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How Automation Can Help You Attract and Retain a Better Workforce

Eliminating tedious tasks has payback in employee satisfaction and engagement.

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High salaries, foosball tables, nap pods, free food: The rewards that companies assume will attract and retain talented and committed employees range from the traditional to the trendy. However, many of the most valuable workers are less motivated by money or perks than by factors such as  recognition, challenges, empowerment, and a sense of being part of something bigger than themselves.

Asking motivated employees to set aside time from their more engaging work to do necessary but repetitive tasks isn’t fun. But using automation to help reduce the tedious parts of their jobs  can eliminate frustration and help build a company culture that makes time for innovation --   and a company where employees want to stay.

A recent Smartsheet survey on automation in the workplace found that information workers are excited about automation’s  potential to reduce repetitive tasks and free them up for more  rewarding work. They recognize that automation may lead companies to cut certain roles — but two-thirds of those surveyed think their jobs will remain, and even improve, as a result. Far from coming across as a threat, introducing automation tools can demonstrate  that you value individual contributions, and that you want to create more time for workers to make meaningful contributions.

Automation also has the potential to improve your bottom line, freeing up money to invest in your work force. For example, automating your purchase approval processes can give an employee quick authorization to buy new equipment before the price changes. Using automated tools to collect weekly sales figures can help a manager make accurate decisions about whether to order more of a key product, or to cancel future orders and put remaining stock on clearance. Even small savings in a single process can add up to big financial impact across a division or a company. These savings can free up money to invest in competitive salaries and benefits for attracting new hires, or support continuing education programs that keep your current employees up-to-date and engaged.

You can start building automation into your business processes without allocating time and budget on costly solutions and complex implementations. In fact, your employees may already be using automation tools at the team level, whether they’re taking advantage of those capabilities in your current line-of-business software or supplementing them with work-management solutions such as Smartsheet.

Work with your employees to see what your highest-performing teams are doing and how you can build on their success. You can not only build a culture that recognizes and rewards individual initiative and problem-solving, but share the most effective practices across the organization to make the whole company more successful. And don’t forget to recognize the forward thinkers for their creative thinking, and empower others to be equally innovative.

Read more about automating your employees’ manual work processes with Smartsheet.

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