4 ways of leveraging automation in HR

Charlotte Nicol
Published on 23rd November 2017
3 min read

Today’s workplace is changing.

For the first time, the workforce is comprised of five different generations, all working side-by-side, with varying expectations.

The contingent workforce is growing and becoming more diverse to include agencies, freelancers and gig workers. This is magnified by a culture of employee mobility, especially among millennials.

Employees are increasingly seeing seamless customer experiences as consumers, and demanding the same from their employer.

Furthermore, low unemployment and the war for talent have given people choice, and organizations must therefore work harder to attract the best talent.

As a result, not only must HR leaders work harder than ever to attract, engage and retain the best people, but they need to re-think entirely what we mean by HR. Just as Personnel evolved to become HR in the 1980s, so too now is HR becoming a ‘people function’ to respond to the way that the workforce is changing.

This means that progressive and fast-growth companies are focused on people programmes, and not administration. They are automating traditional HR transactional processes to free up time to concentrate on their employees as people, and delivering great workforce experiences for them.

Our research, ‘Becoming a People Company’, supports this. It found that fast-growth companies are performing better than others on this; typically, 80% have embraced HR automation versus 53% in lower growth businesses.

Here’s four tasks that People teams are now able to automate in order to concentrate on delivering great employee experiences for their people.

1. Recruiting

Data is key in the talent game. Implementing an automated HR system can give you instant access to data regarding your recruitment processes and the success rate of your candidates across departments and offices.

Knowing how well you are doing, or where there might be gaps, is incredibly helpful to manage your talent pool.

Applicant tracking systems also store information centrally and securely, providing up to date information to all relevant parties instantly, saving the need for having to print numerous pieces of paperwork.

2. Onboarding and offboarding

Onboarding and offboarding involves significant paperwork, signing contracts, completing benefits forms and other necessary duties. All quite time consuming for HR and People teams.

Automating the admin aspects of onboarding and offboarding can significantly reduce the time it takes to a few hours and free up your team’s time to concentrate on People Marketing and delivering great candidate experiences for new joiners.

It also gives new employees a streamlined introduction to the company. A personal dashboard can let them input everything from their personal information to their bank details, empowering them to manage their details themselves through self-service. They can also access training videos and information about the organization so that they have everything they need from the moment they sit at their new desk, to the moment they leave.

3. Timesheets

An automated system allows employees to instantly track their time at the click of a button, either from a desktop or mobile. Timekeeping is therefore easy and accurate.  Automated timesheets remove the need for manual tracking and increases the efficiency of the process. It reduces the chances of mistakes, miscalculated hours and the need for subsequent validation.

It also means that HR teams don’t have to spend hours manually updating systems with employees’ timesheets and, as a result, have more time freed up to identify trends and actionable insights from their people analytics.

 4. Expense and leave requests

An automated expenses and leave booking system means requests can be approved and recorded instantly. It allows for a much smoother process for both management and employees – freeing up the time of HR and people teams, and creating a smoother workforce experiences for employees.

Automation doesn’t mean auto-pilot

Automating processes is not magic dust. It’s what HR and People teams can do once they automate tasks that really is something special.

People Companies who automate transactional processes leave their leaders free to focus on people. They give their employees autonomy to do things themselves, such as booking holiday, setting objectives, or managing their teams. They use people systems that are designed for their employees, and provide better experiences.

They get quicker feedback and take remedial action. By continually redesigning better ways of working in this iterative manner, People Companies see a quicker impact on engagement and productivity.

Ultimately, automation is an enhancement, not a substitution for managing and engaging your workforce, and it is still extremely important that HR retains and prioritizes human judgment and contact – with a little bit of help from technology of course!

Find out more about HR is changing. Download our infographic on the future of the world of work now.



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Automation Employee Engagement