Author Profile Picture

Sridhar Iyengar

Zoho Corporation

Managing Director, Zoho Europe

Read more from Sridhar Iyengar

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

How to stabilise employee automation anxiety

Sridhar Iyengar provides a how-to guide to ease employee anxieties around job security as automation tools dominate the headlines.

Research has revealed that 30% of employees have concerns of being replaced by technology within the next three years. Here’s how business owners and learning and development staff can ease automation anxiety.

Still in its infancy within many industries, the adoption of automation, self-servicing and AI technology saw an acceleration and boost in development following the pandemic. As a result, working models changed and escalated employee fears surrounding job security.

Just look at ChatGPT. It’s taken over the media agenda for several months now and is being asked to perform roles such as copywriting, creating uncertainty for thousands of staff.

While these innovative technologies are beneficial to the improvement of customer experience, they can also have a negative impact upon employee experience.

Automation should ultimately increase employee confidence and promote growth for everyone involved, so it is imperative organisations oversee this change of opinion.

Promoting tech as an enabler not a threat

The first step is to stress that automation technology is an enabler and should empower employees – it isn’t here to take jobs.

Tech has a host of benefits that can make the day-to-day roles of staff easier. Take remote working as an example. The pandemic forced the rapid adoption and development of communication and collaboration tools to enable people to work from home, which is still being utilised by many staff today. 

Automation tech has also been able to support staff in other areas, automating repetitive manual tasks such as workflow management, which can save tens of hours a week per employee.

More examples where automation can make the lives of staff easier include:

  • Email marketing
  • Data entry and access
  • Scheduling payments and reminders, sending invoices
  • Customer service – answering simple customer enquiries in real-time, and forwarding more complex enquiries to the right departments to deal with
  • Recruitment – AI can filter through hundreds of applicants, mapping candidates to job description
  • Backing up files – even something that simple!

Automation technology is here to stay working alongside staff, and productivity can soar once businesses make that clear to employees. 

Upskilling and re-skilling strategies are essential for staff


A report recorded that 39% of employees expressed concerns about not receiving sufficient training in digital and technology skills from their employer. 

So, while automating repetitive tasks is all well and good, staff need to be listened to and do something with the extra time they’ll have on their hands.

Once freed from the burden of manual tasks, employees could focus on:

  • Engagement with higher-level, higher-impact activities to support the business
  • Offering face-to-face customer service
  • Leading in campaign strategies
  • Reviewing and providing inputs assessing the automation tech

Just as computers need programming to be successful, humans need to learn too. Upskilling and re-skilling strategies are essential for staff, and businesses should facilitate learning and development programmes centred around getting the best out of staff.

Providing training courses in areas such as how to get the most out of technology, how to improve customer service or how to grow the business, coupled with clear achievable goals set out by the company for personal development, will assist the upskilling process.

Everyone should invest in themselves too, and this should be encouraged as another way of improving the overall employee experience. 

Championing human skills

While it is impossible to predict future jobs, there is some comfort in knowing that how a company presents its brand values shall always remain crucial for businesses. 

Research found that 83% of consumers seek more authenticity from brands, and 46% of consumers said that they would rather purchase from brands they can trust.

Nothing can be more authentic than human qualities, and while customer-focused automation tools can be prompted to come across as conversational, they cannot possess human attributes such as empathy, leadership, flexibility, or creativity to the same degree.

Automation tech such as chatbots illustrate a happy medium that can be created, with AI answering basic queries from customers before humans step in to provide higher-level information. 

Research revealed that 80% of consumers felt frustration when using a chatbot, and 78% were made to follow up with a human in the company as they felt it could not understand their issue.

The solution is simple, companies need to optimise their AI and human customer service partnership, championing their human skills. 

Employees should therefore focus on enhancing their:

  • Communication
  • Mental processing
  • Social skills

Such qualities are becoming increasingly valuable in a world of automation – and should not be neglected.

Staff shouldn’t fear an automation uprising

New jobs will be created

By 2025, it has been predicted that 97 million new roles will be created as humans, algorithms and machines increasingly work together. 65% of children in primary schools today will end up working in completely new jobs that don’t yet exist, most of which will combine human skills with automation. 

Therefore, instead of fearing how automation can replace jobs, we should accept working alongside machines as they are here to stay.

Businesses should have their sights set on job creation, planning how to expand headcount to boost business productivity alongside automation.

Staff shouldn’t fear an automation uprising, technology is here to support us and make our roles easier, allowing us to do more of what people do best. 

The next steps 

If an employee has an issue with technology, this should be raised or leaders must regularly check in with their staff. The right measures should then be put in place to create a solution, crucially so as one of the five factors affecting employee satisfaction is feeling that their manager listens to them.

The same emerging technologies that have the potential to displace certain workers also offer the ability to open up hundreds of new opportunities for them. 

Embracing automation can ultimately empower individuals and even incite them to create incomes of their own, encouraging entrepreneurship. 

Fundamentally, automation saves businesses money and time, and it should be this saved money and time that gets invested in restoring confidence, helping to train up and repurpose their employees, promoting growth for everyone involved.

Interested in this topic? Read The Rise of the Chatbots: Five ways AI will enhance L&D


One Response

  1. It is incredible how anxiety
    It is incredible how anxiety has taken over the minds at present, the work performance of young people has appeared a little, I loved your article, thanks for sharing

    -Peter Veldhuizen Sydney Australia

Author Profile Picture
Sridhar Iyengar

Managing Director, Zoho Europe

Read more from Sridhar Iyengar

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to TrainingZone's newsletter