How Ernst & Young is Helping Its Employees Cope With Workplace Digital Transformation

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How Ernst & Young is Helping Its Employees Cope With Workplace Digital Transformation
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The workplace is transforming, as companies take advantage of developing technologies and tools.

The digital transformation of the global business ecosystem will ultimately impact employees at every level and every company. One of the BIG 4 has already taken the lead in empowering its employees to help them navigate these shift.

Ernest & Young (EY) had deployed numerous technologies including robotic process automation (RPA) — an innovative technology capable of performing multi-step, highly repetitive processes at great speed and accuracy.

Nearly 200 RPA “Bots,” have been deployed to work “alongside” the firm’s human employees, gathering and processing data associated with tax returns and other tasks.

While rolling out this, the giant firm has realized that it’s different groups of staff react differently to this digital partnership, thus it has tailored unique support programs to respond to all this unique reactions.

EY’s recent college graduates and young millennials have lived up to their digital native hype. They’re excited at the prospect of working side-by-side with disruptive technology.

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They’re also eager to offload repetitive tasks, which can take up a large percentage of their work, allowing them to spend more energy adopting new skills and learning how to be relevant in a new tax age. And they feel they have the time to adapt and take on new roles and responsibilities without jeopardizing their career growth.

In order to succeed in its rapidly shifting work environment, the firm demands that it’s recent graduates be of high-quality, high-potential and well-trained professionals right from the start.

To accomplish this, the firm suggests that businesses must work with universities to help shape curriculum, and to build relationships with students earlier.

It believes that through this kind of collaboration, it will be possible to advance knowledge and skills for the future, and prepare students to be “Ready right from day one.”

EY acknowledges the struggle that may be faced by its experienced professionals and middle managers who may likely view new technologies as a threat. It also acknowledges that some of these experienced professionals may assume they are seasoned enough to easily pivot and take on an entirely new role.

The firm is prepared to help them through the transition process by continually finding ways to ease those concerns and, in fact, gain their buy-in that digital technologies are a positive step forward for them individually, for the firm, and for the future of work.

The firm is using guidance and storytelling to ease these transition and it acknowledges that automation is the future and a very important tool that will help its tax professionals do their work.

When Microsoft Excel first came out, tax professionals worried that its functionality would deem many professionals irrelevant. Quite to the contrary, it made jobs easier.

Tax professionals were able to deliver deeper levels of analysis to clients quicker and with greater accuracy. EY see similar benefits — for both its people and clients — with process automation.

The firm has also started “upskilling” its mid-level employees with unique human skills that complement these new tools.

As BOTs take over repetitive tasks, they free up humans to carry out higher-level, purpose-driven work, and to focus on domain knowledge, relationship building, project management and predictive analysis.

Having been around for sometime, EY’s senior leadership have already had a positive buy-in and they certainly know the inevitability of change since they themselves have weathered other evolution’s of processes and tools in the industry.

For them it is just a matter of time before the business landscape takes a new shape.

The firm has also employed a number of learning and development programs to help leaders succeed during continued disruption, and to enable them to be ambassadors for change. Experts in different technologies teach their peers. This helps the business leaders to champion the evolution, and help their teams adapt to a new, digital workplace.

EY strongly believes that disruption will impact all its employees. Thus, staff at every level of the organization have a role to play — to prepare both themselves and the broader business for change.

The workplace of the future isn’t just a physical workplace. It’s an entirely new environment, complete with new technologies and tools, and human employees able to pursue purpose-driven work.

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