So what are the top workplace automation trends to look out for in 2022? We asked the experts to share their thoughts with us.
Automation has been top of the business agenda this year, and that looks set to continue in 2022. In response to the pandemic and subsequent shift to remote or hybrid working, organizations ramped up their efforts to adopt more automation as they realized it was critical to address these new challenges. This shift has changed the post-COVID hiring landscape; the World Economic Forum predicts that AI and automation will create 97 million new jobs by 2025. However, there will also be a change to people's existing roles, with automation increasingly being used to speed up repetitive time-consuming tasks.
Whether you're looking to save time, increase productivity and operational efficiency, or create a slicker experience for your prospects, customers and team, automation holds the key.
Our Scheduler allows our customers to create their own self-serve scheduling links, so we know the value of having the power to make things happen yourself. Our technology is designed to get rid of the infuriating back-and-forth that is all too common, be it emails or phone calls. Self-service automation looks set to grow within industries across the board in 2022.
“Customers will expect a more seamless experience at scale in 2022,” says David Bitton, Co-Founder and CMO of DoorLoop. “AI-powered self-service solutions will be at the forefront, allowing customers to get what they want while improving operational efficiency. Look for advancements in self-service kiosks, scheduling, and self-check-ins and check-outs.
“Employee self-service entails resolving challenges encountered by both HR and the employees they assist. Employees may send, review, and open requests for leaves or time off more efficiently with self-service automation. In 2022, advancements in self-service payroll integrations will provide numerous benefits to enterprises. Employees can use it to enter vital information such as working hours, withholding information, and personal details, reducing the burden on HR and the chance of errors. Employees can also access vital documents and their payroll history, which helps speed up the process anytime such information is required.”
Although there’s been a widespread shift to remote working, many prefer to work on a hybrid basis. It’s important to organize the correct setup for those employees, which can be a logistical nightmare. Automation can support these efforts to create a safer workspace. “Many employers have shifted to hybrid and remote-first work models, and this change in how we think about the physical workplace creates a host of new challenges and opportunities,” says Sarah Schultz, Strategy & Communications Lead at OfficeTogether.
“Whether it's scheduling in-person meetings, tracking health checks and vaccine statuses, keeping tabs on colleagues' time zones or collaboration days, or reserving a desk or room for your office visit, in 2022, employers will turn to space usage automation tools to better power their hybrid offices.
“Rather than burden the office manager or people team with additional Google Forms or Excel tracking, companies will be eager to turn to SaaS solutions that ease their return to the office task list and minimize the number of hiccups that might occur as folks get back to working in-person.”
Consumers and clients now more than ever want answers quickly – any way to speed up your processes will improve your customer experience. We’ve already seen the power Chatbots have to help your website users find the quickest solution, and they will continue to be adopted by more companies, becoming commonplace.
“The automation feature I’m seeing implemented on most websites is the chatbot,” says Sam Spratt, CEO at BlueChip Financial. “It doesn’t replace customer service representatives, but it cuts down on their work significantly. Setting up a chatbot is a win-win: customers no longer have to be put on hold on the phone for hours to find out basic information, and your customer service reps can manage their workload more efficiently, dedicating their time to customers with queries that need to be answered by a human. This saves time and money, and it’s been extremely successful so far, so I expect to see it more and more for all sorts of companies. Virtually any sort of website can have a chatbot at a customers’ disposal to answer their questions.”
We've been pioneers of hiring automation for many years at Cronofy, having worked with HR software and recruiters to help them automate low-value tasks like scheduling and save time. The experts agree that automation in this area will only continue to rise as the pressure on the job market increases.
"My number one prediction for workplace automation in 2022 is that automation for the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding process will take off," says Kyle MacDonald, Director of Operations at Force by Mojio. "The high turnover across industries (dubbed the "Great Resignation") has created a need for HR departments and hiring managers to be more efficient in their hiring processes.
"I expect to see more ATS software employed to narrow down candidates from the initial batch of applicants, automated scheduling and email alerts for planning interviews, and automated tech skills testing. This has the additional benefit of reducing burnout within HR departments that are already navigating many challenges in the world after COVID."
The pandemic has brought considerable logistical obstacles to many businesses' doorsteps. Those who are able have turned to remote and hybrid working models, and it looks like the change to the working landscape is permanent. This shift is forcing business leaders to change their approach in the way they manage their team and their productivity; automation can be beneficial to making this transition as easy as possible.
“As remote and hybrid work setups are here to stay, there will be growth in the usage of workforce management apps,” says Sam Dobel, Co-Founder and CEO of SINC Workforce. “These automation tools will help boost business operational efficiency. It will be easier for leaders to do time-tracking and payroll, and it will be easier for employees to reach out to their supervisors and collaborate with their colleagues.”
Dobel also mentions the ongoing issue of contact-tracing when checking in to a workplace. “AI, such as facial recognition, and other interactive experiences, will continue to shape the future of the workplace as they can aid in automating contact-tracing and foster a touch-free workplace or contactless transactions.”
Even the Developers who are creating these new automated products will be able to save time in their days with Semantic Automation. “Up until now, we’ve seen automation developers tell robots what to do step-by-step,” says Perry Zheng, CEO and Founder of Cash Flow Portal. “This is where semantic automation steps in; it lets developers move away from a rule-based approach.
“Semantic software robots will be able to observe activities and begin emulating them without being provided step-by-step instructions. They’ll recognize the process, understand what data is required, and know where and how to get it. This means that business users can initiate automation development by simply asking robots to perform a task.
“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to claim that semantic automation has the potential to revolutionize the business industry by freeing up developers’ and business owners’ time considerably.”
With the rise in automated products within the workplace comes the need to monitor their effectiveness. “A process intelligence system would closely monitor these automated processes,” says Elisa Bender, co-Founder of Revenue Geeks.
“Process intelligence allows you to add layers of data and intelligence to view the ongoing health of various processes. As remote and hybrid working models dominate the workplace, monitoring the staff and their productivity levels across the board is crucial.
“This automation would remove ambiguity regarding staffing needs, budgeting, and monitoring how successful your strategy has been in the long run.”
The scale and variety of new automation that could be implemented across a business has the potential to put a strain on your technical team. This is why some forms of automation are being made on low-code or no-code platforms, making them simpler to use and replicate by non-technical members of the team “The real trend for 2022 is in employee development. This means giving non-technical staff the tools they need to create their own automations,” says Nate Tsang, Founder and CEO of WallStreet Zen.
“Historically companies have needed skilled automation experts to implement workflows into their business. While that's still true, the real work is in setting up automation technology, then letting staff build the actual workflows themselves. Low-code and no-code tools have reached such a state that they're usable by non-technical staff with training and oversight from an expert.
“This has several advantages. For one, you need less involvement from IT once staff are trained, allowing them to focus on their technical backlog instead. But the biggest advantage is in productivity. Having staff actually building new automations is simply more effective. They know where the slack is, they know what the routine tasks are, and they're actually seeing the benefits of implementing automation. As low-code and no-code platforms continue to improve, we'll see more of this kind of development expand to more areas of any business.”
At Cronofy, we’ve noticed that more SMEs are realizing the value of automated scheduling and how it can contribute to their business growth. “More small and medium businesses that were resistant to try out automation will slowly start investing and embracing key automation software to simplify their back-end processes, improve the productivity of their workforce, increase efficiency, and to get to market faster,” says Gigi J.K., CEO of Virtina. “Manual tasks like inputting, sorting, and cleaning data will be left to software with built-in AI, such as a customer data platform that can analyze different aspects of the buyers and create a 360 degree unified profile with minimal human intervention.
“Instead of using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, more businesses will shift to the new-age practice of utilizing CDP for analytics and customer insights. Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) will take over; recruitment and customer support will see a proliferation of workflows that operate independently of any manual entry. Large Enterprises in various industry verticals have already shunned over-reliance on manual operations that were prone to errors and redundancy.”
It’s clear that automation is at the center of improvement plans for the workplace in 2022, across all industries and departments. Would you like to suggest any workplace automation trends for 2022 to add to our list? Get in touch at email@example.com and let us know!
Eli Franklin, Recruitment Specialist at Recruit CRM, looks at how automation continues to change the recruiting and staffing landscape and how recruiters can reap the benefits of automation throughout the hiring process.
The G2 Winter 2022 Report is live, and Cronofy has been awarded with five badges!