Building a Resilient Workforce through Intelligent Automation

In an article for the Journal of Government Financial Management, Guidehouse explains how behavioral economics can prepare the workforce of the future

Intelligent automation (IA) is the use of software tools, such as robotic process automation (RPA), to perform repetitive tasks that humans previously did. While IA allows companies to redirect their human resources to deliver on missions better than before, it also creates a wide range of impacts that reach the individuals who had been completing those tasks.

In an article for AGA's Journal of Government Financial Management, Guidehouse’s James Hickman, director, and the US Department of the Treasury’s Joseph Swisher, said applying behavioral economics can help workers adapt to a changing workforce and prepare them for wider automation. 

According to the article, behavioral economics bring together insights from the study of psychology, neuroscience, and culture to explain human behaviour and the economic decision-making of individuals and organizations.

When used to help employees transition to IA implementation and adapt to inevitable changes to their work and tools, Hickman and Swisher recommend the following strategies based on this science: 

  • Understand workforce dynamics
  • Appeal to human desire for cognitive ease
  • Create a default path
  • Frame the outcomes
  • Enhance the reference point
  • Pick a champion and identify influencers
  • Measure outcomes

“While there will always be a need for thoughtful analysis and actions that require human finesse, many jobs we once considered central to employees’ roles and responsibilities will change fundamentally,” Hickman and Swisher wrote. “The effect will be felt by a large number of people as well as overall organizations when these technologies are deployed at scale.” 

 
Read the AGA Journal Article
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