter Score Oil and Gas Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Six Sigma Telecommunications Text Mining business process automation investment banking text analytics Announcement BTOES18 Award Winners BTOES18 Awards Client Feedback Strategy Communications Denial Management Education HealthcareTechnologies Hoshin Planning Hospitality & Construction Infographic Innovation in Healthcare Integrated Decision Approach Integrated Decision Making Jidoka Learning Resource Oil & Gas Recruitment Supply Chain Management Team The FAST lane eHealth master virtual resource management