HR Tech Number of the Day: employee views on automation

A new report finds that employees feel they're wasting work time on non-automated tasks.
By: | June 23, 2021

4 hours, 59 minutes: Amount of time American employees say they waste each week on tasks that could be automated

The role of automation in making HR more productive is well-documented, and new research shows that employees also see value in automation—and are clamoring for more efficient work tech.

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A survey of 2,000 office workers by robotic process automation software company UiPath found that respondents reported wasting 4 hours, 59 minutes every week on activities they say could be automated. And they’re eager for a change: About 70% said they wish they had more time to devote to high-value tasks; nearly the same percentage said their jobs feel monotonous because they’re manually doing tasks over and over again that could instead be automated.

What it means to HR leaders

Many of the respondents cited automation as a key to improving workplace productivity. About one-third said that their employers invested in automation software for the first time this past year and, of those, 94% said the move improved their job performance.

Employees identified a number of areas they think could be best served by automation, with email—such as automated reminders and responses—topping the list, followed by meeting scheduling, the creation of datasets, and interacting with managers, team members and customers.

Tom Clancy, senior vice president of learning at UiPath, says automation can solve for two business challenges: employee engagement and efficiency.

“Automation enables people to be more productive, while also freeing them up to focus on the work they feel truly adds value to their organization,” he says. “They want to work on items requiring creativity, collaboration and strategic thinking. We’ve found that job performance—and employee experience—improves dramatically when employees are able to leverage automation.”

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Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.

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