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Practically Speaking: Using Automation to Reduce Busywork and Turnover

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About the Episode

Welcome to Practically Speaking, a show dedicated to highlighting practically genius ideas in less than 15 minutes. Get takeaways from Prabhjot Singh’s Genius Spotlight episode on automation, like why process is the key to automating well. Lindsay and Ryan then dig into data from Formstack’s State of Digital Maturity report. This week, they cover how the most optimized organizations use automation to improve the employee experience. Learn how automation can help make employees feel happier, less stressed, and more fulfilled.

Episode Highlights

Meet Our Guest

Our featured Genius Spotlight guest was Prabhjot Singh, President and CEO of Pyze. He’s passionate about helping organizations reach maximum efficiency through automation. He has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and product management, making him an expert on the intersection between people, process, and technology. Listen to his episode Automation Can't Save You from Broken Processes now.

Episode Transcript

Lindsay McGuire: Hey, everyone. Welcome to practically speaking a show from form stack, where we dive deeper into the topics that matter to change makers like you. I'm Lindsay

Ryan Greives: And I'm Ryan on this episode, Lindsay and I are reflecting on her conversation from last week with Prabhjot and the topic of automation and its impact on the employee experience. Later in the episode, we'll be diving into some data driven insights around this topic, but let's start with some of your thoughts about the conversation you had with Prabhjot Lindsay. What were your big takeaways?

Lindsay McGuire: The biggest thing to me was the fact that you have to put the process before apps or automation or any other type of technology. A lot of times people think about automation or just tech in general, as the silver bullet that can fix everything, solve everything, tame, the wild chaotic data beast that we're all trying to get a handle on, but you can use whatever tools you want. But if the process is crap, essentially, it's really not gonna work out. You have to identify where there are broken processes, improve on those processes. First, before you even think about using any kind of tech or app or automation or adding in any kind of coding, either no code tool, low code tool, whatever you wanna call it. And he even brought up the fact that even if it's as simple as moving from a paper process to a digital process, if you're moving a really crappy, terrible paper process from paper to digital, it's really not going to be that much better beyond it simply being a crappy process. You put into a digital tool. How about you, Ryan?

Practically Genius podcast quote from Ryan Greives

Ryan Greives: Yeah, I love that. I think the other thing that he said that really stood out to me kinda in that same vein was the idea of process debt. We hear so much about tech debt, especially in the software and technology industry that we're in code over time gets extremely bloated. Applications are incredibly hard to keep up with and update and build upon because of the code index being so big over time and how that's so hard to continue to have innovation. And I love the way he thought about it. From the process standpoint, we have so many of these legacy processes, maybe inside of organizations and people maybe even spot opportunities that they can improve upon, but they actually have to still deal with the legacy processes, the process debt, as he calls it inside of organization that you have to deal with. If you actually want to scale a process or refine a process over time.

Lindsay McGuire: Yeah. It's one of those things where you need to break away from that comfort of this is the way it's always been done, or this is the way that it works. Cause a lot of the times there are tiny little minuscule problems that sit underneath the surface and you can't quite see if you are just in that one section of the process, but when you pull it out big and you look at that overarching data and those bottlenecks, you'll be able to see where, well, this might have been the way we've always done things, but does it actually work effectively and efficiently? One other thing he brought up was this idea of the ping pong problem, talking about having to bounce from one person to the next person, then back to the next person, then over here and back there, and it being this chaotic mess of random communications and Ryan, I know you'll know this phrase well, but one phrase we use at form stack is less work, more flow.

Practically Genius podcast quote from Lindsay McGuire

Lindsay McGuire: And I really think that he did a great job of talking about how we can identify areas that can have more of that less work, more flow added in of you shouldn't have to ping pong across these people 18 million times, or if this one person isn't available, then it has to wait. And then once they're back into the process, it be able to move on. I think we need to focus on areas where we can streamline that and be able to then bring in that automation, bring in that tech and those tools that will make it so that this communication is more linear and straight versus just back and forth like pong from the 1980s, perhaps

Ryan Greives: <laugh> I do love ping pong, but just not in the process automation. Now let's dive deeper into what the most optimized organizations do to reduce busy work and turnover with automation.

Lindsay McGuire: So the data we're about to highlight comes from Formstack's 2022 State of Digital Maturity report. This report surveyed 2,000 workers across the U.S. about how they use technology, how they think about digital transformation, their usage of workflow automation. These stats are from the most optimized organizations. Those that have reached the optimal level of digital maturity and are continuing to improve on their efficiencies. So first I wanna talk about how 66% of these optimized organizations spend one hour or less on inefficient tasks every day. Now that might not seem like the biggest number you would think maybe it should be higher, but we found across a whole spectrum of digital maturity. A majority of organizations spend at least two hours or more. So there's a huge time savings at these most optimized organizations. We found that they have an ability to use automation to reduce inefficiencies, and that directly correlates to the health, happiness, and satisfaction of employees.

Lindsay McGuire: When we dug into our data, we realize that the most optimized organizations have employees who are just overall happier, less stressed, more fulfilled with their job. We found that there's a strong correlation between their use of automation and that being able to benefit employees of all departments, all job roles, all functions because their days are spent less on those annoying, repetitive tasks that take up so much time and take us away from that impactful work. And so this then relates to the next stat I wanna talk about, which is 33% of optimized organizations. Don't find it challenging to retain talented employees. We believe this is because the employees at the more digitally mature organizations are happier, less stressed and more productive, their ability to have access to the tools, technology, processes, automation that lift those repetitive tasks out of their to-do list and give them more time to do impactful creative work makes them more fulfilled employees. So they are able to see the worth in their Workday instead of slogging through these repetitive tasks, these 80 million emails, trying to figure out who needs to know what thinking back to that ping pong effect, right? They're able to actually get to the work they need to get done without being bogged down by two, three, sometimes even four hours of those repetitive tasks every day. So what contributes to this happiness and this better employer attention, Ryan, I think, you know, the answer to that one

Ryan Greives: 89% of the most mature organizations track, which systems require the most time from employees and as prob, Joe said in last week's episode is if you do not know where those issues are within the process, you'll never be able to remove the efficiencies no matter what the tool you use. And these most optimized organizations found that they know where the efficiencies exist. They track systems, the processes, employees efforts, to be able to identify where the bottlenecks and the breaks are. And I know over time I've hated the time tracking systems or any of those things because they just seem like they're so tedious and pointless. But the great part about a lot of the systems now project management systems and whatnot is they automate a lot of that stuff for you. So you can actually see it. And on the backside of that, you are able to see what can be automated over time. And it's extremely relevant in today's current business climate, where a lot of organizations are pausing, hiring, maybe having to scale back and having to do more with less. And first of all, having to tracking the systems, which require the most time, but then also building an automation to enhance the employees that you already have there. So they are able to get back to do in more impactful work.

Ryan Greives: Thanks so much for joining us on this episode of practically speaking tune in next week, to hear Lindsay talk with Annette Franz about creating an amazing customer experience, check out the show notes for a link to the 2022 state of digital maturity report. And as always you can find next practically genius idea at

Hosted By
Lindsay McGuire
Senior Content Marketing Manager
Co-Hosted By
Ryan Greives
VP, Brand & Communications

Practically Genius is a show built for innovators championing digitization within their organization.

Hosts Lindsay McGuire and Ryan Greives host conversations with real-world innovators sharing stories of digital transformation while also providing helpful advice and insights to listeners.

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