The Real Value of Automation Isn’t Just Efficiency

The Real Value of Automation Isn’t Just Efficiency

As a leader of a sales, business development, or other operations team, you’ve no doubt read article after article advising team leaders on how to achieve the holy grail of business management: employee engagement. Many a LinkedIn influencer offers the so-called secret to cultivating and growing more engaged employees. But the real secret to employee engagement is not shrouded in the mystery of vague pearls of wisdom posted to social media with emojis. The truth is that a whole body of researc

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Mateo Bilbao

scalestack

The Real Value of Automation Isn’t Just Efficiency

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Sales & Marketing head at Scalestack

As a leader of a sales, business development, or other operations team, you’ve no doubt read article after article advising team leaders on how to achieve the holy grail of business management: employee engagement.

Many a LinkedIn influencer offers the so-called secret to cultivating and growing more engaged employees. But the real secret to employee engagement is not shrouded in the mystery of vague pearls of wisdom posted to social media with emojis. The truth is that a whole body of research supports the fact that automating busy work relieves your team to focus on the work that actually fulfills and motivates them.

Why is employee engagement important?

Every business leader intuitively wants their employees to be happy at work, but of course, the matter of employee engagement has a definite impact on the bottom line, too. Dissatisfied employees are more likely to move on to another opportunity. Employee churn is expensive: according to one study by EBN, it costs 33% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them, which could be tens of thousands of dollars per employee who leaves.

Poor employee engagement doesn’t just cost money due to retention issues - it’s also associated with poor company performance across a host of crucial metrics. One study by Gallup compared businesses with poorly rated employee engagement to those with highly rated employee engagement. Those companies in the top quartile of engagement realized:

85% of employees are not engaged -  or are actively disengaged - at work

Organizations at the top also achieved earnings per share growth more than four times that of their competitors.

This has serious economic ramifications when considered in total: according to the same Gallup poll, 85% of employees are not engaged -  or are actively disengaged - at work. That translates to approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity.

The metrics are clear - it’s time to prioritize employee engagement.

What does employee engagement mean?

Much of the research around employee motivation focuses on the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. When employees are intrinsically motivated, they act or behave in a specific way because of their own internal motivations. In other words, they want to do what they’re doing. When employees are extrinsically motivated, they are seeking reward and/or avoiding punishment, like the proverbial “carrot & stick” model.

Another McKinsey article, however, points out the shortcomings of this simple dichotomy and instead looks to new research on self-determination theory, which specifies further that in order for employees to be engaged and motivated, they must have autonomy, competence and connectedness.

Now that you understand what employee engagement is and the importance of it to your organization, let’s move on to how you may actually achieve it: automation.

How does automation help with employee engagement?

Remembering their first job or internship, many white collar workers may not-so-fondly recall being made to perform rote tasks day in and day out, entering data into spreadsheets. There’s a reason entry level employees are eager to move up or move out to better opportunities: it’s not fun to be a pencil pusher.

Unfortunately, even as we move up in our careers, the tedium of routine tasks may not go away. Or, even if mundane tasks aren’t a part of your own job description, your team may remain reliant on someone doing those tasks. Regardless of who the duties fall to, they threaten to hold back the entire team - or even the whole company - from fulfilling revenue potentials.

As we understand from principles of self-determination theory, finding ways to encourage autonomy, competence and connectedness is key to improving employee engagement. So when we hear metrics like this one from HR thought leader Smartsheet:

78% of employees say that automating manual, repetitive tasks would allow them to focus on the more interesting and rewarding aspects of their jobs

We can hear what employees are asking for, loud and clear: Remove the tasks that any automaton could do, and give us more meaningful, impactful work.

Workplace automation is especially valuable for sales teams

While just about every team across your organization could benefit from the automation of routine tasks, sales teams (and those adjacent teams such as marketing and business development) stand to gain the most from workplace automation.

One study found that sales teams spend only than a third of their time on actual sales activities, and only 20% on directly consumer-related tasks. That’s shocking: the reality is that sales professionals don’t even spend the majority of their time on sales. These numbers don’t just convey the inefficiency of standard sales practices - they show just how much time employees on sales teams may have to spend on tasks they simply don’t enjoy or even dread doing. No leader wants that fate for their employees.

Automation has the power to change the entire way we work

The past decade or two has been exciting to witness the evolution of workplace automation. When companies began using tools like a CRM, that was a game changer. To this day, many companies are only taking advantage of a small fraction of the automation opportunities available in their CRM alone.

The payoff is clear, though. According to research from Leadsquared, businesses that successfully implemented marketing automation processes for prospecting emails saw a 451% increase in qualified leads. They also found that companies that automate lead management were able to achieve a 10% increase in revenue.

These numbers only point to the most basic practices of marketing automation that can be achieved with a standard CRM. Now, imagine the possibilities of tackling the old, outdated, manual processes across your organization and replacing them with automated workflows. What could you achieve for your revenue targets, your shareholders, and for your employees if you were able to free them from the dull and dreary tasks of the typical workplace?

It’s time to build the workplace of the future. Stop settling for the solutions of the past - because your employees won’t. Make your organization the company leading this wave of innovation. Find the automation solutions that make your workplace the most desirable place to work. Your employees (and shareholders) will thank you.