It's an understandable fear. We see dystopian, science fiction stories all around us about how humanity is stripped of its essence as everything becomes automated and we all become controlled by robots. It is possible that employees may be worried about their freedom and creativity being taken away by the greater emphasis on efficiency. Before we go through and fix the business processes of organizations, I even hear some employees express these concerns. So, is there any merit to them?
Here's the thing: while I do often hear fears about employee autonomy being taken away before the new processes are implemented, I seldom hear those concerns expressed after the new processes are implemented. In other words, some people are alarmed by how they think greater efficiencies will affect their work, but they are almost always relieved by how the greater efficiencies affect their work.
A good efficiency process doesn't strip employees of creativity; it only ends up making their work easier. Greater efficiency liberates employees to do their best work. They know what they're responsible for and they are given the best path to do it. How can that not improve morale in your organization?
I spent a great deal of my time meeting with leaders in the mortgage industry to discuss how they can turn their organizations around by making their business processes more efficient. From a business perspective, I often get a great response. Leaders are excited about how more efficient processes can contribute to a healthier bottom line. However, I do often get some push-back from leaders on how they think employees may react to a greater emphasis on efficiency.