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From Exhaustion to Empowerment: Managing the Human Energy Crisis with Automation

From Exhaustion to Empowerment: Managing the Human Energy Crisis with Automation

30 Aug, 2023

The term ‘burnout’ emerged in the mid-1970s. Employee burnout is a state of chronic physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged exposure to work-related stressors. It typically occurs when individuals feel overwhelmed, drained, or depleted, often resulting from excessive workloads, high-pressure environments, a lack of adequate support and resources, or digital overload. These factors, when left unaddressed, can eventually lead employees to quit. Intelligent Automation and its constituent technologies such as Process Intelligence, Low Code/No Code, Intelligent Document Processing, and Robotic Process Automation can help address burnout and manage the human energy crisis.

With burnout causing reduced productivity, errors, and lower job satisfaction, and impacting well-being, relationships, and health, it is imperative that companies leverage technology to help. In 2022, the burnout rate rose to 59%, up 13.5% from 2021, demanding urgent attention and intervention, leading some to suggest that we are experiencing a human energy crisis.

Factors Causing the Human Energy Crisis

A variety of research studies have identified four key factors impacting the work environment—Workload Management, Employee Vitality, Workplace Dynamics, and Digital Exposure. This blog aims to explore each one in detail.

To manage the impact of burnout in a team, managers can use techniques like walk-in meetings, encouraging paid time off, and promoting work/life balance. Employees should monitor their stress levels and discuss concerns with their managers. Incorporating breaks and movement help recharge and improve focus. However, technology can play a role too. Employee burnout can act as a catalyst to critically assess key business processes. Identifying processes that could be automated to help manage employee workload or streamline inefficient processes goes a long way in helping manage burnout.

Let’s explore how Automation can contribute to mitigating employee burnout!

Process Intelligence allows for:

  • Identifying Redundant Tasks: Analyze existing workflows to identify any bottlenecks and redundant tasks in employees’ workloads, ensuring that they are not unnecessarily overloaded.
  • Process Visibility and Tracking: Teams across functions leverage Process Intelligence to understand their internal processes and gain end-to-end visibility, leading to a better comprehension. Tracking tasks enables quick and proactive resolution of inefficiencies.

Case Example: Wawanesa Insurance leveraged Process Discovery tools to save over 15,000+ FTE hours and minimize the risk of data inaccuracy. This effort also revealed that Wawanesa identified up to 12 repetitive manual processes within the organization that could be eliminated.

Soon, Process Intelligence will be able to evaluate the impact on business metrics and generate recommendations to optimize customer journeys in a more strategic and human-like manner.

Low Code/No Code platforms are leveraged for:

  • Self-service Apps/Portals: Low Code/No Code platforms are ideal for developing self-service applications and portals that enable employees to independently access information, complete tasks, and interact with systems.
  • Self-learning Workflows: Adaptive workflows, driven by self-learning capabilities, facilitate the creation of flexible and responsive processes. These workflows learn from patterns and evolve over time by swiftly adjusting to shifting conditions and user inputs, resulting in heightened efficiency.

Case Example: United Motors Group transformed its manual purchase request handling by leveraging low-code/no-code automation, digitizing 90% of processes, and efficiently managing 150-200 weekly purchase requests, enhancing productivity, and minimizing errors.

Intelligent Automation platforms will increasingly automate processes such as code assistance and testing, reducing human intervention. Generative AI is now revolutionizing code writing by offering code generation, code reviewing, and code conversion from natural language descriptions.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) enables:

  • Data Entry and Process Approval: Designed to help with the automation of repetitive tasks such as data entry and form filing, RPA leverages bots to navigate interfaces, interact with applications, and execute tasks on behalf of employees. They are constructed using business rules and decision-making logic to help organizations uphold consistency, regulatory compliance, and improve overall process efficiency.
  • Task Scheduling: By scheduling bots to operate at designated intervals, resources can be utilized efficiently while ensuring the timely execution of tasks.

Case Example: First-Mid Illinois Bank & Trust deployed an RPA solution to reduce the time employees spent on overdraft approvals. Previously, 2 employees would spend 2 days every month approving the drafts. But now, they are approved in an automated fashion.

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) allows for:

  • Document Classification: Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) can categorize various types of documents by analyzing their content and structure. It can recognize and classify documents like invoices, contracts, receipts, and resumes, facilitating effective organization and retrieval of documents.
  • Data Extraction: IDP extracts key information from unstructured documents, identifying customer details, invoice numbers, and dates. By creating opportunities to reduce manual data entry, it enhances efficiency and accuracy.

Case Example: Fulton County Schools deployed IDP to eliminate paper-based applications and streamline their forms system. This implementation allowed them to gain better visibility and track the application status, resulting in the digital processing of over 200 applications within the first year.

What is the Future?

There is growing awareness about the detrimental effects of burnout on employees and organizations, which may lead to a greater emphasis on addressing the issue effectively and expeditiously. In many ways, technology is both the enabler and the antidote.

To proactively address the human energy crisis, organizations need to prioritize employee well-being by embracing Intelligent Automation. Organizations can create space for employees to focus on critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving, thereby enhancing job satisfaction.

In the face of the human energy crisis, how can enterprises strategically approach their investments in automation? What key elements are necessary for the prosperity of an automation initiative? Gain deeper insights by engaging with our consultants at
Related Consulting Services

  • Automation
  • Generative AI
  • Hyper Automation
  • Hyper Intelligent Automation
  • Hyperautomation
  • IDP
  • Intelligent Automation
  • Low Code/ No Code
  • Robotic Process Automation
Ben Tamblyn, VP & Chief Communications Officer, Nintex
Nischay Mittal, Partner & Global Head – Automation, Zinnov
Prankur Sharma, Principal, Zinnov
Ridhi Kalra Madan, Project Lead, Zinnov
Pooja Ghate, Senior Analyst, Zinnov
Aayra Angrish, Consultant, Zinnov

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