Why staff engagement is key to successful robotics implementation

The concept of robots in the workplace was once more akin to science fiction than reality, but these days automated processes are increasingly becoming ‘business as usual’ for organisations seeking greater operational efficiencies.

At CoreLogic, our foray into robotics was a natural progression from our earlier efforts to realise business efficiencies, which began with offshoring many of our back end processes, such as data entry and data verification, a decade ago. Building on this success, we were keen to explore the use of BOTs – automated programs that execute pre-programmed commands – as a means to keep working smarter.

One of our first BOTs, designed to speed up the data verification process, reduced a two-hour process to six minutes. While that’s an incredible result, it’s only a small part of our journey – because there’s a lot more to a successful robotics implementation than programming a BOT to execute commands. The greater challenge is engaging your people so they clearly understand the benefits of automation and the role it plays in delivering customer excellence. At CoreLogic, we discovered three key insights that we have learnt along the way, which may help you to address this challenge head on:

Engage early

Imagining robots working away behind the scenes can be a daunting prospect for many, so take the time to set the scene. At CoreLogic, we have a huge focus on customer centricity and service excellence, and our people thrive in that culture. So, the idea of using BOTs to improve the customer experience, by getting rid of repetitive processes and allowing us to devote time to doing things that really matter, resonated deeply with our staff.

Bring people on the journey with you, so they can become involved. Operationally, we started having internal conversations around robotics a year before we launched our first BOT, and that allowed us to both dispel fears around human redundancy and educate people on the positives.

We also found that developing a BOT creates a lot of excitement, and generates interest in parts of the business that aren’t directly impacted. While a manual process may have quietly existed for years, the prospect of a BOT shines a whole new light on it. People had worthwhile advice to share with us and if we hadn’t learnt via our initial BOT deployments to broadened our engagement we would have missed out. It’s far better to get people’s input early on rather than leave it until the 11th hour when you’re just about to deploy to production!

Bring it to life

Understanding how BOTs work can be challenging if you’re not technologically savvy, so explore ways to make automated processes tangible for staff. When we launched our first BOT we created a video to show it in action; this really helped to bring it to life so people could understand exactly what it means in the context of our business.

Reach out to your service provider and ask them to share their insights. Our provider, UI Path, had a wealth of experience and so our account management team was able to advise us on conveying the importance of robotics effectively. They also put us in touch with other organisations deploying BOTs, creating a useful ecosystem for us to draw upon.

Build on your foundations

While you’re investing in robotics, there has to be a unrelenting focus to maintain the accuracy of your data, products and services, and effectively service your customers. So start small, and then build momentum once you’ve established the foundations. Adopting this stacked approach gave us time to re-train staff where necessary, and then deploy them onto other tasks that added greater value for our customers.

Implementing robotics can deliver several time and cost efficiencies, and significantly improve the customer experience, but requires a well thought out engagement plan to be effective. Ultimately, the earlier you engage with the business, and the more people you take on the robotics journey, the better the outcome will be.