When we talk about automation, we are typically referring to technology by which a process or procedure is performed with minimal human assistance. I expect most association professionals have at least heard by now how automating repetitive tasks can increase efficiency and help associations better serve their members.
We conduct a lot of studies at Community Brands, and some of the findings surprised me. One of them found that only 43 percent of association professionals feel technologically prepared to meet their members’ needs, and almost 50 percent plan to invest in automation in the near future. Another finding was that 79 percent of members say it is very or somewhat important that their organization provides targeted valuable content.
Why is that?
Apart from some obvious benefits such as optimizing processing and saving time, money and manpower to use resources more effectively, investing in technology is an investment in members. Automation can improve members’ experience in small and big ways, and transform operations. If associations are all about serving their members, why aren’t there more considering automation as a solution?
Perhaps it has to do with culture. It is after all one of the most commonly overlooked things when it comes to any transformation initiative. Sometimes, the resistance comes from employees who think automation will take away their jobs, but really, it just allows you to shift your focus from repetitive tasks to others that aren’t as painfully boring to do.
You need a culture that encourages and supports automation because true transformation can’t really occur unless the team is fully invested. I had the pleasure of actually working on a workflow automation tool prior to coming to Community Brands, and one of the things we talked a lot about with clients is that staff members can really see the areas where automation would be beneficial as the people in the line of business doing the tasks every day. We said that if they can see the benefits, then they can take it up to leadership.
This works really well in helping build that culture of automation, because when it comes from the bottom up, we see a lot of success. And that’s because it’s that frontline worker, that staff member, who’s really leading the charge, which gets their fellow co-workers excited. They’re able to do more significant work and not waste time on repetitive tasks that could be avoided with automation.
If you’re an association professional who sees a need to automate certain elements at your organization, don’t be afraid to bring that up. By helping build that culture of automation, you and your team will be better able to serve your members.