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HR automation tools and best practices

The nature of work and the world of HR are evolving rapidly, and technology is playing an increasingly critical role in driving these changes. One of the most significant developments has been the introduction of automation solutions that streamline workflows, minimize errors, and improve productivity. And as organizations across industries navigate economic uncertainty, supply chain disruptions, rising consumer expectations, and unique labor challenges, intelligent automation can help businesses stay competitive.

We’re taking a closer look at why business process automation has become an essential tool for modern HR personnel, along with advantages to anticipate, major automation trends to consider, and how organizations can move forward confidently with HR automation.

The Growth of HR Automation — Making Organizations More Effective

Human resources automation aims to improve your team’s capabilities with automated solutions for crucial HR tasks, ranging from employee onboarding and attendance tracking to payroll and performance management. By minimizing repetitive daily admin responsibilities, HR employees can focus on strategic initiatives that offer more value to the company. What’s more, this drives productivity, efficiency, and security, while also reducing human error along the way. 

What are the factors behind the growth of HR automation?

A report from SHRM found that one in four companies has automated manual tasks in their HR workflow, mainly in an attempt to boost the recruiting and hiring process. But, with implementation on the rise, what’s driving the adoption of automation software and solutions? 

Your HR team performs and oversees a wide variety of duties that are central to the health of your workforce and business. And, at the end of the day, these manual tasks are time-consuming and error-prone, which hurts your bottom line. An HR Processing and Risk Cost Survey from Ernst & Young found that the average cost of fixing a single payroll mistake is $291, with one in five companies running into payroll errors over the year. With this in mind, it’s clear that the costly mistakes of a manual process can quickly add up. 

With HR process automation, your HR department can circumvent the tedious manual tasks they’re forced to carry out while taking advantage of added support to boost the employee experience and promote organizational efficiency. 

Industries adopting HR automation 

McKinsey reports that 31% of all businesses have automated at least one function. This trend has been particularly prominent in marketing, retail, manufacturing, food and beverage, and transportation. 

However, as economic uncertainty endures, labor and operational costs rise, and efficiency becomes imperative, it’s expected that the adoption of automation technologies will become even more widespread. 

The Advantages of Effective HR Automation

Because HR employees play a role in both workforce management systems and strategy implementation, they’re valuable assets for every organization. With the supplemental support of HR technology, these professionals free up time to do their job successfully, plus a host of other benefits along the way. 

These key advantages include:

  • Streamlined and more efficient workflows: Research finds that inefficiency can cost companies anywhere from 20% to 30% of their revenue every year. Streamlining repetitive and time-consuming tasks with workflow automation ensures your HR department has the opportunity to focus on more strategic, value-added activities. 
  • Minimized errors: Manually completing payroll and timesheets, managing data and employee records, and checking vacation leave can be time-consuming and error-prone. Intelligent automation reduces errors by minimizing an organization's dependence on manual inputs. An HR automation tool or solution that ensures accuracy and consistency is used to keep mistakes to a minimum and improve employer compliance. 
  • Enhanced communication and collaboration: Handoff issues and delays in communication throughout HR operations can waste time and impede cooperation. Workflow automation offers a clear overview of all processes and stages involved, while typically providing a centralized platform where employees can access and share information as needed. Improved access and visibility keep everyone involved on the same page for better communication and faster response times. 
  • Reduced paper-based processing costs: Digitization and HR process automation eliminates the need for paper-based forms, so your HR department can reduce printing, mailing, and physical document storage costs. This simplifies how your digital records are accessed and managed.
  • Boosted compliance: Data security and regulatory compliance can be complicated processes, but HR technology helps consistently apply the proper policies and procedures. This provides a centralized repository for sensitive data and other HR-related documentation while also generating reports.

The HR Tasks Best Suited for HR Automation — Examples to Consider

When you’ve decided that HR automation is the right way to go, you don’t have to focus on all of your processes at once. Instead, you might start by automating one or two areas where you need the most help. Some of the most common HR processes to concentrate on include: 

  • The recruitment process: With labor shortages expected to continue, effective recruitment is important. HR personnel can improve efficiency and elevate the candidate experience by automating unproductive managerial tasks like posting job ads, CV screening, or sorting and prioritizing applicants based on established criteria. Teams can also use candidate sourcing software or applicant tracking systems to locate qualified talent and streamline the next steps in the process. 
  • Employee onboarding: After a new hire is brought on board, HR staff must collect documents, get contracts and forms signed, give system access to new team members, and raise device requests. Digital solutions support onboarding workflows by creating automatic notifications, collecting e-signed forms, and providing in-depth training resources.
  • Payroll: When HR employees approach payroll processes manually — which necessitates calculating the time or days worked in combination with sick leave and vacation time — there’s potential for human error. And, under or overpaying employees can result in costly non-compliance. Advanced HR tech automates the tracking and calculation of payments to minimize oversights and store data more efficiently. 
  • Employee performance management: Employing automation for performance tracking gives HR managers access to data that helps them evaluate their workforce. This facilitates the employee tracking process, encourages a bias-free approach, and improves decision-making. 
  • Employee benefits: HR tech allows businesses to provide online access for benefits enrollment. Organizations can then use digital tools to manage benefit plans and leverage data analytics to gain insights into employee use and preferences. 

Organizations are also implementing digital solutions that streamline time and attendance management, tax filing, and data and analytics. Emerging technologies mean automation possibilities are increasingly vast. But, when it comes to determining which undertakings to prioritize, best practices involve focusing on areas that would offer your teams the most support. 

5 HR Automation Trends

Major trends for HR automation provide critical insights into your workforce’s changing needs and expectations. What’s more, recognizing developments offers support in staying ahead of the curve and proactively adjusting strategies as needed. 

Consider the following trends when exploring the value of automation:

1. The employee experience will be a critical focus 

The customer experience has always been a pressing issue for organizations, but as businesses continue to struggle with employee retention and labor shortages, the employee experience is becoming even more important. To boost employee engagement, managers are using HR tech to provide their workforce with self-service tools and leverage data and analytics that offer insights into workers’ needs and preferences. This enables teams to foster a more personalized and responsive employee experience.

2. Administrative tasks will be automated to make room for relationship building

Moving forward, organizations are planning to streamline routine and repetitive tasks, from administrative duties to tedious data entry. Research from Harvard Business Review reports there’s a potential to automate as much as 65% of HR managerial tasks. This will free up HR professionals to concentrate on building relationships, providing sufficient support, and developing strategies that align with business objectives.

3. Training programs will be increasingly virtual and personalized 

Learning and development opportunities will remain a significant area of focus for organizations, and their format will continue to evolve. As remote and hybrid work grows, workplace learning and training opportunities are expected to be increasingly digital. Businesses are now adopting learning management systems (LMS) that support creating, delivering, and tracking training content. A Lorman report found that 91% of workers want their training to be personalized and relevant, and an LMS helps HR teams design and deploy programs that are tailored to employees’ unique needs and learning styles.

4. Organizations will introduce automation tools that support hybrid workflows

Remote and hybrid work are here to stay. With more of the workforce telecommuting to their jobs, HR departments are using automation solutions to promote and support digital workflows. This enables collaboration, data sharing, and real-time communication. Teams can accomplish this by using cloud-based HR platforms to manage employee data and workflows or implementing virtual onboarding and training programs, for example. 

5. Using digital solutions for recruitment and talent management will grow 

HR professionals have been combating recruitment and retention challenges and skilled labor shortages in the last few years. For this reason, businesses have turned to digital solutions that can support their unique talent needs. This can include using AI to automate the recruiting process or introducing an AI-driven chatbot to answer employee questions. Or, this might involve working with a dependable workforce solution partner like Employbridge to address both critical talent and HR needs.  

The Way Forward With HR Automation

Does HR automation mean the end of the “human” component?

Professionals have indicated concerns that HR automation software will replace the “human” component of human resources — but this isn’t the case. Emerging technologies exist to help HR professionals operate more efficiently and achieve better outcomes. 

Although automation can take care of tedious processes, including anything from employee benefits administration to data management, organizations still depend on their HR team for human judgment, decision-making, and interpersonal skills — not to mention handling sensitive employee issues and collaborating with management. 

Automation fosters and facilitates the human component. This strengthens HR leaders’ capabilities and helps them concentrate on high-value activities that require human intervention. 

Combining intelligent automation and a human touch for the best results  

Let’s take the onboarding process as an example. Kallidus reports that the average new hire onboarding experience consists of 54 activities, including issuing documents for the new employee to sign, upload, or acknowledge, and a wealth of administrative tasks for the HR team to manage. While this paperwork is necessary, it’s often informal, inconsistent, or reactive. Employee onboarding programs that are structured and strategic open up the opportunity to emphasize a focus on people, not paperwork. 

Organizations can boost their onboarding process by setting up an automatic journey that’s reusable for each new hire. This way, HR staff avoids repeating the same process and procedures for employee education, leaving them room to welcome workers and get to know them personally as they join the team. 

The combination of intelligent automation and a capable human touch represents a valuable way forward for teams — using automation as a tool to augment HR professionals’ capabilities. But, when your workforce is equally as important as the automation technologies you introduce, how can you support your talent strategies?

Boosting Your Talent and HR Automation Goals 

With Employbridge, you can access a high-quality workforce, powerful management technology, and actionable data. Our platform technology is designed to help businesses meet fluctuating demand and stay at peak performance while streamlining workforce practices and management for recruiting, employee scheduling, time tracking, forecasting, compliance, and more. 

Ready to elevate your talent management and meet your HR automation objectives with one powerful platform? Contact Employbridge today to learn more and get started.

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