While it’s unlikely we’ll see robots running human resource (HR) departments, rapid advances in automation have enabled HR employees to streamline and speed up many processes. Using automated HR systems can unburden staff and managers from routine tasks, freeing up time, energy and resources for your highest-value assets – people.
What Is HR Automation?
Human resources automation involves using software and digital technology to automate routine HR tasks. This allows HR professionals to focus on higher value activities aligned to company goals, such as creating comprehensive workforce management plans.
Automated HR systems have been developed in response to the challenges of managing contemporary workforces with traditional systems. Gone are the days when a paper-based HR process is adequate for managing a workforce that’s increasingly remote, shift-based and deskless!
HR software can enhance efficiency and security while decreasing the chances of human error. Quality solutions can also facilitate high employee engagement – all ultimately improving your profitability.
As automation of HR processes becomes the norm, organisations using it in a human-first way will gain a competitive advantage, especially considering the anticipated Great Resignation.
Strategic Human Resource Management Using Automation
Strategic human resource management involves using HR data to discover how best to use your human talent. With automation, HR teams can stay focused on strategic and complex tasks, such as forecasting staffing and skills needs, optimising training programs, and designing ways to attract and retain top talent.
The Benefits of HR Process Automation
Managing people well takes time and effort. One 2019 US study found that 45 per cent of small business owners spend one day per week or more on administrative HR issues. Clearly, automating routine HR processes has time and cost-saving advantages for HR teams, organisations and business owners.
And it’s not only your HR department who’ll reap the benefits of HR automation. In fact, PwC’s recent What workers want: Winning the war for talent report notes that ways of working – including technological enablement from day one – is one of seven key employee preferences.
Other recent research shows that providing access to new digital tools results in staff working 22 per cent more shifts and reduces employee turnover by 16 per cent – a key consideration in today’s tight labour market where replacing high-performing talent could cost you up to three times their annual salary.
Other key benefits of automated HR systems include:
- enhanced flexibility, with flow-on benefits for employee work-life balance and wellbeing (which PwC found was the leading preference for 22 per cent of respondents)
- increased efficiency through automation of repetitive and labour-intensive tasks
- improved recruitment and onboarding processes, increasing satisfaction of new employees
- enhanced communication and teamwork through mobile applications
- better decision making through rapid, easy access to actionable insights
- higher productivity due to fast processing and data sharing
- reduced paper consumables, printing and storage costs
- ease of maintaining compliance and regulatory requirements
- greater employee autonomy, which increases engagement
- reduced errors related to manually completing paperwork
- better experiences for job candidates and employees.
Popular HR Processes for Automation
Automatization examples abound in the human resources process. Here are some HR processes where you can capitalise on the artificial intelligence features offered in HR technology:
Rostering/shift offering – demand-based rostering
Effective rostering systems help you schedule and manage your resources – including your staff members, rooms, equipment, and more. While traditional paper-based rosters worked in a world where staff mostly turned up at the same place at the same time, year after year, they don’t often cut it in the modern workforce.
Quality rostering software tools enable your organisation to create compliant rosters – on time and on budget – irrespective of staff location and work hours. Importantly, they can also help you manage demand ebbs and surges. Humanforce’s rostering tool, for example, enables staff to bid for extra shifts, ensuring you’re always covered and reducing reliance on agency staff. And with our employee self-service options, staff have greater control over their schedules, helping them achieve the sense of autonomy and work-life balance they desire.
Furthermore, our roster templates help you manage your staff members and schedules efficiently and effectively, saving hours of labour and energy-intensive manual rostering. In turn, freeing up more time for the more exciting areas of your business development!)
Finding the perfect people for new or vacated roles can be one of the most time-consuming of HR tasks, especially in the current market where border closures and hesitancy around changing jobs can make filling jobs harder than ever.
HR software can facilitate streamlined talent acquisition by posting job advertisements to relevant sites, tracking responses, filtering and accepting applications, and prioritising candidates based on predetermined criteria via online profiles and resumes. Automated messaging can update candidates throughout the process.
Automation reduces the amount of time HR staff need to spend on recruitment administration and can also reduce time-to-hire. With research showing a massive 57 per cent of applicants lose interest if the hiring process is lengthy, HR automation tools could be your key to successful recruitment.
Once you’ve attracted the talent, you’ll want to keep them. A quality onboarding experience can make all the difference to settling people quickly and happily into their jobs. However, onboarding employees has traditionally been one of the most tedious manual tasks. It involves activities like collecting and verifying documents, giving technology access to new staff, adding them to payroll, and more.
With an onboarding solution, all this can be done automatically. With Humanforce, you can digitally capture all necessary documentation, making for an efficient, human-friendly onboarding experience. Easily input key employee data such as TFN, superannuation and bank details with our mobile app, and submit forms directly to the ATO after approval (Australian users only). Our paperless solution allows you to finish onboarding before a new employee starts, reducing the risk of no-shows, while customised messaging helps staff feel welcome from day one.
Quality information drives smart decisions. Whereas manual processes rely on time-consuming and error-prone human calculations, one of HR technology’s strongest attributes is its ability to track, gather and analyse large amounts of data. This means you can spot trends, such as late starts or cost overruns, and use these findings to improve your processes.
Not only do automated solutions provide easy-to-track metrics, they’re also reliable – making for fast and unbiased decisions based on facts rather than guesswork. Humanforce’s cloud-based platform features robust, integrated workforce analytics that allows you to instantly see what’s really happening in your business.
With inbuilt reports including project costs, tardiness reporting, hours worked to hours rostered ratios, causes of unauthorised timesheets and more, you can make data-driven decisions aligned to your organisational and revenue goals.
Payroll management – Leave calculation and approval
Manual timesheets are going the way of CDs thanks to the greater efficiency and accuracy of HR automation software. Mobile apps let you automatically track and manage employee timesheets from any connected device. This makes payroll management faster and more accurate. Likewise, software solutions allow you to calculate and approve leave requests on the go.
Cloud-based platforms are the ideal solution for mobile teams, where staff can be working across a variety of shifts and locations. Humanforce, for instance, is custom-built for the contemporary remote and hybrid workforce.
Although every employee’s time must come to an end, offboarding is an oft-overlooked process! When done well, offboarding helps protect your reputation and leave former employees with a favourable impression, which can only be a good thing for attracting a replacement and building a positive brand name.
As with onboarding, manual offboarding is time demanding. It also comes with a risk of error associated with lost or incomplete paperwork, resulting in potential security and compliance issues.
With HR software, you can create an offboarding checklist and automate many tasks, such as scheduling exit interviews, removing access from company applications, and updating payroll. And you can do it all without a mountain of paperwork.
How HR automation can simplify your life
The human resource process tends to be document-driven which, when done manually, can be repetitive, time-hungry and inefficient. In contrast, HR solutions can digitise your record-keeping, making it faster as well as more accurate and secure. With documentation sorted, HR leaders and managers are freed up to do what they do best – look after your people.
Dealing with underperforming staff has always been a sticky issue for HR personnel. Perhaps that’s partly why only 55 per cent of employees feel like performance management appraisals are effective.
And while HR technology won’t make dealing with performance shortfalls pleasant, it can make it easier. Having an automated evaluation process allows managers to track where employees are excelling, as well as where they’re falling short, without being perceived as micromanagers.
Importantly, software solutions provide unbiased, factual data managers can use in staff appraisals. This can be used to drive decisions around bonuses and promotions, as well as identify training needs. Plus, data provides a clear reference point for tracking improvement (or not). Analytics also allow you to monitor and review performance throughout the year, not just at a single annual review.
A holistic view of people management
HR is all about people. But HR staff managing piles of paperwork have less time and energy to focus on what matters most. HR automation systems can create the necessary space for your HR team to do what they’re best at – managing humans. And by giving them more autonomy and freedom, contributing to a positive employee experience.
Humanforce’s people-first solution supports a holistic approach to people management that enhances employee satisfaction, ultimately leading to happy customers and thriving businesses.