As an HR leader, you may have heard some rumblings about Robotic Process Automation (RPA). It is a technology that has been evolving for some time, but only recently have companies begun to apply its vast potential to the Human Resources space.
To start, let us level the playing field in our understanding of RPA by following the Institute of Robotic Process Automation’s definition:
“Robotic process automation (RPA) is the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a ‘robot’ to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.”
The way the Institute of Robotic Process Automation pitches it, RPA removes the burden of menial tasks from employees, freeing them to concentrate on more valuable and rewarding work. Or as Ian Barkin, Co-founder & Head of Strategy for the consulting, implementation and managed services firm Symphony, said, “RPA takes that which doesn’t add value out of the hands of people and automates it.”
In real talk, RPA uses software robots to streamline repetitive, menial tasks that require manual input. The best part is that it can all be done without disruption to the systems you already have in place.
RPA in the Recruitment Space
Consider the most mind-numbing elements of talent acquisition. Sorting through resumes. Data entry. Analytics. Juggling multiple systems. Even sourcing and screening in some instances. RPA takes these burdens off employees' shoulders and puts them on robots, who never make mistakes or take breaks. Now, employees can focus on work that requires human judgement or creativity. This should be a win for the business and a win for the worker.
There is, of course, an elephant in the room.
Whenever work becomes automated, the threat of job obsolescence rears its head.
It is true that as technology makes us more efficient, it reduces the need for certain roles. This does not mean the robot “jobpocalypse” has finally arrived. But it does mean employees who were once stuck in the trenches can focus their attention on work that is more meaningful. Inevitably, some jobs will become redundant as certain functions are automated. That is simply the march of technology. Everyone in every industry must prepare for that possibility, and find ways to provide value in other areas.
Rest assured, human judgment is not easily replaced. it is what amkes recruiters and talent acquisition specialists so valuable. Consider instead the ways RPA will help humans become more human at work.