If one were to believe most media reports, automation should have made employees sad as it threatens their job. But the reality seems contradictory. Automation is actually increasing the happiness quotient of employees. And rightfully so. After all, the basic tenet of automation is to reduce human effort and free up our time.
At Mindtree, happiness seems to be a natural by-product of automation. “People satisfaction in our organization is going up because bots are doing the repetitive work and our focus is more towards skills enhancement so that Mindtree minds can be multi-skilled and take up higher order responsibilities,” says Rajesh Kumar R, head of Automation, Mindtree.
A lot of the automation inside Mindtree is in the form of bots which is essentially software that acts autonomously, free from any interference, human or otherwise, to perform a significant task which will be otherwise be performed by a human. “These bots are generally deployed and scheduled to perform any IT or Business process. They can also be digitally triggered from other software systems,” Kumar explains.
Bots never replaced people at Mindtree. They only augmented them. “If we classify the work into routine and non-routine work, bots are deployed to take up the routine and repetitive work that can be formulated into a standard operating procedure. Human roles can't be said to have been shrunk, instead the automation and bot deployments have freed up our work for Mindtree minds to take up larger roles where human cognition is critical, such as architecture, creating solutions, designs, coding and of course designing the automations for the routine and repetitive tasks,” says Kumar.
Consequently, there has been no significant change in the hiring strategy at Mindtree. “It continues to attract the top talent who are excited to be working on cutting edge technology. With automation into the equation, it gives more opportunity to create more interesting work rather than the routine repetitive tasks, which in turn attracts talented engineers who are excited to do challenging and innovative work,” he adds.
In fact, automation can be one of the sure-fire ways to keep millennial employees happy. Millennials, who make up majority of Mindtree’s workforce, constantly want to work on new technologies and the last thing they would want to do is work on anything mundane and obsolete.
Automation also accommodates the millennial generation’s desire for flexibility. Although millennials are often stereotyped as job hoppers, a 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey found it otherwise. One of the key takeaways from the survey, which polled nearly 8,000 members from 30 different countries, is that millennials today seek “freelance flexibility with full‐time stability” from their employers.
Humans by nature are meant to be cognitive beings who prefer to do work that involves thinking and innovative rather than do repetitive tasks. Not surprisingly, automation and happiness are directly proportional. Well, at least in most cases!