By RG Conlee

RG Conlee, chief innovation officer for Xerox Services

“Decision making, creative solutions, empathy for a disgruntled customer: These things cannot currently be automated, nor should they.” – RG Conlee, chief innovation officer 

Ironically, luck had nothing to do with Saint Patrick’s accomplishments in Ireland. History tells us that, instead, it was his unwavering drive and sheer determination that convinced others to see things his way. Basically, he had a vision and stuck to it, utilizing creative and innovative solutions to get the end result he desired for a cause to which he was loyally committed.

Drive, determination, creativity, innovative and loyalty. They sound like the required attributes of an exceptional employee, don’t they? The kind of people you want servicing your customers, exceeding expectations and being a living extension of your organization’s brand. Yet, those people are hard to find, much less keep when you place them in positions of repetitiveness. It’s too easy to lose the motivation to excel when mundane tasks are all that they are doing. This results in reduction in productivity and a loss of quality as mistakes are made more frequently.

So, is the solution RPA?

You may think that using robotic process automation equates to people replacement and that the job loss numbers will grow exponentially worldwide. This simply is not accurate. In fact, RPA is intended to reduce the amount of time an employee spends on the more tedious, repetitive tasks. This allows your staff to focus on the higher value work requiring emotional intelligence. Decision making, creative solutions, empathy for a disgruntled customer. These things cannot currently be automated, nor should they.

As noted in this article in the McKinsey Quarterly, it is misleading to believe that entire occupations will be able to be automated. Rather, automated solutions revolve around certain activities, taking the robot out of the human and truly redefining an employee’s role. Improved productivity to enable employees to utilize their assets where they are truly needed – focused on providing business value. That is the reality of robotic process automation. Not cutting jobs. Instead, RPA used effectively will augment human labor. Your organization will be able to seek out and hire those employees with the same drive, determination and creativity we see in St. Patrick. And that’s no blarney!

Note: This blog was founded upon the completion of the separation of Conduent from Xerox Corporation. Certain articles here were originally published when Conduent's business portfolio was part of Xerox. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at the time of publication, but may have changed. We appreciate your diligent readership. Should you come across any information that appears out of date, please e-mail Benjamin.rand@conduent.com