Here’s some good news though: While HR automation tools will make even bigger waves into the future, many on the market right now can boost your business without burning a hole in your budget.
However, in this article we’ll be sticking to the key concepts of automation and how it will change the game. First we’ll cover the question “what is HR automation?”, before exploring its future and discovering how to automate HR processes.
So if you need to reduce stress and increase productivity in your human resources department, read on.
For the TL;DR definition, HR automation is a process that boosts your human resources efforts by using algorithms to take care of repetitive manual tasks. As a result, your HR team can focus on the human side of their job and improve their performance as a whole.
Automation has been growing in popularity across the board over the past decade, with platforms becoming ever-more accurate and reliable. With HR automation software, you can reinvent how your department works, avoiding overloading staff during recruitment drives and improving retention in the team. Similarly, you can give your employees more autonomy during onboarding and training. When you’re into the swing of things, automations can take care of smaller tasks like approving vacation days or expenses.
This is not to say that there is no oversight. One of the key HR automation benefits is that every move is automatically tracked by your software. This means you can pull out reports at a minute’s notice and have all the information you need at hand.
The result is that your company saves valuable money, time, and effort on the less-important tasks, while focusing on decisions that can really make a difference.
One of the biggest concerns hanging over automation in human resource departments is that it could remove the need for humans altogether. Indeed, it is often said that everything that can be automated ultimately will be automated.
It is of course difficult to predict the extent to which algorithms will take over from humans a century in the future. However, current trends seem to show that rather than removing human input, automation streamlines HR jobs, removing boring, monotonous tasks.
This does suggest that positions in human resources will change quite dramatically as we move through the 21st century. As processes get more complex, tasks will move from data entry to those based more on emotion and intuition. But for the foreseeable future at least, humans still play a major role.
Free for the whole team
When you’re advertising jobs online, and especially when recruiting remote teams, you’re speaking to the whole world. The advantage is that your reach is so broad you can attract talent you might not find in your local area. However, the downside is that you can end up with an enormous field of applicants that even a team of five could have trouble turning into a shortlist.
The algorithms get to work by scanning all your applications for keywords that reflect your must-haves. With just a couple of clicks of a button, you get a qualified list of candidates who tick all your boxes. This way, your team can be assured of covering all the hard skills you need, and spend its time focusing on the soft skills and cultural fit.
Another advantage during the hiring process is that HR automation removes biases in recruitment. It’s a fact of life that all of us have subconscious biases, whether it’s gender, race, or address, humans simply can’t avoid it. Add to this the possibility that someone on your team is simply having a bad day, and you’ve got a problem.
Therefore, you can guarantee fairness when cutting down your open field, as the filters only rely on the hard skills needed. When it comes to choosing from your shortlist, your team will have more time to cross-reference decisions as a team and come up with the ideal candidate.
Looking forward to the future, we can expect automations in recruitment to become more and more accurate, perhaps even crossing over from hard skills to cultural fit.
Organizations who already reap the rewards of HR process automation would laugh at the thought of going back to paper-based record collecting and tedious data entry for every new hire.
Instead, send your staff a series of customizable forms that automatically populate your company intranet. With the right HR automation software in place, your fields link directly to your organizational contact sheet. By keeping the form accessible, your team members can update their own information. Therefore, if someone gets a promotion, they can update it themselves for everybody else to see.
Take it one step further with HR workflow templates that you can launch when the contract is signed, receiving notifications when every step is completed. Without needing to chase up every little detail and avoiding the potential for mistakes in data transfer, your HR team will be less stressed and more productive.
Chasing up on employees’ manual time sheets is one of the worst ways for managers to spend their time. With time management tools, you reduce that time wasted to zero. Instead of checking each employee one-by-one, you can set alerts to ping if somebody is late and focus only on what you need to.
Your internal system neatly logs everybody’s clock-in and clock-out times to give you a record for as long as you need. If your HR automation software is available both for desktop and mobile, your traveling teams can clock in at the touch of a button so there are no discrepancies further down the line.
Having said that, this isn’t an opportunity to watch over your staff like a hawk. For example, you can set flexible timetable policies and take an average at the end of the month. It’s also a benefit for your remote workers and external suppliers. They can track their own hours and quickly produce invoices based on pre-agreed hours.
One of the most error-prone areas of HR is payment. It is a mad rush at the end of the month where you always run the risk of paying late or not being compliant with labor regulations and tax requirements. What’s worse is that failure to comply isn’t just a little mistake. You can risk your company’s reputation by falling into legal trouble as a result.
However, with HR automation, you can calculate everything in an instant. What’s more, instead of sweating through paper after paper of rules and regulations, you can input a few details and you’re ready to go. The best HR software will take the country of work into account, ensuring your compliance across borders.
This kind of automation is essential if you want to scale quickly. Instead of sending your team to law school to read up on Brazilian income tax, you can do it the easy way with help from the algorithms.
Traditionally, some of the most time-consuming tasks for HR teams are arranging and signing off on small processes that are almost always accepted in the end. The amount of time wasted running after managers could be put to much better use, and we’re about to tell you how.
One key example is vacation requests. HR automation allows employees to consult their own calendar, choose dates, and send a request. If they don’t have free days, the process simply doesn’t work. When it gets to the approval stage, rather than filling people’s inboxes with requests, it appears as a notification that you can respond to with a yes or no.
For all of the above, if your HR platform works on mobile too, your manager can even accept or deny requests on the go.
Performance analysis is another key human resources responsibility that takes a lot of time and effort. By now, you should be thinking — how can I automate this process?
At the beginning of every year or quarter, set ambitious but achievable KPIs for each individual. This sets the bar against which you can measure the relevant completed tasks in your project management tool. Just like in recruitment, using HR automation for performance monitoring also takes out any potential biases — it’s all based on the numbers.
But what happens when your individuals fall short of their targets?
HR teams can set up training workflows that spot under-performing individuals and invite them to brush up on their skills in a certain area. Of course, you don’t want a cold, robotic system that makes your staff feel alienated. To avoid this, schedule an informal face-to-face meeting to explain the situation and reassure them.
With analytics, you can make your onboarding and other projects more efficient by seeing which parts consistently take longer than predicted to complete. Similarly, if you receive more questions than normal for a certain section, it’s time to ask why and improve it for the future.
Analytics are one of the most important parts of HR automation because, although the algorithms will do a lot of the legwork for you, you need to make sure those legs are going in the right direction.
One wise way of using your analytics is to run A/B testing on, for example, HR training workflows. Your team can carefully monitor the performance of each strategy before choosing the best data-proven solution. With more complex tools, you can also join the dots to work out factors behind your top employees deciding to leave the company.
With such complex systems already available, future HR teams are likely to leverage analytics to reliably maintain morale in the organization.
Offboarding can be a complex procedure and you only realize many mistakes when it’s already too late.
You’ve got to respect privacy laws, such as deleting contact details after a certain amount of time. With HR automation, you can set a timer on your ex-employee’s details, so you don’t have to rely on human memory to make sure you’re complying with legal requirements.
There are of course some physical tasks that need to be undertaken. For example, you may have to check all your devices and materials have been returned. These tasks can get pretty tense if passions are running high, but an offboarding HR workflow can take the emotion out of the situation and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
However, offboarding isn’t just about clearing things up. It’s also an opportunity for you to improve as an organization. With the freedom of already having left the company, you can automate an email to your now-ex-colleagues to get a detailed account of their satisfaction. With customizable forms, you can hone in on aspects specific to your own company and pull out quarterly reports to identify action areas.
Now you’ve got a clear idea of the key concepts, how to automate HR processes in the current day, and some predictions for the future. Ultimately the best time to adopt automations was when they first began and the next best time is right now.
Although there are many HR automation tools on the market, with Bitrix24, you can automate processes all over your business. From sales workflows and automated email campaigns to organizing events and, of course, a plethora of human resources tools, it’s the ideal platform for small businesses to run things like the big hitters.
Want to see what all the fuss is about? Sign up to Bitrix24 for free today and join the more than 10,000,000 organizations that have left behind their repetitive, monotonous tasks.