A common misconception surrounding the drones and robotics field is that the technology can eliminate the need for workers. Our experience on technology logistics projects, has taught us that this could not be further from the truth.
Rather, robots or drones can supplement a workforce by tackling the dull, dirty and dangerous tasks and release time for workers to complete more meaningful and enjoyable tasks than previously possible.
However, if fear of job loss is high within a workplace, this makes the inclusion of automation technology a tough sell. One of our clients did inform us of an incident of a robot being repeatedly attacked and damaged by staff as they were fearful of losing their jobs to it. When the robot vendors came back after a month to the workplace, it was basically unrecognisable and could not be returned. That was a very expensive mistake and the workplace received no long-term added benefit.
We have some advice.
1. Reduce the barriers of communication
It's impossible to plan for mishaps between workers and robots if you are not getting the full picture. A worker may be scared of speaking out against the proposal to bring in robotics or drones and thus rather stay quiet than risk embarrassment or judgement. Or worse your worker could have a brilliant idea but do not have confidence to approach others about it. Our advice is to allow for anonymous communication by a suggestions box or virtual suggestion box (simply a QR code to a short online survey).
2. Consult with staff regarding a proposed change
Not only is this a legal requirement of employers within the state of Victoria but done well is good business acumen. Teaching workers about what you want to achieve, seeking their advice and ideas on how to achieve it and informing workers of your decision is vital. This empowers workers to feel greater ownership and responsibility of the change as they had a hand in its design.
3. Create a positive culture that encourages open dialogue and discussion.
Definitely the most difficult and lengthy task to achieve congruous technology integration. It requires both time and resource commitment to meet and sustain, such as co-create and embody team values, create an inclusive space, acknowledge workers how they want to be acknowledged, etc. This reduces the element of fear in the workplace by constantly reinforcing that worker insight and efforts are highly valued and noticed.
Should you like to learn more on optimal logistics technology integration please check our blog The Guide to Business Improvement using Drones and Robotics Technology or get in touch with an experienced consultant here.