In 2021, after more than a year of the COVID pandemic, academics and economists began to discuss a business challenge faced by managers across all industries: an increasing difficulty to retain skilled talent. Deemed, “The Great Resignation”, nothing has seemed to work, not even pure increases in compensation. The costs facing managers is daunting, especially in a time of rising costs, uncertain geo-political influx and supply chain constraints. High turnover and an inability to retain top talent not only leads to high training costs, and lost productivity, but risks the degradation of a company’s culture entirely. According to a McKinsey 2021 study, 53% of employers describe talent retention as one of their most pressing problems, and 64% expect the problem to persist throughout 2022. What then is a manager to do? If increasing compensation alone will not retain talent (and is a very costly solution at that), how can an effective manager face this challenge?
The Answer: Empower your skilled workers with automation and the ability to focus on higher level, meaningful work. Kognitos’s automation platform learns business logic from the business user and automates them without the need for a developer or a steep learning curve of a tool. Users can automate even exception laden tasks so they can focus on relational and meaningful work.
Another McKinsey 2021 study shows compensation alone will not retain employees. While having compensation rates commensurate with industry bands is important, many employees highlight other reasons for leaving their current employers including autonomy, and the desire to engage in more relational work. This is especially true of millennials and GenZ, who combined will soon represent over half of the workforce. However, many business processes are not designed to provide skilled employees with this desired work style. Instead, top talent is bogged down in manual processes, and even when attempts at automation occur, is forced to wait weeks or months for results due to backlogged automation teams. Frustrated, they look elsewhere for more meaningful work, costing companies a tremendous amount in recruiting, training and cultural costs. But if automation thrives at reducing manual work (and thus eliminating the problems described above), and if many companies today have some form of process automation, why hasn’t it given employees the autonomy and freedom to engage in the more relational work they so desire?
Traditionally, Automation has been focused on manual, repetitive, rules-based tasks. Naturally, this led to the automation of many back-office tasks previously either outsourced or handled by relatively unskilled labor. But automation has failed at large to take root with more skilled employees, the same employees that managers are struggling so mightily to retain. There are a few reasons for this. The first, is that the day-to-day work handled by a high skill employee often requires lots of exceptions. Processes have variance, and it is for this reason employers pay these employees to problem solve and handle these variations. In fact, this highlights one of the other risks with employees leaving, if an employee who handles a great deal of exceptions leaves, the knowledge of how to best navigate such exceptions departs with them, a significant loss for a company. The number of exceptions present in processes, even processes that are routine and manual, discourages the use of traditional automation, as the cost and maintenance of these processes outstrips their value. Furthermore, employees become frustrated when exceptions need to be built into the automation, as it can often take weeks for a dedicated automation team to build corrections into the workflow. This does not provide the type of autonomy employees desire, but instead leaves them dependent on backlogged development teams and losing faith in automation to benefit their day-to-day work.
In contrast to traditional automation, Kognitos’s platform provides the solution managers need and provides employees with the work experience they desire. Using patented NLP, Kognitos enables employees to problem solve exceptions in conjunction with automation, and through English instruct the automation software as to how to handle exceptions. The platform then learns from this experience and can automate these processes and exceptions in the future. With Kognitos, employees are given the autonomy they desire, no longer have to do much of the work they loathe, and have more time to focus on higher value, more relational work. In turn, greater retention and a happier workforce helps to turn the challenge of the Great Resignation into a truly strategic opportunity for managers.