How ethical is RPA?

With the growing emergence of RPA in recent years, various opinions have naturally developed around how it should be used and what the goals of implementing it are. These opinions have varied in considering the amount of influence RPA should have on a business as well as what it means for the current staff.

But is RPA as a solution ethical?

A key challenge the industry faces is showing and explaining how RPA is ethical and fighting the misconceptions that have formed since its arrival. 

A common opinion that is often aired by sceptics of RPA is that its implementation will always lead to job losses. In taking this opinion, many business owners may see RPA as a quick fix in reducing overhead costs by removing staff. In fact, this is the opposite of what RPA is aiming to achieve. It is true that cutting costs is a significant advantage of using RPA but, enhancing and improving current staff roles is the way this is achieved through RPA. In saying this, it is also the responsibility of the RPA vendors to prove how this can be accomplished to quash the myths around the impacts of RPA.

Of course, a solution that can provide significant savings to a business is going to attract attention but showing how the solution can deliver sustainable growth is essential to retaining that business. If a company thinks growth is just cutting costs and removing staff, they will not succeed with long-term development. Businesses through no fault of their own can fall into the trap of treating the workforce as a cost rather than a basis of opportunity to help build growth. This is understandable with the constant pressure on budgets and expenses; however, RPA must be viewed as a long-term solution.

How ethical is RPA

RPA has not been invented to eradicate the human workforce. Instead, it is there to help alleviate and remove the manual, repetitive and mundane tasks that staff time is wasted on. In doing so, this provides the opportunity for staff members to be empowered to learn and grow within the business. This makes employees feel valued but also means the value gained by the company is increased as effort is being placed on skilled, thought-provoking work. Meanwhile, the processes removed from those staff members are now efficiently streamlined to release pressure on specific areas of the business, e.g. customer service.

There is a common misconception that RPA is a solution that works best on its own; that is not the case. To reach its optimum performance, RPA must be intertwined with the human workforce. Without the input or support of a workforce, it will simply not perform at the same level. Additionally, RPA becomes challenging to scale up without this combination. Being a long-term solution, it is essential to look into the future of the business at the start of the process and ensure all involved are informed and on-board with the transition. The scaling process should, however, be a gradual one as an accelerated program can cause more problems than it solves.

RPA is a unique solution as it can make the workers within an organisation more productive while also making the company as a whole, more productive. The solutions should be treated as such and not labelled as a quick fix. Gaining an understanding of the value of RPA before implementing the solution provides the best opportunity for successful application within a business.

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