Why are OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) critical for RPA implementation?
RPA implementation starts with evaluating the benefits of automation of processes and sub-processes and removing tedious and repetitive tasks from daily activities with a direct positive effect on employees’ wellbeing and the opportunity ( if pursued) to utilise employees in more strategic tasks. (This mantra is used everywhere to justify the RPA introduction partially).
In terms of employee engagement in actively participating in the RPA phases:
- Analysis of processes and identification of those that can be automated, mapping the workflows to improve processes in terms of accuracy, compliance, and efficiency in reducing errors and processing time.
- Citizens’ developers: people who develop under technical and training support the chatbots in their activities.
- Testing using an iterative approach (Agile), creating pilots
- Scale up to other less relevant sub-processes.
My view has been transferred to my clients to use a bottom-up approach: the autonomy of people to decide on the best approach under (my) supervision and business processes coaching.
From a change management point of view, this means that once leaders decide what the goals are (strategy), people.
1. Become independent
2. They have partial decision-making autonomy.
3. They can guarantee consistency and accuracy of the analysis-simple coding-test-go live process.
However, there are still possible discrepancies between the expected results after the implementation (Leaders) and the actual results, bringing leaders and employees into two diverse areas of potential “conflict.”
What are the missing elements that can create this gap?
In the standard or classic approach when working with RPA, the expected key results are linked ONLY with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators )related to the automation process. And the control is made between the expected benefits from the Business case and the actuals.
This is not a methodological problem at all. But basing an implementation ONLY on KPIs means that we are missing the link between employees’ engagement and personal purpose with the company’s purposes= values ( thus organisational culture), potentially bringing back those issues connected with a couple of causes of the “great resignation” or if you like it more “ great rebellion,” especially with the new generations: company’s values vs. people’s personal values. (Check here BBC.). Considering the other aspects of values and engagement, how employees feel valued is worth it.
Let’s pack all together to move on with RPA and tools to connect the potential gaps above and improve engagement linked to the company’s and employees’ results.
First point: company values vs. people
Second point: Personal involvement in a change process following point 1
Third point: Connect purposes and values with results (company and employees)
The third is the link between the first and the second points with the companies’ financial goals.
In the past, until the beginning of the COVID-19 period, performance management methods have been upgraded iteratively, following the processes of industrialization and technology development. KPIs (performance indicators), Mbo (management by objectives), BSC (balanced scorecard), and other performance management systems seem to have lost their original attraction in the last few years.
How can we link engagement, work activities, and RPA?
There is no breakthrough in bringing the OKRs – (Objectives and Key Results) to the table.
O (objective) reflects leadership and, direction and sharing.
KR (key result) is what the team may achieve in this direction.
The main idea behind OKR is to start by understanding the significance and purpose of your actions. Then, you can devise a strategy for measuring progress toward the goals.
OKRs create a balance by combining both qualitative and quantitative approaches. They use results as benchmarks and qualitative goals to monitor progress. The quantitative results are rooted in data with assessments; compared to other performance management tools, OKRs tie goals and outcomes, enabling enterprises to enhance their execution through goal visualization and result tracking.
Employees better understand the proposed goals, key results, and sub-tasks and define the work tasks they need to complete.
You can immediately see why OKRs have a strong match and validity when discussing RPA implementation. Or not?
The score is not the most important thing and only plays a direct guidance and review of the role. The key results are tuneable, and there are different levels of goals and key results from the company, team, and even individuals, all of which ensure that the company operates as planned.
It is recommended to think about a whole integrated system at the company’s level; however, when you start implementation of technological innovation, it is assumed that as for the business case initially created, in addition to the benefits expected, there are also overarching goals, from the developed business strategy.
Connecting the dots...
If we connect the bottom-up change approach, creating a hybrid approach, we have found the perfect alignment between Change-Innovation-benefits-goals-employees engagement. In addition, we start letting employees be more autonomous. Connecting this autonomy with other aspects of organisational agility should be evident…and a people-centric approach too…
If you feel or think that
1. You would like to activate the automation in your company.
2. You have doubts about resistance vs. engagement.
3. You are not fully sure how a piece of technology can be seamlessly connected with your business strategies.
Feel free to contact me with a DM or at email@example.com