Whenever a business has to implement drastic changes to the company, these changes can be just supported by the upper echelons. There has to be real grassroots support for these new initiatives as well.
And this is true with the ongoing adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in an increasing number of businesses today. RPA is just like any new thing—it will have its detractors among the traditionalists, but it will have its champions as well.
RPA champions are invaluable in promoting and leading change within an organization. They understand the potential of RPA technology and can also empathize with their peers when helping to mentor and coach them through the transition process. In many cases, the presence of RPA champions can be the deciding factor in whether your automation efforts will succeed or fail.
By relying on RPA champions to promote innovation, organizations can more fluidly navigate toward new RPA processes for long-term success. Their expertise in the technology and their ability to effectively communicate new concepts to colleagues will be critical for expanding RPA adoption. The most successful organizations are able to use RPA champions as a resource, not just for implementation, but also for ongoing support and education.
How Do RPA Champions Help?
These champions spread the good news about RPA, dispelling the myths and misconceptions about it and offering facts instead. Often, they demonstrate the concrete benefits of RPA by example. They can be present in many different departments, and by working together, promote the needed change throughout the company. They may even help with teaching and mentoring other workers, and this is in addition to their day jobs.
The Key Characteristics of RPA Champions
How do you identify these crucial advocates for automation? These people can come from different departments, so they’re not just in your IT group. These can be not just in the upper echelons (the ones with “Chief” in their titles). They can be human resource workers, accountants, business analysts, and marketing professionals, along with managers and developers.
Here are some characteristics to look for:
- Enthusiasm. The best champions for RPA in your company are the ones who are genuinely passionate about its use. Often, they’re the ones suggesting the use of RPA, and then they’re the early adopters of the new technology. They’re firm believers in its potential, and they can go to great lengths in extolling its virtues.
- Confidence. The most useful RPA advocates aren’t shy at all. They’re very confident in approaching their colleagues (and even their managers) in talking about and promoting the use of these RPA tools.
- Knowledge. Your best RPA champions have to know what they’re talking about, if they will be effective in advocating the use of automation throughout the company. They have to use RPA themselves, so that others can take their cues from them. And they should have enough knowledge that if others have questions about RPA, they can provide the correct answers.
- Prepared. Your most successful RPA advocates aren’t just knowledgeable about automation. They also know the possible arguments against RPA, and they have prepared counterarguments for each of them.
It’s natural for people to resist change, because of so many unknowns. They’ll question why RPA is needed, and how these changes will affect their jobs. Your RPA can have answers to all these questions already prepared.
What’s more, they can react with proper empathy. They won’t just dismiss these concerns, but address them by focusing on how these changes can actually benefit these worried workers.
- Socially Aware. The best RPA champions have the best social skills, and they know about what people want. They can discover the interests of each person in the company they talk to, and then they can customize their advocacy strategies to fit those interests.
- Shrewdness. There’s a right time and the wrong time for everything, and the best RPA champions are very much aware of this. They can sense when to time their requests for automation tools, so that they boost the chances of success.
- Tenacious. Advocates of RPA (or of any kind of change, for that matter) are usually optimistic folks. They see a possible solution, instead of bemoaning the difficulties of a current problem. And your
They can, for example, focus on the error-free nature of automation for those people who hate careless mistakes. When they’re approaching people who bemoan their lack of time for non-work activities, they can talk about how automation can do things faster and more efficiently.
These RPA champions also know their fellow advocates. They’re aware of who can be easily persuaded, and those who may exhibit more resistance to these changes.
- Well-Respected. The most successful RPA champions are the ones whom people look up to. And these aren’t necessarily the ones in the higher ranks with the higher pay. These are the trendsetters and influencers that a group of people might follow. When you have a group of equals, and most of that group generally looks to a certain person for decisions (for both work and non-work, such as where to eat out after work), then that’s the person you might want to promote your RPA efforts.
- Well-Connected. These are the people who have friends in other departments, and not just know people within their own teams and limited cliques. Keep in mind that automation might run through many different departments, so your best RPA advocates are the ones who already have friends they can talk to in those other departments.
Supporting These RPA champions
Once you’ve identified these RPA champions, then you should do your best to support their efforts. You can provide them with RPA training, and tools for them to teach and train others. You can allow them more opportunities to collaborate their advocacy efforts with other RPA champions, or even have them made as part of your Center for Excellence to promote RPA in your business.
These RPA champions can be invaluable for your business, just like your automation tools. Treat them as such, and they might just make your automation efforts succeed.