The current job market has left many businesses in all industries severely understaffed. Much of the reaction to labor shortages has focused on service industries, where shortages are most apparent and their effects most evident, but financial services have also been hit by the labor market. tense work. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the finance and insurance industries saw 141,000 quits – people leaving their jobs for any reason – in March 2022, representing 2% of employment. total. Today, skilled knowledge workers are harder than ever to find, and those who are still employed are taxed with more work.
This creates a vicious cycle where knowledge workers are saddled with massive amounts of repetitive manual labor, which becomes overwhelming and pushes workers to leave. The remaining workers then have to handle even more work, causing more people to leave, and so on. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology analyzed factors related to work-related stress in banking. The study reviewed relevant literature and listed overworked and underutilized workers as a major contributor to stress and burnout. Additionally, a 2021 Gallup study cited disengaged workers as a major driver of turnover, defining engagement as “employee involvement and enthusiasm for their work and workplace.” Gallup said turnover rates in low-engagement teams are 18% to 43% higher than in high-engagement teams.
This cycle is exacerbated by the very nature of the work of credit unions. Credit union employees spend most of their time performing the same tedious tasks, such as requesting documents, contacting members, or moving data between legacy systems that don’t communicate with each other. This type of work is not really rewarding and leaves credit union workers particularly prone to fatigue and loss of meaning.
Ultimately, when a credit union is understaffed, the cost falls on its members. Members wait longer for basic processes, have fewer people to contact for help, and in the process face overworked employees. Personnel issues affect the entire organization, from reception to back office. Therefore, credit union managers should find ways to improve the working conditions of their workers by alleviating unnecessary stress and allowing them to perform the tasks for which they are paid.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a great solution for credit unions that want to improve their employee experience, reduce turnover, and increase productivity. RPA has become popular in many different industries, especially as the labor market has made it difficult to find skilled workers. RPA uses software to automate various processes by controlling the user interface (UI) of any internal system to perform repetitive tasks, reducing turnaround times, eliminating operating costs, and allowing knowledge workers to focus on more important tasks.
The financial sector in particular has taken an interest in RPA, as it is capable of significantly increasing efficiency. However, not all RPAs are created equal. Most traditional RPAs use a program called a bot that is installed on-premises and follows simple if-then rules. This type of RPA is fragile to constant “hiccups” in the process and hogs a lot of ongoing computing resources. Bots are great at performing simple isolated tasks, but anything more complex that depends on the current state of a process quickly becomes a problem. In fact, some RPA systems can be easily overwhelmed if processing volumes reach critical mass, making those systems slower than if people were performing the same tasks.
Fortunately, a new generation of intelligent RPA solutions purpose-built for financial services is beginning to redefine the industry. Credit unions face challenges that most RPA solutions are pretty bad at handling. They must handle high processing volumes and track large amounts of meticulous detail about individual transactions, and the systems used by credit union employees are legacy systems that cannot share data with each other, forcing employees to do it manually. However, the most innovative RPA solutions use artificial intelligence and a cloud-based architecture that can follow the knowledge worker’s workflow and transfer documents and other information between legacy systems.
These RPA solutions eliminate the most tedious work that, frankly, no one wanted to do in the first place. In this job market, there are hardly any workers available to do this in the first place. RPA takes care of the toughest jobs so credit union workers can focus on the most rewarding and lucrative work, like accepting loan applications and meaningfully engaging with members. In doing so, RPA improves the knowledge worker experience, bypassing one of the key factors regarding high turnover and increasing overall member and employee satisfaction.
Workers don’t want to be stuck doing repetitive, mind-numbing work, and when they are, they tend to leave those jobs, and again, that leaves the remaining workers with even more repetitive manual labor. As this cycle continues, members suffer the consequences as there are not enough workers to serve them. Intelligent RPA solves this problem by automating manual and repetitive tasks in a business process and allowing knowledge workers to spend their time actively helping members.
Joseariel Gomez is the Founder and CEO of Shastic, a Berkeley, CA-based RPA-as-a-Service provider for the financial services industry.