Employees should not be scared of competing with machines or facing redundancy as a consequence of technology
New research suggests Australia and New Zealand organisations are wasting up to $61 billion a year on unnecessary administrative tasks.
On average, an employee in Australia and New Zealand wastes three hours each week, with most of this time taken up by unnecessary administrative tasks, according to the report prepared by The Workforce Institute at Kronos and Coleman Parkes Research.
This equates to 6 per cent of an average working week or NZ$4,200 a year based on an average income.
With 14.3 million employees in Australia and New Zealand, this creates a potential $61 billion opportunity cost annually to ANZ organisations.
Reducing wasted time by one hour, per week, per employee would save $1,672 per employee, per year – or $23.7 billion per year, the report states.
“This is a wake-up call for organisations to make the changes necessary to unburden their workforce from outdated systems and unnecessary complexity,” says Peter Harte, managing director, Kronos Australia, New Zealand, and South East Asia.
“By clawing back the time invested in the duties that aren’t integral to an organisations’ development, and reinvesting this capital in employee training programs or business development, organisations can overcome the billion-dollar question with an engaged, motivated workforce,” says Harte.
“Think less about a ‘new role’, but the optimisation of existing roles,” states Harte. “Through the impact of workforce automation for example, employees are empowered to scale-back heavy or unrealistic workloads and concentrate on the tasks integral to their role.
“In doing so, a workforce is capable of fostering richer customer experiences and driving deeper levels of workplace productivity – which could otherwise be wasted on non-essential tasks.”
Read more: Robots play the field
“Employees should not be scared of competing with machines or facing redundancy as a consequence of technology,” he adds.
“Workforce automation should be regarded as tool which to remove complexity and ensure accuracy, enabling a workforce to drive an organisations’ bottom-line to deliver profitability and growth.”
“We should view these innovative technologies as an addition to organisation’s arsenal of skills, encouraging employees to ‘go the extra mile’ and eliminate time-consuming tasks such as paper-based reports and timesheets.”
According to Harte, respondents from across the region regarded less admin and paperwork as the main areas they wished to see automated.
“Also ranking high were the procedures surrounding employee absence and cover, and the simplification of complex, internal processes and reporting.”
He says workforce management technology is making inroads across all sectors, from healthcare, to retail and beyond.
“Think about how nurses and other healthcare professionals are enabled to spend more time investing in patient care, rather than completing paperwork as a consequence of health centres embracing workforce management solutions.Read more: Thinkubator: Inside an innovation centre
“In the retail space, automating manual processes like employee timesheets and stock-orders allows a workforce to optimise their engagement with consumers, improving their experience and ensuring repeat business.
The majority – 72 per cent - of respondents identified outdated systems and technology as their biggest workforce management challenge.
72 per cent of respondents identified outdated systems and technology as their biggest workforce management challenge
Six in 10 respondents actively want more up to date technology to help them feel more engaged.
This is technology that reflects the needs and behaviours of the internet generation and the rise of the flexible workforce, according to Kronos.
The onus on business leaders is to make the right technology choices that make employees and managers’ working lives easier – saving money and time that can be reinvested in better systems and continual innovation.Read more: Xero taps artificial intelligence for SMBs across the globe
Action is urgently needed but businesses must also work with staff, managers and HR to understand the needs and behaviours of the workforce, especially given the influx of tech-savvy millennials and the growing demand for greater mobility and more flexible working conditions, the report concludes.
Kronos says the research was conducted in January and February this year by Coleman Parkes Research. It was based on online interviews of line of business/operations managers, HR professionals, and employees among 500 ANZ organisations with more than 600 employees. The sectors covered were manufacturing, retail, healthcare, public sector and services including transport and logistics.
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Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.